I think I may not have written clearly enough in my last post, and some of my point may have been lost. So let me try again.
Too often in the church today we focus on condemning “sin,” which in large part means condemning people after things go off the rails. But we need to be more open, sensitive, and helpful to each other so we can keep each other from getting into desperate situations.
I’ll address divorce again, using C.S. Lewis’s metaphor of amputation. Though I’ve never gone through a divorce, the thought of separating from Katherine is horrible – I’d rather lose an arm.
The thought of things getting so bad between us that severing our lives seems like an improvement? That’s horrifying.
Malachi 2:16 flat-out says that God hates divorce. That makes sense. He’s the Great Physician, and what doctor likes to perform amputations? Amputations are only indicated when injury or infection is so terrible that it threatens the life of the body.
Shouldn’t we, as a church, be washing each others’ wounds? Shouldn’t we be installing guard rails on the dangerous machinery? Shouldn’t we be doing all we can to prevent these amputations, instead of preaching condemnation at one-armed men and women?
I think so. But during my married life, I’ve never been a member of, or even a regular attender of, a church that provided active support for married couples.
One church, First Baptist Byram, did at least offer Financial Peace University. Though it wasn’t specifically aimed at “marriage support,” it does help people (or couples) come to terms with their finances, which are one of the top (if not the #1) causes of conflict and divorce.
But as much emphasis as the church puts on families and marriage, I just haven’t seen much on actually working to strengthen existing marriages.
But if we hate divorce as God does, shouldn’t we be working to prevent it?
Shouldn’t those of us who’ve been happily married for many years offer ourselves (without being pushy) as willing listeners to those who are newly married, or who are having troubles?
Shouldn’t we offer classes that focus on issues that come up? Or if the church is too small for that, shouldn’t we at least suggest books (like The Total Money Makeover and The Five Love Languages) and resources on the community or association/diocese level?
Shouldn’t we try to be proactive?
Of course, that would require us to be more honest with each other, and to create an environment in which people feel comfortable talking about their hard times and shortfalls, without fearing condemnation.
But that’s a problem for another post.