There are few things that will stir ones emotions more than what the subject of divorce will. Within the church divorce is deemed a terrible and horrible thing. And indeed it is, for those who are going through it.
Over the last thirteen years I have had some interesting experiences about divorce. To give some background; I married in 1997 someone who divorced some 7 years before and whom I recently divorced after 12 years of marriage due to extreme circumstances.
Some of my experiences include;
- I was saved through the ministry of a Sydney Anglican Church. I was a lay preacher for many years but because I was married to a divorced woman I could never be an ordained minister in the Anglican Church. my wife was upset with this, saying its ok for me to be the church secretary and for us to clean the church and grounds…but its….
- I had 2 students at college in 2006 refuse to talk and mingle with me because I was married to a divorced woman… they wanted me to leave her to become a Godly man… interesting their response about my two children… one totally refused to have communion with me during chapel.
- One student approached me quietly at lunch time ( we were in the same ethics class and he was presenting to the class his paper on divorce) He said “Craig, I know your position, and I know the problems those 2 are giving you. I want you to know that I am sharing the class paper after lunch and I have taken the “No Remarriage” stance… I also want you to know that I love you as a brother and wanted to prepare you for this afternoon. I really appreciated Nicks approach that day..he gently ministered to me and we were able to disagree in love and he made a great class presentation.
- I made a point of keeping in contact with 2 friends who had been through divorce and had lost many friends and a support network through it.
- I was black banned from my previous church for separating and eventually divorcing.
- Lost many friends and support networks
- Was told I was cursed by God if I didn’t return to my wife…the person who told me this had totally ignored every thing I had just said about the abuse..
I will write some Biblical reflections about divorce in a future article. For now I want you to think of the people around you who are going through a divorce or separation. Most likely they are in a state of deep confusion and pain.
- They need friendship and support…not more separation!
- They need time to heal….not platitudes!
- They need to be shown and reminded of grace and mercy…not condemnation.
- They need you to ask them if and how you can pray for them…. not you telling them what your praying for them to do.
- They need you to continue to invite them to events…not shutting them out from your life.
I’m wondering what your response has been towards those who have experienced divorce?