I remember so clearly, the voice of my friend in her offense, “You are a princess! He should never treat you that way.” I was talking to a friend about my husband; we were in a disagreement and I wasn’t handling it very well. I needed someone to vent my frustrations to and I quickly found out I shared personal information with the wrong person. I just needed to talk, I didn’t need advice. I wanted to be understood, I wanted someone to know why I was the way I was at the time. When I heard those words, I knew what I was hearing was not the truth. But, somehow, those words landed in my heart and the next few months were made harder as I tried to make someone treat me like the princess I was supposed to be. It backfired, hard.
I often think that marriage is where the rubber meets the road in this whole Christian love thing. I don’t have an easy marriage. We disagree a lot. Often our disagreements lead to offense and arguments. During times of intense disagreement, I can step back in time and assume the old image of myself before I met Jesus. If my husband doesn’t affirm and accept me than I am useless. That old lie works less and less but I get tripped up sometimes, especially when I am doing something his way and I haven’t really accepted his process. I walk it out in my own power, then things get ugly.
In women’s ministry we like to call ourselves princesses. As daughters of the King, we are royalty. But royalty comes with a cost. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me (Galations 2:20). The cost of having a new life in Christ means we have to take up our cross…DAILY (Luke 9:23). Husbands can be cold, callous, and stubborn. Wives can too. Friends can have good intentions that end up hurting us. The truth is that we are going to experience Christ’s sufferings in our lives (1 Peter 4:13). What matters is how we act and react as a result of those sufferings.
When I think about my friends response to my situation, I so desired a listening ear rather than a ranting defense. I can’t change what happened but as I recount the situation, I see how Jesus would have responded. When Jesus was betrayed by Judas and being taken away by the Roman guards, Peter instantly and violently defended his Teacher and Friend by cutting off the ear of one of the guards. Jesus gently restored the man’s ear and gave Peter a rebuke, “Put that sword back where it belongs. All who use swords are destroyed by swords.” (Matthew 28:52) We all want to do that for our friends…be their defender. In that instance, my friend was being a defender at the cost of truth and at great cost to peace in our household. Sometimes, as daughters, we have to bring our sisters into truth, even if it could cost us a friendship. Often what is best for us as Christian women is to walk out what we say we believe rather than preserve a friendship that would be strained by worldly advice that bears no fruit.
The Love Chapter in 1 Corinthians, if read a certain way, says what love is and isn’t. I’d like to take a little liberty and say that what love isn’t sounds like a worldly princess…
A worldly princess cares more for herself than others.
She wants what she doesn’t have.
She has a swelled head.
She forces herself on others.
Is always me first.
She flies off the handle.
She keeps score of the sins of others.
She revels when others grovel.
A daughter encourages a daughter to Godly princesshood…
She never gives up.
Puts up with anything.
Always trusts God.
Always looks for the best.
Never looks back.
And keeps going to the end.
Now THAT is God’s daughter.
I am not saying this to condemn, nor do I believe that my friend was intentionally acting this way or encouraging me to act this way. Rather, I would say that there is a tension to being a Daughter of the King. We aren’t always going to be treated the way we would like to be treated. Mistreatment happens in church and outside of church. With Chirstians and non-Christians. Marriages and friendships bring us into each others emotional junk and relational mess. No one has this love and life thing totally figured out. We all have messy things in our lives. Sometimes we need a listening ear and encouragement to follow Jesus. Jesus did hard things. With His home inside of us, we can do hard things too. The kind of friend I am looking for are those that want to be God’s daughter and encourage me to be God’s daughter. Sometimes our strongest defense is our friends best offense. It’s okay to say “buck up buttercup…this marriage and Christianity thing is a bumpy ride. You can rise above it, girl! Because you are a daughter of THE King.”