I saw the tug of war Scripture speaks about between the light and darkness, the flesh and the Spirit. I was talking to a woman about her marriage, and appealing to her, on the basis of her 40-year Christian profession of faith, to join with her husband in his desire to give their marriage another chance.
In some moments my words seemed to convince her, and I saw the resistance of the flesh recede, and her “right mind” of the Spirit wax in strength. To her objection that she doesn’t feel love for her husband, I countered (gently, I hope) that it is not about feelings but about a covenant she made before God. To her objection that she does not want to hurt the man who has shown interest in her, I told her (restraining my horror) that man is an interloper and no friend of her soul, and her primary concern should not be for him but for her husband. To her objection that a friend from church has supported her in her sentiments, I asked whether it was better to listen to men or to God.
She seemed to like some of the verses I shared with her and asked if I could give her a list of them. I was encouraged until I realized her intention was to share those Scriptures with the man she is emotionally involved with (also a Christian, also married, to a woman who “doesn’t understand him”). When I sensed her resolve to break it off with the man was not firm and she was going to use my verses to simply engage him in more conversation and to prolong the relationship unnecessarily, I strongly suggested she should quickly cut off that illicit liaison with a minimum of words: “This relationship is wrong. Goodbye.”
At that point, the woman asked if I was actually saying she would have to quit the violin quartet they played in together. I answered that, of course, I did. That seemed to her excessively harsh, and I saw my small gains with her recede again, as she now returned to the theme of her lack of feelings for her husband, the church friend’s support, and her reluctance to hurt the other man’s feelings. And so it went—for a few moments the light waxing, and then the darkness resurged with new ferociousness.
Seeing the desperateness of the situation, I mounted a last appeal to the woman, speaking of matters of salvation, and depicting two roads before her, one leading to life and the other to death. But having heard enough of that, and being wearied by our meeting and the time of day, she suddenly stood up, took her cup of tea, and walked up the stairs and into the darkness.