My husband recently asked me if I missed my ex-husband who had died several years earlier. I said I probably would have if the man had treated me like he did when we first married, but that he had been so angry with me over perceived injustices that he had been resentful and at time hateful to me since our divorce. My husband asked me if I felt the same way about himself.
I tactfully tried to shirt that issue by saying I had managed to be around several curmudgeons in my life. He persisted. He knew I didn’t like the way he was sharp with me upon occasion.
“I just can’t help it,” he explained. “I’ve been like this all my life, and I don’t know of a better way. I can’t change.”
I told him I believed if he went to God and asked Him to change his heart and ways, God would do so.
Today, I listened to a preacher bring a message on gratitude, and how it created a healthy heart and provided the ability to worship God with joy and appreciation. He went on to say another element to gratitude was to be watchful as God moves in our lives and to meet it with gratitude. He said it is the mark of maturity to do so. I had been thinking those same thought this past week. I told someone how I liked to sit back and watch how He works in my life and the lives of others, and to marvel at how magnificent He is.
I thought about this sermon and my earlier thoughts along the same line, and decided to speak with my husband about it. I waited until we were talking over dinner before our food arrived. “Honey, I think I have found a sort of blueprint of how your heart can be changed, like we talked about the other day.” I saw he was fairly receptive, so I continued.
“Sometimes we can see that God will just change our hearts, and then sometimes it needs to be a two-way exchange. He does part, and you do your part.” I explained gratitude and watchfulness was our part, and the change of heart is God’s.
“How can I do that when everything around me is pressing in on me and taking advantage of me?” He went on to give examples. The examples were valid, and I couldn’t refute them.
“But that is just the Con or Negative list. There is another column beside that one that lists the Positive way a person can look at the situation. For example, that lady that is four months behind on her rent has had a place to live for her and her children until she found a job. He husband got into trouble and the household lost his income. The positive way of looking at it is 1) we had enough income of our own that it didn’t hurt us to help her, and 2) if we did it as unto the Lord, it will come back to us if not in money, then in other kinds of riches.”
I was gratified that he was receptive of my words. He didn’t say much, but I could tell he let it sink in. Now, my job is to help him see the positive list from time to time until it become easier for him. If he wants to change. We’ll see.