Originally published Wednesday, 23 October 2013.
Reverencing God and hallowing His name in your relationships means actively placing every person in your life in God’s care. It means choosing to worship Him even when conflict sours a friendship. It means placing God above all other people and finding your ultimate fulfillment in Him alone. In that, you experience great freedom and joy. - Mary DeMuth in The Wall Around Your Heart: How Jesus Heals You When Others Hurt You.
When we pray “Hallowed be Your name...” it is meant to be more than rehearsed words of a memorized prayer. It is meant to be a begging of God to make His name great and holy in our lives. It’s asking Him to be visible to us and those around us in the day-in and day-out.
In the context of relationships, when we truly ask for God to be lifted up in our hearts, it’s something that requires a diligence, self-control, and a self-awareness or honesty with ourselves about how we relate to those we hold near and dear. Practically it means two things:
- We don’t rehearse our pains and past, but move forward in our thoughts and feelings into our Father’s grace and calling--to do less would be disobedience to all that He has for us.
- We don’t make people into idols.
I’ve been guilty of both.
On the point of rehearsing our pain, Mary warns us: We do not revere the name and otherness of God when we continually remind ourselves of the pain we experienced.
True. Sadly, I’ve lifted my wounds up and let them block out the light of everything else good and praiseworthy about the Lord and His handiwork. Makes me sickened inside when I think of how easy it is to do... and how I know that even if I were able to spend every moment of every day honoring Him without a moment’s interruption from my sin or even my weariness, that my praise would still fall short of encompassing all that deserves honor in Him. So how is it so easy for me (for us) to knowingly waste our attentions on these things?
Concerning idolatry in our relationships, Mary says: Although it’s not wrong to love people (obviously), it sneaks toward idolatry when our identities are tightly wound to the harmony of those relationships.
Oh. My. This smacks me between the eyes! I was a first-born kiddo into a home with more than it’s fair share of discord and brokenness. I remember actually being told, “Be good so your mommy and daddy won’t fight.” I think the well-intentioned family member meant, “Try not to add more stress to the situation.” So I took it into my head that if I could be good enough I could actually bring peace and harmony to my family, specifically to my parents’ marriage. As if my being "good enough" equated happy relationships around me and unhappy relationships equated my not being good or valuable. Fast forward to adult life and I still struggle with this concept. Mary said, when the harmony of a relationship speaks to our identity or sense of worth, we're staring an idol in the eyes. I've wrestled with this one more than I wish I did.
My husband is a pastor. We have a lot of relationships we juggle. The tendency to feel an unhealthy amount of responsibility still nips at my heels. The Lord has convicted me that I let discord in the church (discord that might not even with one of us, but between church members) sit far too heavy and influence my heart far more than He desires for me. While we are called to carry the Lord's people in our hearts and share their burdens with them, we aren't called to let those burdens overshadow the Lord's plans.
So as I read Mary’s words, these wrong perspectives and age-old struggles bubbled to the surface. As they bubbled, I felt discouragement over how long I’ve wrestled with them. I don’t know if some of your relational interactions feel like habits that are too hard to break, but some of mine have. Mostly the ones that are buried in my inward thoughts and knee-jerk emotional reactions. In times like that, I pray this verse over my old, ruinous behavior:
Lord, Your word says, “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the former devastations" (Isaiah 60:4). Please rebuild my ancient ruins and set right my former devastations in Your truth. I can't do this without You. I need Your grace!"
May the Lord be your repairer of broken walls--the kind of emotional walls that let the wrong things in and the right things out. I pray for you to see His handiwork over your old ruins today!
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