As many of you know, Joe and Dayna Martin were on Wife Swap recently. The show was incredible for so many reasons, but I want to highlight one scene that was particularly moving. As Dayna began to witness how her new “husband,” Andrade, rather cruelly treated his kids, she was obviously disturbed. She sat down with him, exposing some shocking truths. They were not well-received.
In a bold yet compassionate face-to-face discussion, Dayna highlighted how Andrade was holding back love from his kids. That he was choosing cruelty over kindness “with his own children!” She told him how he was destroying the connection and the relationship with his kids all in the name of order and obedience. She argued that his wife emasculates him, making all the rules, and that he just follows along. Dayna was saying, come on man, you’re their father – cherish them, uphold them, free them, love them!
But Andrade only coldly fired back that he was preparing his kids for the outside world.
No, Dayna’s message was not well received. There was no “Kumbaya moment.” There rarely is when Truth is revealed. Andrade rejected Dayna’s message of love, relationship, joy, and connection, clinging to his truths of obedience, domination, order. Jesus knows this situation well.
Jesus’ message was not well-received either – it’s still not. Even his own family wanted to lock him up. He was mocked and ridiculed. People hated him – rejected him. He was constantly misunderstood. He was constantly frustrated by their hard hearts. Yet, he still preached his message. He kept sowing seeds. He never stopped. He never backed down. He pressed on despite the enormous opposition.
This is what struck me about this face-to-face moment with Dayna and Andrade. Here she was preaching a profound message of connection and love in a foreign land, in someone else’s house, under someone else’s rules, with someone elses’ kids. She sowed her seeds. She laid it all out there. It was a stunning display of strength, conviction, passion and compassion as she confronted Andrade with truths that one can only imagine tear at his heart to this day.
It doesn’t matter if Andrade rejected the message – or even the messenger. The seeds were sown. The soil conditions were rough, dry, barren, even hostile, but the seeds were sown. Here’s what the master teacher of life tells us when seeds are sown.
From the Gospel of Mark, Jesus says:
The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.
Dayna sowed the seeds. Some landed on the path, like Andrade, and were quickly swept away. The kids heard the word and received it with joy, but we know conditions are rocky in that household. Even if the word is heard, the seeds will be choked out by the worldview held by the Avery-Lamb’s.
However, the seeds were sown. The seeds are lying scattered about their hearts. There will come a time when the soil conditions are right for one, or maybe all the Avery-Lambs. When conditions are right, seeds of love don’t just grow, they explode and begin replicating, producing a crop 100 times what was sown. One is left to hope and pray that the Avery-Lambs will someday all explode with life, freedom, joy, and power in a new found spirit of connection, love, and relationship.
Cindy, Andrade’s controlling wife, will not be able to clean and sweep away all the seeds. They’ve been implanted in their hearts. One day, a seed will find the right conditions to germinate. Jesus knew this when he preached. He knew his message was too much to take in all at once. In fact, in the parable above, Jesus had a rejection rate of 75%. Yet today he has two billion plus followers and counting.
As Cindy and Andrade move on with their lives, they will argue over these new truths. As perhaps will many others who watched the show. They with scuffle. Dust will be kicked up. Tears will flow. And then, light will shine.
A little dirt. A little water. A little light. The perfect environment for a seed.
Thank you Dayna for your example, your courage, and your love.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson