I Didn’t Lose the Battle; I Forfeited
Author: Christian Sullivan
These days, my wants and desires are far from what they once were. In my former marriage, Christ was never the center. In the beginning, I tried to keep Christ as a focus but felt it was a pointless battle. Over time I stopped trying to get my husband involved in the church.
I told myself it was ok because he would see my actions and come to Christ. Shamefully, I admit that as his disbelief grew, I grew weaker. I started giving in to his arguments thinking if I minimized what God taught us, perhaps it would be easier for him and he wouldn’t give up, “I’m not sure I believe in hell because how could a good person that does not believe go to the same place as rapist or murders?”. One of my most shameful statements was, “I don’t take the Bible for its word; instead its more of a guide to me. I have to remember it was translated and written by humans.”
I told myself that by minimizing Christianity, it would make it easier for him to come to Christ. How woefully misguided (by myself, to be clear) was I? The truth is I acted in this manner for selfish reasons — it was easier than fighting the battle. The Bible tells us very specifically of the one act that would cause Christ to turn his back on us. Matthew 10:32–33"Whoever acknowledges me in front of man, I will also acknowledge him before my father in heaven. But whoever disowns me in front of man, I will disown him before my father in heaven.”
I never disowned God in front of my husband, but I might as well have. I minimized Christ and the word of God (the WORD OF GOD, people!!). I made statements like, “I call myself a Christian but I’m probably more agnostic.” I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of my mouth, yet I didn’t retract them. No, as a matter of fact I continued to make those statements. I was ashamed. I had a timid heart. Told myself I didn’t have enough information to help educate my husband or anyone else (“whose fault is that?”, she asked herself).
During a conversation last week, Matt pointed out how abusive we are to the person that loves us most — Christ. That statement is so very true. In front of others, I would make the above statements. Behind closed doors? I would pray to God begging his forgiveness, yet I made no effort to change.
When I was pregnant, my dad made the statement to me that my husband would have to give up fishing on Sundays and start attending church with his son. I felt frustrated and that frustration turned to anger which I transferred onto my dad, “why can’t I be his spiritual leader?!!!” I can do this on my own, right? Why can’t I, as his mother, serve as his spiritual leader? The answer to that question, simply put, is because I was weak. Because I was not a spiritual leader. I was weak in my walk with Christ and my faithfulness was not enough, not even close.
I was selfishly so weak. I gave up and kept Christ to myself and in my heart but did not have enough passion to talk about him unabashedly. I did not carry the passion I have now for seeking Christ; not even close.
Our marriage began to fail as we put money and material wants ahead of seeking Christ. I avoided, then hid from, then ran from Christ by prioritizing career success because (she lies to herself again)that would provide the material things he desired and maybe then he could see the light? Wow — I became really good at lying to myself.
For 8 of our 11 years of marriage, I forfeited the battle. I’m thankful for a God who has granted me forgiveness through his own son, Christ Jesus. I will move forward in my walk and take those years as the most important lesson I’ve ever learned.
Through all things, I will seek him. And when I fail, I will not hide or run away. I will dust myself off and keep running TO him.