The other night I read some comments from some folk that I know and care about and they got me to thinking and of course from thinking came the writing…
The first thing I thought about was the way that I interact with people. I took a look at my expectations, my likes, my dislikes, my hopes and my hurts, and at my own responsibilities in this. At my relationships, I guess.
It was as a result of this that one relationship came to mind more than any other, my relationship with my twin. And by way of encouragement I thought I would share this with you.
I guess before going any further, I should say that I really do try my best to be loving and kind to everyone but when it comes to my twin, well it is just so incredibly hard!!!
When we were kids we were inseparable! Absolutely inseparable. We did everything together. We played the same games, liked the same food, dressed the same, thought like each other, spoke like each other, would get into all kinds of adventures together and all kinds of trouble together.
Even as we grew up we remained inseparable. We worked at the same places, had the same friends, liked the same kind of girls, we even came to Christ at the same time! Yep, when I responded to the God’s call my twin responded at the very same time and was right there with me.
But see then our relationship started to change. You see the more I grew in my knowledge and understanding of God the more I noticed the things in my twin’s behaviour that were just not right in God’s eyes. And the more I noticed these things the more they irritated or frustrated me.
I guess I just hadn’t noticed it before but looking back (and please believe me I am not trying to say I had no responsibilities in this) I could see how many times I had behaved badly or messed up as a direct result of my twin’s encouragement.
Trust me this became a source of countless prayers and I would time and time again go to God with complaints and concerns about my twin’s behavior and the way his behavior affected me and my relationships and how I wanted so badly for him to change!
In so many aspects of life I understood why he did the things he did and yet disliked and was so disappointed when he did them and indeed when he caused me to do the same things.
To everyone else he was seen just the same way as I was, and to the best of my knowledge he was treated the same way. Indeed I can honestly say that I am convinced that even his relationship with his wife was the same as my relationship with my wife and yet somehow I could see so many of the things that he did that upset or hurt his wife and I longed for him to stop doing them. Even
though in all truth very often these were much bigger or much more important to me than they ever seemed to be for his wife.
In the end I came to the conclusion that something had to change. One of us had to move on. He could no longer be a part of my life. The plain simple truth of the matter is, or so I thought, he is not living the life God wants and is stopping me from living the life God wants. If I want to live the life God wants I have to separate myself from him.
I went to God in prayer. (One of many times I had done so I might add) “Lord, he isn’t changing fast enough!” I complained. “He does this and that and he causes me to do this and that and it is like I have no choice in the matter because he has always been a part of my life.” My prayer was sincere and heartfelt.
“Lord, I can’t stand the way he doesn’t do this or he does do that and I can’t stand the fact that he isn’t doing what I think he should do for his spouse or for his children. How he knows what is right and still insists on doing what is wrong!”
I know in my heart that the Lord sat quietly, lovingly and patiently and that he listened to my heartfelt plea.
“Lord, he just has to go!” There I had finally said it! “I find it too hard to change him and too hard to love him and too painful to wait for him to change himself.” I waited for the telling off that I just new the Lord was going to give me over my attitude towards my twin.
“He isn’t changing fast enough for who?” The Lord’s response was gentle and loving. “Fast enough for you or for me?”
“And yes, I know what he does, every single thing he does, and I know the influence he has on your actions. But I also know that that influence only has power if you look to him and not me.” He was right and I knew it. “But my child you do have a choice and yes he has always been part of your life and so have I, you just didn’t realize it.”
I sat and listened.
“I even know all the things that he should do but doesn’t do when it comes to his spouse and his children.” The Lord told me. “I know when he does these things and I know why he does these things and more importantly I understand why he does or doesn’t do these things and I love him just the same regardless of them. Because I understand.”
I tried to take in all that He was telling me.
“My child, You can’t change him.” The Lord told me gently. “Changing him is my job, not yours. All you can do is encourage and accommodate those changes in him.” I listened carefully still waiting for the chastisement I knew was coming and yet somehow also knew I was already receiving.
“And loving him is so very hard for you because you recognize that so much of him is not what I want for him, and because you see the mistakes he makes and how he limits his own ability to experience my love and the changes that I desire to make in him and indeed am making in him.”
“And as for your pain,” He whispered, “Don’t you see that this is a sign of your love for him and for me? But it comes from the fact that you are seeing him through your eyes and not mine and trying to love him through your and love not my love.”
He was right and I knew it.
“My child you are his harshest critic, his hardest judge and far, far harsher than I am.” The Lord continued. “He hasn’t got to go.” He added. “He is a part of your life and always has been and yes always will be. As for those parts of him that frustrate you and irritate you so much, those parts that you meet so critically and so harshly they are the very parts I want you to meet more lovingly.” He smiled.
“Just as I have called him to love me and to please me, and for all of his loving, yes even the loving of and pleasing of his spouse and children, to flow out of and to come from his loving and pleasing me. So too do I want you to love me and please me, and for your love for him to come out of your love for me.”
As He spoke I knew that He was right and that I had indeed been lovingly, gently and patiently chastised. I also knew that I had just been given what would probably be one of the hardest tasks I would ever have to face in my Christian walk. The task of loving the twin who in my eyes was so different to how I saw God, who was so far away from what I thought God wanted, who had and still does
play such a big part in my life, my relationships and yes even my own faith.
So I ask you to pray for me, in this task. Pray that I can love my twin and that I can love him with God’s love. Pray that I can see my twin not through my own eyes but through God’s eyes. Pray that I can encourage and accommodate any changes in my twin that God wants to make and that I don’t judge my twin by my own standards, my own expectations, or my own timing, but by Gods.
I hope and pray this helps and encourages you. Oh and in case you want to pray for my twin and would like to pray for him by name, Well his name is self.