[notice]A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.[/notice]
Revelation 3:20 says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” I have always read this and understood it in the spiritual sense. In the last two weeks I have come to understand it literally. On two occasions I locked myself out.
A couple of weeks ago when I came back home from church at night I was stuck at the gate. I thought that I had forgotten my keys at home when I went to church. I began to panic that no one was going to hear me even if I yelled for someone to open the gate for me as my house is a panhandler. What made the situation worse was that I could not use my phone as the battery was flat. For about 15 to 20 minutes I stood there outside wondering what to do. I am a woman; alone at night. With the crime rate being high in South Africa my situation was getting a bit desperate. What was a dangerous situation would be swiftly taken care of with the right key. I would be inside the house with my family. I finally decided to get inside my car and maybe go to a nearby garage and look for a Telkom public phone (do we even still have them?) when I noticed my keys on my dashboard. I don’t know how I had missed them earlier when I got home but THEY WERE THERE. ALL WAS WELL! RELIEF!
Act of respect
The act of standing and knocking is an act of respect. We teach our kids all the time not to just go into a room when someone is inside. We teach them to knock and wait to listen for the person to tell them if they can enter. Why? Because they have to learn manners; they have to learn respect. To stand at the door and knock says you choose to respect and honour the person on the other side. It is an act of saying yes I can choose to go inside or I CAN RESPECT SOMEONE ENOUGH TO WAIT FOR THEIR OK.
Even Christ is tender. He is a gentleman. He says: “I stand at the door of your heart and knock.” He does not force His way in. The One who could absolutely choose to be dictatorial if He wanted to chooses to show us His way of love by asking. He asks for our permission to enter our heart. We allow Him in. Sometimes that is all you can do is to wait and when the person is ready they will open the door. So many relationships will be saved if people learnt this Godly principle of standing (patiently) and knocking.
The other day as I was about to drive my children to school I remembered something I had forgotten in the house. I rushed into my house only to have my key not open the door. I tried frantically to get inside; to turn the key so it would unlock. After some time I realised that the reason I was not able to unlock the door was because there was already a key in the door and two keys cannot unlock the same door at the same time. One key has to be used. What I didn’t realise was someone had left keys hanging on the other side of the door.
We think by trying to force matters we can have success. Standing there I realised that I could force and force and get myself tired in the process or take out my key and let the person open with their key from the inside. If we want breakthroughs; successes we have to learn how to work together for the common goals that we want. We cannot insist on our own way and think that we will get far. One key works beautifully. One key at a time!
The Bible says there is time for everything. There is time to speak and there is time to listen. There are times when you have to have your own way. There are times when you have to humble yourself and back down to allow another to lead. There is a time for everything under the sun but if you insist on your own way all the time; you will not get far. You will be stuck in front of doors that could have been easily opened to you but because you insisted on doing things your own way; because you insisted on just pushing through and breaking things in the process you will remain.
My husband has his own keys to the house and I have mine. It is the same with life and relationships. He has his way of doing things and I have mine. He is not necessarily wrong in how he does somethings nor am I! We are just different! It is two sets of keys but one key must be used at any one time. I can insist on having my way and do things my way but I choose to honour you; to come into your heart I will choose to do things your way; speak the way that you want. I choose to be loving and patient (waiting at the door). Love has a lot of ‘wait at the door’ moments. It is kind. It is gentle.
Earn their trust
You cannot force people to open up to you and trust you. You have to earn their respect and trust. So many times we think just because I am in a position of authority to this person that I can force them to speak. No you may not. You might be the parent but if you want your teenager to open up to you have to be patient. You cannot force them into a conversation that they are not ready for. Earn their trust. Wait for the person. Like our beloved Lord “Stand at the door and knock’
When it’s time; when they feel that you are a safe place to fall then they will open the door from the inside and let you into their heart. Love does not insist on its own way. Stand and continue to stand until the person is ready to open the door and let you into the home of their heart.
You cannot both be talking at the same time. One must keep quiet to hear what is being said. Conversation is not two people talking at the same time. A conversation flows when one talks and the other listens with respect. How many times have you heard someone say so and so has a heart of brick. It is hard to convince them of anything.
The dictionary defines hardened as cold, insensitive, unfeeling, and unyielding. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll have to agree that there are certain areas of your life where you have a hard heart toward God.
If you have been hurt in the past learn to trust again and give your spouse a chance to love you. If he or she is the one who has hurt you be honest about how you feel. Tell him that it is difficult for you to trust him because of what he did but you are working being better. If you have hurt your spouse understand that it will take sometime for her to trust again. Be willing to give her or him time. Love waits. It stands at the door and waits.