More than anything, I wish there was no reason to post an article like this . . . but the need is obvious. We live in a culture that is POISONOUS to marriage and commitment, and so many couples struggle to navigate it. So how does the Church of Jesus Christ respond?
Well . . . on one side, we work as hard as possible to help couples fight FOR their marriage. *We teach God’s view of marriage – that marriage is forever, and that even as feelings ebb and flow, commitment should never wane. (*See update at the end of this post).
But even as we teach that, we need to be prepared to deal with the other side of the issue – we need to minister to people who have gone through the horrific pain of divorce. Some of you reading this right now have personally experienced that pain. Others haven’t, and I pray you never will. Either way, though, we ALL know people who have gone through divorce, or even who are going through divorce right now. So how, as a Christian, how should you respond.
With that question in mind, I want to recommend that you read THIS ARTICLE from Relevant magazine.
From the article:
I never thought my marriage would end. And while the news is still fairly fresh in the public eye, being separated and divorced is a reality I’ve been walking through for almost a year.
Because we chose to keep our private life private as we traveled that journey, only a small group of friends, people in our church, counselors and a few colleagues and pastors knew what we were going through. Reflecting over the last several months has awakened my analytical mind, and I’ve been intentionally processing how many of our relationships have changed, what’s added to the pain and what’s helped relieve it.
Some questions and comments I’ve frequently heard are:
“What advice do you have for friends going through a divorce?”
“Are there any resources you’ve found that have helped you, or that you’d recommend for me to help my friends?”
“I just don’t know what to do or what to say to them.”
“I don’t want to get in their business.”
Because these remarks occur on a daily basis, I thought it’d be best to share two thoughts with you—one on things that helped me and one on things that hurt.
Keep in mind, these are unique to me and every relationship is different, so please don’t assume I’m an expert by any stretch of the imagination.
In September, Pinedale will offer Divorce Care. The 14-week program begins on September 14. That means two things: 1) That you should recommend this excellent program to your friends who are struggling right now. 2) That we will have several people in our halls on Wednesday nights who are badly hurting, and who are searching for answers. Reach out to them. Love them. Minister to them. Let your heart break for people who are heart-broken, and point them to Jesus, the only One who can put the pieces back together.
Stay tuned for more on this topic in the coming weeks.
* Kudos to my friend Jeff, for sending THIS LINK to a sermon by Andy Stanley on divorce and remarriage. (When you click the link, click on the number 5 at the bottom of the screen). The sermon comes from a series on the toughtest teachings of Jesus, and it examines one of the hardest statements that Jesus made – his teaching on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. It is a difficult, but definately worth the listen. If you watch it, and you have questions, email me and let’s talk. By the way, if you choose to watch this sermon, you MUST watch all the way through. Don’t get the tough stuff without hearing the Grace.
P.S. If you are Divorced and Single, ESPECIALLY be sure to watch beginning at the 45 minute mark . . . this is where he talks about re-marriage. GREAT advice!