Deciding The Look of Your New Life


posted by on Divorce Encouragement


“Those who built the wall loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other, they held a sword”. Nehemiah 4:17
As we prepare for the holiday season, I’m considering the relationships which often get turned upside-down in a divorce… Now, we know there are some divorces where everyone remains supportive and everything stays hunky-dory. Some detached families never have conflict and some exes and children respect one another to no end. These folks are never threatened or subverted by the other partner and everyone’s personal boundaries are always respected, every time… That however, is not the way a divorce usually shakes out in the real world. So, how do we deal with these tough situations?
This is the story of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was faced with the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after those walls had been torn down. This was a physically and emotionally draining task for Nehemiah… He was certainly upset that the walls were torn down in the first place… But the task was before him none-the-less… Nehemiah couldn’t go back to his old life, so Nehemiah had to create a new life and a new home.

Now God was with Nehemiah, but there was still a battle to be decided. Faced with this daunting task of rebuilding his life and home; Nehemiah first had to decide what that home was going to look like. Nehemiah had to decide whether his new life and home was going to be built upon pure and godly principles, or whether his new home was going to just, “Go with the flow.” So Nehemiah made the unequivocal decision to build his new life totally upon Biblical principles to the best of his ability, because Nehemiah loved the Lord, and Nehemiah wanted God’s blessing upon his new life.

Once Nehemiah had made the decision that his home would serve the Lord, Sanballat and Tobiah came around… Now these guys really didn’t want Nehemiah to have a godly new home. These guys were jealous, they were subversive, they were noisy and they were threatening to Nehemiah. These guys just had a different agenda than Nehemiah when it came to the godly purpose for the new home Nehemiah was building, and these guys were determined to cause Nehemiah trouble any way they could.

So that’s what Sanballat and Tobiah did, and Nehemiah’s first response to the jabs, taunts and interference of these guys, was to defend himself verbally. Nehemiah said, “You guys are making up bad stuff about me, you are hurting my feelings, so please stop beating me down, and please stop interfering with me building my home.” … Well, Sanballat and Tobiah didn’t respect Nehemiah. These guys didn’t share Nehemiah’s vision for his new home and his new life, so they continued to invade upon the rightful boundaries which Nehamiah had set for his new home and his new life.

So Nehemiah had to get a little tougher. Nehemiah had to tighten up his relationship circles a little bit. Nehemiah had to decide who his friends and enemies were. Nehemiah had to determine who was supportive to his godly vision for his new home, and who was determined to be an obstacle to that vision. Nehemiah realized that he would have to treat those non-supportive folks differently in the future. Nehemiah realized he was going to have to be a little more spiritually combative, to defend his home! You can read what Nehemiah said in your Bible, in Nehemiah 6…

However, I want to bring this discussion into the twenty-first century, and I want to say that I am all about grace and forgiveness… I’m all about humility and peace… And I’m all about joy and long-suffering… But there are some folks, whether they might be exes, in-laws, outlaws, church people or others; who because of their separate agendas or lack of experience in the area of divorce; simply-do-not-get-it…

These individuals, whom you might be allowing to confuse you or encroach upon your boundaries, truly must be placed in a different position in your life… Because if you allow these ungodly or distracting influences to continue unabated, you will spend the rest of your life in a state of fear, guilt and spiritual confusion, and you’ll never move forward into the productive new life which God has for you…

So I’m simply saying that I believe it’s possible to forgive someone and then exclude them from your life (or at least place them in a position of lesser influence), so you can have some peace and forward progress in your life… With that in mind, there are probably some phone calls you can quit taking altogether… There are probably some marginal friends, acquaintances or outside influences which are not positive, that you could either exclude completely, or place in a different position regarding their influence in your life… There might be some want-to-be counselors or church people whom you can disregard in forgiveness, but disregard none-the-less… And you might have to begin a tough discussion with one or more of your children, about behaving with respect toward you and your home.

In closing, if you are living outside of Biblical obedience – if you need to move toward someone with humility and reconciliation – then you should do that constructively because you can’t expect God’s blessing if you are living with sin. But if that is not the case, and if you are allowing someone who simply does not-get-it, to encroach upon the boundaries of your life, then you might consider taking up the sword of confidence to remove some of those people and influences from your life.

Nehemiah had to suck up the godly courage to define and defend the boundaries of his home from those who didn’t-get-it and you might have to do that as well. God will fight the battle with you, if you will take up the sword in grace and determination. Those are my thoughts; I’d love to hear yours.

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  1. Stacey

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