From the Pastor
There was a season where tensions with one of my children hit a new low. They lied. But I became conscious that the lying, regarding one topic, was routine. I could no longer trust them.
So they apologised, and I forgave them for their most recent offense. But I said that the nature of our relationship had changed. I have in some sense forgiven you. But in another sense our relationship will now operate without the undergirding assumption that I can trust what you tell me is the truth. Doubting you will be a part of our interactions.
We call this retrieval ethics. Retrieving the best out of a less than ideal situation. Would I prefer that I could trust their words? Of course. But I could not. Was the appropriate response therefore to say – I can’t trust you – there is no point in us communicating at all? No.
I loved that child, and I wanted to maintain my bond with them, even if I could not trust them. Instead I aimed to retrieve the best possible outcome from a messy scenario. Connections where possible, even if not built on 100% trust.
Paul says to women (1 Cor 7) whose husbands are unbelievers, do not leave them. It is best for the children, and for ongoing opportunities to witness if you stay married. The ideal is they come to faith, but retrieval ethics says if they do not, remain faithful.
Our Christian family is a forum where we can be a light to the world. Not only by having close to ideal relationships, also by retrieving the best in relationships fraught with tension. Where can you secure the best from messy relationships? (BTW, things with that child are now awesome!)