Jesus gave us this command:
Mat 5:44 but I say to you, Love your enemies; bless those cursing you, do well to those hating you; and pray for those abusing and persecuting you,
Mat 5:45 so that you may become sons of your Father in Heaven. Because He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust.
Mat 5:46 For if you love those loving you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same?
Mat 5:47 And if you only greet your brothers, what exceptional thing do you do? Do not the tax-collectors do so?
It's a hard thing. Especially when there is emotion involved. I have been asked quite often about why my book didn't contain more bitterness and bile towards my ex-wife, the court system, the judge who presided over our hearings, and the inequities of the way the entire thing is set up. Well it's partially because of the verses above and partially because I know myself too well. I tend to brood sometimes. If I let bitterness creep in, it will wreck my day and my week. My ex and her husband have pulled plenty of stunts that have hurt me and wounded my soul. But my daughter is watching. I have to respond in a Christ-like fashion regardless of how I think I want to respond. I can't teach her about the loving grace of Jesus if I spew my venom in retaliation for something that has happened between her mom and I. I have tried to avoid going there as much as possible. I have not been perfect in that pursuit but I have done better than I ever thought I would have. I don't want that bitter root to take hold in my heart. I wrote about that before.
So I have begun to pray earnestly for Holly and her husband. It's difficult to pray for their happiness and success...it really is. But if they are happy, it will create a happy environment for my daughter, and ultimately...that's all I care about.
I've been asked to speak to various dads' support groups from time to time and I've turned down many opportunities. The reason? Because those that I declined were very bitterness based. They were vengeance minded and absorbed with fighting the "system" and dwelling on hatred. I know where that comes from, and their basis is justified. But I know me..if I go there I might end up staying there. I choose forgiveness and graciousness because I have to stay Christ-like in this mess. "Father forgive them...they just don't get it" was Jesus' plea from the cross. I pray the same things sometimes for my ex. I find that spending a few minutes in sincere prayer for them mellows me a bit, too. It's hard to take the high road but I see Jesus walking there so frequently. Join me on the path.