In the last four blog posts, I unpacked 5 hurtful responses that those going through the trauma of a divorce do NOT need from us, as well as 5 HELPFUL responses to ease their pain. These are based on the writings from those who shared their very personal stories with me in response to my January 17, 2020 blog post “Are Divorcees Disqualified from Ministry?”
Today, I wrap up this 5-part series with One. Final. Question…
CAN the Church, like God, hate divorce while LOVING the Divorcee?
The saddest, most concerning thing that I’ve been hearing is that many walked away from their home church simply because they felt more criticism than concern through their divorce process. (Thank you, Dr. David Dorn and Rev. Mike Langdon, that I didn’t feel the need to fall into that category.)
Even more concerning is that some even walked away from God, because being part of the body of Christ felt like too much pain to manage on top of their existing load. Pastors and parishioners, something has to change if people are walking away from our churches (or Christianity altogether) because of how ostracized we’re making them feel.
Divorcees desperately need compassion, not comparison… empathy, not accusation… inclusion, not isolation… friends, not fixers… grace, not guilt.
Yes, divorce has SO MANY ripple effects, and it hurts a LOT of people. But none more so than the hurting husband and wife, I assure you. The one who feels the need to file for a divorce often wrestles with tremendous guilt for hurting not just their about-to-be-ex, but everyone else in their circle, too. Not to mention the overwhelming spiritual guilt of failing to accurately represent Christ’s unconditional commitment to His bride, the Church. But the alternative of maintaining the status quo and keeping all that pain trapped deep inside themselves can feel equally overwhelming as their “emotional bills become due.” Given enough time and pressure, the latter looms much larger of a problem than continuing to color inside the lines to keep everyone else in their life happy.
Life is not a contest to see who can endure the most pain without flinching. It’s a roller coaster ride, with enormous highs and terrifying lows. When our friends go through the terrifying low of a divorce, they need to know that we’re right beside them, buckled up and firmly braced to see where life is going to take them next. Hopefully, they can heal and learn to trust and love again someday – all because of how trustworthy and loving we’ve been toward them through the process.
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