Applying Matthew Matthew 7:12 when everything seems so wrong, when circumstances say “don’t” and there are a host of reasons that can be found for not applying The Golden Rule is not easy.
Divorce is a nasty life event, there is an almost Hollywood view on Divorce but the emotions of divorce in the real world are miles away from a glossy soap opera divorce or highly public celebrity divorce as seen in the tabloid press. Divorce is painful and when there are children involved more painful still. Having to apply the Golden Rule with the one you once loved is perhaps the most challenging application of “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”. Inside there is a level of bitterness, a seed planted by the Devil and one that he, the Devil, will use at every opportunity he can get.
I was trying to move on in life in late 2013 and in the early part of 2014 but life events happened that put so much in focus and being a stalwart of The Golden Rule challenged my actions and my thinking to the extreme. There is something inside someone that applies the Golden Rule in life, especially when that person is a Christian and has a deeper understanding of what is merely a quoted bible verse to so many, something words cannot really define. That something was prodded and poked in late 2013 as was seen in the last post but there was no way of knowing what would come and push everything to beyond a tipping point, a point where human love proves to be the most powerful and painful element in the universe.
My ex-wife, the one according to Hollywood I should be bitter about, happy to have got shot of and more, was left battered and bruised in the dying moments of 2013 and my son had just opened his eyes to purple bruises and a pain so deep it can only be glimpsed somewhere in the eyes of the smashed up person. This was the physical side of the assault, and anger inside my son and me was boiling like a volcano about to erupt. This was one point where I had to apply the Golden Rule and think “what would I want in that place?” The Answer was me and a level headed friend, and who is the best friend a boy can have? Yes, his father. I had to be there for my son and his Mom to help try and rebuild some physically shattered lives.
I spent time with my son taking him away from the pain and giving his mom the comfort her son was happy and she could recover slowly, I extended my holiday leave to be dad. Then came the day my life was turned upside down again, tossed harder, thrown further and suddenly stopped like never before.
Heading home from an afternoon on the beach with my son, something didn’t feel right. My son had asked to come with me as his mom was resting and of course he just wanted to be away from his mom to let her rest. All afternoon though something felt odd, awkward, and cold. The laughter and fun with my son that afternoon felt special but felt very final, it was a Sunday, Sunday 12th January 2014. I had taken unpaid leave because my son needed dad and his mom was unable to physically look after him as well as she wanted and I felt great even though I could not afford the unpaid leave. I did what I did for my son, if it had been the reverse I would expect the same to be done for me.
At just after 5pm on Sunday 12th December 2014 I took my son home to his Mother’s house. There was an eerie silence as we entered the house. I followed my son in, something I didn’t normally do as things were not always exactly comfortable between my ex-wife and I, and the kitchen was a mess so instinctively I tidied up. Then came a moment I will never forget. From upstairs my son let out a blood curdling scream and I knew something wasn’t right. I raced upstairs and there on a bed was him Mom, unconscious. She had attempted suicide and taken a massive overdose of various sleeping pills and pain killers. This was the point that changed my life… forever. It was also the point where I had no option but to apply the Golden Rule and do what anyone would do for me and apply it to someone who was my ex-wife, someone who I really could have just walked away from. Suddenly I had to remain calm and take control of the situation. I prayed.
I sent my son downstairs and I called for the paramedics, my son had covered his mom up with a blanket as she was very cold on the bed, something I have since learned probably saved her life. I called a friend and then evacuated my son from the environment. It seemed to take forever for the paramedics and the ambulance to arrive but eventually they did.
I was now trapped, I had to make a tough call: do I stay with my ex and ensure she gets to hospital or do I go be with my son? I prayed again, I chose to go with my ex-wife and take care of the hospital side of things. At this point though it was touch and go, at one point my ex-wife, my son’s mother had gone but she was revived.
She was rushed to the hospital with red lights flashing and sirens wailing, I followed and ensured all the paperwork was completed, still with no idea if my ex, my son’s mom would make it or not. I filled in a pile of paperwork and then phoned my son and also spoke to the friends he was with, it really was best he knew as little as possible at this stage.
At 10:56 pm I was informed my son’s mother had been stabilised and was in Intensive Care, I went and sat for an hour watching the beep, beep, beep of the monitor before being told that she will be ok and won’t come round for another 12 hours or so and I should go home. I had done what I would expect anyone to do for me.
The Golden Rule is tough to live by at time. No amount of Gold can repay what is often done. No money in the world could have saved my son’s mother, only actions and doing the right thing did that and will always do that. It is very easy to give money to say sorry or try and help, especially when you are trying to help someone you don’t know. The real challenge comes when you have to help and apply the Golden Rule when to help your enemy or someone who has perhaps aggrieved you, hurt you or in my case divorced you.
Sometimes we just need to be reminded about the sacrifice Christ made for us on the cross. We were and all are sinners, we did not deserve his act of salvation and absolute kindness but sometimes you have to do what you would expect others to do for you even when the odds are against it. Christ paid the ultimate price; he did what we did not deserve. To a degree you could say the same about my son’s mother, and indeed I have been told I should not have helped her but as a Christian I had to. I prayed as to what I should do and did it knowing who was ultimately in control. When you know who is in control when applying the Golden Rule is that much easier to apply even if it still does not quite make sense.
There is one final part to this very real application of the Golden Rule, challenging on a whole new level and a life event that changes a man forever and demonstrates that with the Golden Rule there are only winners, never losers.
Matt Newnham is a Christian, Writer and Speaker. He is a single father and lives in Cape Town, South Africa. Matt is passionate about life and success and his ability to touch the heart of readers has earned him the title “The Master of Emotional Appeal” Follow Matt on Twitter @MattNewnhamZA and on his Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/mattwjnewnham