One question that we received last Sunday was “Why do many churches choose to alienate those who have suffered a divorce?” My answer is not very politically correct, but IT IS BRUTALLY HONEST…So here goes!
1. Calling yourself a “church” doesn’t mean you are one. There are lots of congregations out there sitting downstream of our culture pointing out all the polution that culture is pouring into our society. It’s easier for them to sit on their blessed assurance pointing out the sins of others without ever walking upstream to influence culture so that what is poured into the stream of society is biblical and Godly. People these days, for the most part, understand what is right and wrong. They usually know when what they are doing is wrong. They need less finger pointing from those of you who call yourself “churches” and more of a hand to help them get on the right road once a sin has been committed. Even though 50% of all marriages end in divorce, these people are still 1)treated like they have some kind of disease or 2)are left alone after one week to deal with their pain that will continue for years to come. THIS IS THE PLACE OF THE CHURCH!!!
2) It’s easy to judge someone when you haven’t walked in their shoes. You never see someone that has been divorced tell another person who has been divorced, “You should suck it up and move on” or “You can never marry again” or “You can never do ____ in the church now”. Those who have been through the hell of divorce know the pain and guilt already associated with it, thus they have more compassion than someone who hasn’t ever been there. Those of us who have been able to weather the trials that come along in any marriage are BLESSED. We should be there to help and comfort those who have fallen prey to the attack of the enemy on their marriage.
3. Pastors need to focus less on the sin of divorce and more on teaching and modeling to their people how to have a healthy marriage. Pastors, let’s stop preaching sermons and begin living them! Let’s be the leaders in repentance, in prayer, in tithing, in dating our wives, in spending time with and disciplining our kids. This is not the easy way to lead people, but it is the only effective way. If people don’t see what you preach modeled in your own life, you lose the ability to speak authoritatively in their eyes.
So, encourage your church to always give a big thumbs up to divorcees. Not necessarily condoning divorce, but loving the people involved. Remember, divorce may not be where Satan has attacked you, but we all have our weaknesses. Don’t ever forget what God has delivered you from!
P.S….If your marriage is struggling, read “Conflict In Marriage“.