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  • Sean Stewart

How One Family Began to Reconcile

Updated: Mar 29

Our staff member was continuing to teach one of our home-based families about their identity in Jesus. The mother’s oldest daughter was there.  She had left her husband towards the end of August. But this detail was not revealed, until the husband and his siblings arrived to force the daughter to come home to the family.

Our staff member decided to excuse himself from the situation, as it was a personal family matter that needed immediate attention. The husband and his family agreed, but the mother was having no part of it. She insisted that O5M needed to be speaking into the situation and giving wisdom and counsel into it.

Family Differences

During the discussion, it was revealed that the husband was a drunkard, and beat his wife on several occasions. She had had enough and decided to return home to her mother. It was also discovered that to show his commitment to his new wife of nine months, that he would take her children in and care for them as his own. Meanwhile, he had given his children to someone else to care for. He wanted nothing to do with them. His new wife tried to convince him that the only way he could show love to her properly, was to not only care for her and her children but his as well. He did not agree. The husband’s siblings, also drunkards, were expecting this young woman to return home to take care of him (the way a dutiful wife should, according to Kenyan culture).

Our staff member felt out of his element and that he would not be able to help the way the mother of our family believed he could. But for the sake of the family, and what damage he could see within the couple’s relationship, he decided to try.

Intervention

He began by explaining to the husband that he should really be in prison for neglecting his own children.  He should also be jailed for beating his wife. One of the husband’s sisters said they hadn’t come to fight.  They wanted to apologize to the mother.  The siblings wanted her daughter to return with them.  The mother had already decided that she could not allow her daughter to go back to him.

The staff member turned to the husband and asked if he knew God. He responded with, “Yes. I know God.” But the smell of alcohol on his breath was overpowering. He was told that if he wanted his marriage to work, he had to know God and put Him first. The same sister that spoke before acknowledged that this was the correct way to start.

However, the siblings were the ones to be the spokespeople. They didn’t allow the husband to talk at all. They wanted to control the way things would go. Our staff member said that he wanted to hear from the husband and the wife. That way, the clarity of the situation could be understood.

Forgiveness

Through the discussion, forgiveness between the mother and the husband came about. The daughter was able to forgive her husband. Once that was established, the daughter was still reluctant to go with her husband. The staff member encouraged the two of them to go outside alone and discuss what was going to take place. When they came back in, the husband looked as though a heavy burden had been lifted from his shoulders.

As the group continued the discussion, the husband agreed that he had his responsibilities for what had taken place in their relationship. But, he felt as though he was getting pressure from different people in his family (like his mom and other siblings) because they didn’t like his new wife. The siblings that were with him said that wasn’t right because his wife was a light for the family and that she took care of all of them the way no one had before.

Reconcilation

After the family praised the daughter, our staff member read Ephesians chapter 5 to the husband to show him how we should be living with others. He told the husband that he could not take care of his family while he was drunk. He could not love his wife if he was drunk or take care of the children. The husband said that he would change his life and follow Jesus and go to church with his wife when she asked him to.

Mom was happy things were starting to turn around for her daughter. She agreed that her daughter could return with her husband, but her children had to stay with their grandmother.  The daughter could not agree with that.  She had been taking care of her children and paying for their schooling.  That was not a burden she could place on her mother.  The husband’s family agreed and said that they would assist in caring for the children.

Our staff member intervened and said that culturally, what was happening was similar to what the husband did before.  They were wanting to care for the children as an act of showing the daughter that they loved her.  The original problem would still be there.  The family would resent the daughter and her children if things didn’t get properly resolved.  He suggested that they support her, yes, but they should allow the daughter to care for her own children.

Family Restored

After a long day of discussion, planning, and encouragement, the daughter agreed that she would return to her husband.  However, she needed time to take in everything that had happened.  Ephesians 5 was read by our staff.  The passage about how a husband needs to take care of his wife was read, the husband committed to taking care of himself and his family.

At the end of the day, the daughter walked her husband’s family to the road and hugged them all. She then returned to her mother’s house to ponder everything. Restoration has begun to take place. We will continue to journey with this couple to make sure that the best possible outcome can be met for their family.

It was also an important day for our staff.  He had completed a spiritual gift questionnaire the previous week.  During the whole discussion with the family, he allowed his fears of inability to control him. After he reported the story to me, I asked him if he realized what he had done. He had operated in his gifts. He didn’t need any specialized training but allowed the Holy Spirit to lead him in helping this family towards reconciliation. Everything flowed naturally, and he didn’t need to force any issues.

Family in the Kingdom

Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven was within reach and even within us (Mark 1:15; Luke 17:21). As he moved about the area, he revealed pockets of the Kingdom to people. We are called to do the same. The more that we show people the Kingdom, the more it will be revealed, and the more we will see a difference in the world. For that to happen, we need to know what we are gifted in and to operate in those gifts. People need to be free to be who they were created to be.

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