I have a funny, not-so-funny story. My dear friend has been divorced for 2 years. She has handled with grace a million different scenarios involving a husband who doesn’t seem to see or care about the impact he’s having on others. She has forgiven, encouraged, walked courageously and boldy through so many sticky situations.
So when she told me that she was going to go on a date, I was happy for her. Her exhusband has had countless ‘girlfriends’ over the 2 years and is now living with the present girlfriend. She has never even entertained the thought of going on a date until recently. But a friend of hers had a friend, and so it goes. She finally agreed, and the date was last night.
After being married for ten years, to your highschool sweetheart, I might add, it took some courage to say yes to a date. Having to make a good first impression felt like a lot of pressure, and is no fun for anyone, let alone for someone who has endured the relational trauma her exhusband put her through. But she was able to laugh at herself and just hoped for a nice evening. As her friend, I just wanted her to be treated well by a nice guy…for her to feel a bit pampered for once.
Well, it started out well… They went to a nice restaurant and had light and friendly conversation. Soon the converstion turned to food, and my friend casually said that she buys organic milk for her kids. Well, that was all he needed to hear. Her date fixated on the subject of “organic or not”, “hormones or hoax” and that was it. She was a bit shell-shocked to see such an extreme reaction over a food choice but kept trying to change the subject. She steered from the subject as much as she could but he even whipped out his phone googling information on why organic milk isn’t good for you and it’s just a hoax about the hormones. When he realized that his argument had not changed my friend’s opinion, he even said, “You’re just like that girl on the commercial that believes whatever she reads on the internet.” (You know, the commercial with the “French model” date?)
Hmm. Rightness isn’t always the best mode. In his mind he was right and he knew it and there was no getting off of the subject until convincing my disconterted friend of his rightness. Nevermind that it was a first date.Nevermind that she must have had a totaly shocked look on her face! Needless to say, my friend couldn’t wait to get out of the car. When they pulled up into her driveway, she was so relieved to be home and able to get away from the debate which he was having with himself. When she got out of the car, she said, “Well, it was nice to meet you and I am so sorry that I buy organic milk. See ya later.” Much. Was so proud of her! This Mr. Right-ness was definitely not Mr. Right.
So here’s the thing. I’ve been the one who has at times tried to passionately convince another of my view. Especially when my view is something that I care passionately about such as my faith. Oft times, it becomes a battle of the will in which words are not heard as much as one’s own rebuttals or arguments are being thought through. Grace to see a person eye to eye,really hear what they are saying can bridge so many disconnects and differences of opinion. I love that in the Word of God, it states that the Holy Spirit came to convince of Truth and convict. (John 16:7-9) It’s not my job to be another person’s Holy Spirit. It is my hope to love well and be ready to give an account for what I believe, but not FIGHT when the person doesn’t even know there’s a battle going on.
As a young wife and mom years ago, I had a wonderful mentor named Andrea. She was a New York native, and Italian through and through. She would speak her mind in a heartbeat, and she loved the Lord with all of her heart. Her husband was a Wall Street stockbroker, turned Christian Evangelist. At times, he would take the liberty to let Andrea know a thing or two about an area of ‘growth’ she might pursue in her life. Well…,one of the favorite things that I heard Andrea say in that thick NY accent was, “Dwight, you’re not my Holy Spirit!” Smile.
We might think we have the the answers. Maybe we do. But if they are served up in a condescending judgemental attitude, no one will have the ears to hear them. God so gracious and patient. Jesus didn’t go around bulldozing people with his beliefs. He so often said “For those who have ears to hear…” He would speak Truth and move on. Whether it’s about organic milk, or faith, if we’re looking down our nose at the person on the opposite side of the table and not seeing or hearing them, our words have the wrong impact. Rightness isn’t always right.
Oh, and by the way, to his credit, my friend’s date did text an apology to her soonafter he had dropped her off. My guess is (and my hope is!) that the next time he goes on a first date, that the girl doesn’t dare bring up organic milk. Or better yet, if she does, he will hold his peace and move on to a new subject!