Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A lil' ditty 'bout Jack and Diane

"Jack" and "Diane" were two kids who had known one another since Junior High. They both grew up in Christian homes and they met at church. Jack and Diane started dating right around their junior year of high school and they were an awesome couple and so dynamic. It really was inspiring to watch those two talented and energetic personalities work together. They created an energy and synergy that was unmistakable wherever they went.

Jack and Diane were not without their faults and struggles - like the rest of us. Diane had a bit of a rough start in life. Her dad walked away from the family when she was just a little girl and her mom had remarried and then gave birth to Diane's little sister. The family floundered and searched for "something" for a long time, but finally found peace in having a relationship with Jesus Christ and a home in their church. Every once in a while, however, Diane still found herself missing her dad and asking questions that seemed to have no answer. Jack's family was wonderful. They welcomed her with open arms and Jack's mom even offered to mentor young Diane. Between Jack, his family, and the church, Diane found grace and solace. Diane and Jack both believed that one day they would marry, and after dating for a couple of years and serving as Junior High team leaders at church, they began dreaming about their future.

One day Diane was studying at Jack's house and when she left, she forgot one of her notebooks. The next morning she called the house and asked Jack's mom if she'd found the notebook. Yes, it had been found. Jack's mom said, "I'd really love to talk with you. Why don't we meet for coffee? I'll bring your notebook and we can chat." Diane was looking forward to having some alone time with Jack's mom and she remembered Mom's invitation to mentor her. This, she thought, would be a new chapter in her relationship with Jack and his family. They met at the appointed time and place. Jack's mom greeted Diane and gave her the notebook. Then, almost immediately, she pulled out her own notebook. She began to talk to Diane.

"In my hand", Jack's mom said, "I have a list of all the things I believe you've done wrong in your relationship with my son." Diane was stunned. Wait! Jack's mom went on. "For months now I've been praying you out of our family, and out of the church." Diane had barely spoken a word. Her head was spinning. "Does this mean you won't be mentoring me?” she thought. This thought was fleeting, for she clearly knew the answer to that question. In what seemed like a flash, Jack's mom was gone. Later that afternoon Diane's phone rang and her world changed forever. "Diane, it's Jack." Fighting back tears, he said something about it being "over" and that they "weren't right for each other", yada, yada, yada. When she showed up for church on Sunday she discovered that she would no longer be serving as a Junior High team leader. There was no real explanation, but Jack's mom had indeed "prayed" Diane out of the family and out of the church. Well, maybe she didn't "pray" her out, but somehow Mom had made it happen.

Several years ago I was standing in the buffet line at a woman's retreat, and I heard one guest tell her friend how she was "praying my daughter's boyfriend out of her life". Hmmm..... Wouldn't it be better to start praying someone "into" the kingdom, instead of "out of" the church, or the family? I KNOW what it feels like to want your child to get away from negative influences, believe me! But I also know that every person who comes into our life is another opportunity to share the gospel - to be Jesus with skin on. In Matthew 5:44, Jesus tells us to "love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you". Pray FOR your enemies, not AGAINST them! The latter, the Bible tells us, is the way of the world (SIN), not the way of the Lord!

Diane's walk with the Lord was forever changed that day. The truth is, that was the day she walked AWAY from God. Get off the pew believer, and walked TOWARD your enemy. If you can't bring yourself to physically be in the presence of your persecutor, then you need to love them and pray FOR them, not against them. Get off the pew!

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