Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Xanthippe, the wife of Socrates, was a termagant, a shrew, a nag who made his life miserable. Once, when someone asked Socrates why he didn't beat her to make her behave better, he replied that if he made her behave better, he would improve her character; BUT if he learned to live with her behavior, he would improve his own character.
Now, having been married to the same man for 46 years, I certainly—definitely-- know there are all kinds of dynamics going on in a marital relationship. I’m also very sure that Xanthippe had some stories of her own to tell (and I would love to hear them!). Nevertheless, I also agree that relationships with difficult people have the potential to strengthen and improve our character if we will only let them.
If we are truly following Christ, we must reach out to the difficult people in our lives; we must include them in what we do, we must listen to what they say, we must pray for them; we must love them. We must forgive the hurts abrasive people hurl at us; we must work to restore broken relationships; and we must share God’s love and plan of salvation with everyone we meet so they too can have peace and joy in their hearts.
As my husband uses a sander to make a piece of wood smooth and splinter-free, God uses obstacles and challenges in our lives to smooth us and to remove the splinters from our characters. We need the Xanthippe's in our lives to help remove our own rough edges, to train us to be God’s feet, hands and heart; but we must never forget that we ourselves must show God’s mercy and love to our Xanthippe's; we need to disciple to them and encourage them to join us in glorifying and enjoying God. We are all His children, and He loves every one of us; we must, in return, love God and love each other---splinters and all!