I can only imagine the pain and heartache you feel at times seeing your previous husband – the one you once saw as your prince charming – happy and in love with another woman. Seeing the children you bore being raised by her. Regularly watching them leave your loving home to be brought up in another.
I understand completely that this is not the ideal situation. This was not what you had pictured when you fell in love and vowed your life to him.
The Bible tells us eighteen times to love our neighbor as ourselves. How do we do this when we look upon our 'neighbor' as the enemy? The one who 'took our place', and is living our dream? It is not an easy task – I can assure you – but it is possible. The best example to look to and follow in scripture, is the story of David and Jonathan. 1 Samuel 18, tells us that Jonathan loved David as he loved himself. And you may be thinking, big deal, they were best friends. Yet, in reality Jonathan was rightfully the next to inherit the crown. He was next in line to be king.
So, let’s take a closer look at how Jonathan, the son of the one and only King of Israel, treated the man who he knew was going to take his place as heir to the throne. “And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as he loved himself. Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt.” (1 Samuel 18:3-4) The significance of this exchange was important. All of these items identified Jonathan as crown prince and his giving them to David was equivalent to giving up his place in the kingdom to David, a shepherd boy half his age.
In 1 Samuel 19, Saul tried to convince Jonathan to assassinate David. Yet Jonathan did just the opposite. He helped David multiple times. Jonathan said many good things about David in the presence of Saul, who hated David. I believe this is what God wants each of us to do. Especially when we feel threatened by another who has taken our place.
We are to do what Jonathan did. Resolve to speak kindly about your ex-husband's new wife. Be willing to love her in the way you wish to be loved. Choose to lift her up in front of your children. Be encouraging of her to help raise your children cohesively. Share a cup of hot chocolate next to her during your child's sports event while you both cheer them on. Do not forget that you are both on the same sideline raising up the next generation to live for Jesus by loving our neighbors as ourselves. And what better way to show our beloved children how to love others than by showing love to the one you are tempted to despise the most.
LoriBeth Brown is the wife of the love of her life, and mom and second-mom to four. She has earned a BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling from Dallas Baptist University. She is currently pursuing her LPC-I and is on staff with Family [re]Design. Her dream is to continue taking in boys who need a loving home, and bring together blending families for the glory of God.