Tag Archives: divorce


torn piece of paper with divorce text and paper couple figures

by Stan Mitchell

A young man speaks to his wife of ten years:

“I don’t love you any more, and it would be hypocritical of me to continue acting as if I love you when I don’t. I’m leaving you for (whoever it is he mentions). What she and I have is real love.”

What’s fascinating about this scenario is that the one speaking has made a virtue out of an act that would normally be considered spectacularly immoral. Our man might be selfish, feckless and cruel, but please note he’s no hypocrite.

  • Where did we get the idea that if we felt anger or resentment toward someone we should give our wrath full vent rather than controlling our words?
  • Where did we get the idea that if someone did not merit our love we could simply dismiss them from our minds?
  • Where did we get the idea that biblical love, godly love, was something we could fall in to, or out of?
  • Where did we learn that we could simply walk away from God and his people and make a virtue of that action because to do otherwise would be “hypocritical”?

The lesson from hypocrisy is not to become a foul pagan, but to do the right things with sincerity.

The book of Proverbs frequently counsels us to control our words, not just blurt them out:

“Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin,” (Proverbs 13:3, ESV).

One of the fruits of the Spirit is “self-control” (Galatians 5:23).

The problem, of course, is that we have confused the nature of biblical love with hormonal overflow. If all it took to be in a loving marriage were hormones, then thirteen-year-olds would be prime candidates for marriage. Their raging hormones seem to occur at an optimum level.

Hollywood (and our selfish hearts) has told us that love equals romance, the heart, something we fall in to, or logically fall out of. Biblical love insists that we be loving to those who do not deserve it, when we no longer feel like it, when it is not convenient.

Biblical love is a behavior, not a warm fuzzy feeling. Love is tough. It overcomes obstacles. It does not walk out on its commitments. It is selfless. In a word, it is what Christ did for us.

Can you imagine Jesus declaring:

“I don’t feel like dying for those people (he didn’t); they’re not worthy of my love (we weren’t), and it would be hypocritical of me to act as if I do feel like it.”

  • People walk away from church because they do not understand that true love is a commitment to others.
  • People leave the Lord because they do not understand that commitment is an integral part of love.
  • People turn their backs on marriage because they see it only in terms of how it makes them happy.

True love does not desert when something better comes along, it exhibits determination when the times get tough.

Relationship tune up

“Her children rise and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praises her. ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all'”(Proverbs 31:28, ESV).

The note was on the table when Bob found it. He should have known better. He maintained his car constantly, adjusting the timing like a symphony hall conductor, changing the oil regularly, doing all the work with his own hands. His car purred more softly than their Persian cat.

But a man who understood cars so well should have understood his wife better. He was a good man, provided well for his family, and would have given his shirt off his back to a stranger. He loved Stacy, in his strong, quiet way. But he never praised her, rarely thanked her.

A man who checked his car daily, who understood that a car doesn’t run smoothly, had no idea what kind of lubricant smoothed over the most important relationship in his life. He had taken her for granted.

The note read: “Bob, I’ve moved out. Try as I might, I can’t do anything that makes you happy. If only you had told me once that you appreciated what I did. Perhaps now you will learn that meals don’t cook themselves, and clothes don’t wash themselves.”

The hard part was that he had. He just hadn’t said so. He just thought that she understood. “Guess I thought she had mental telepathy,” he muttered to himself.

He sat down on the couch and began, belatedly, to plan how to do a complete service on the marriage.


Transforming Churches

by Barry Newton
From fiction to the church, history exudes examples of those who have sought to impose their own will by transforming what exists into how their own imagination thought it should be. In Mark Twain’s “The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg,” a mysterious stranger became consumed with discovering a perfect scheme for reshaping Hadleyburg’s reputation, that it might fall into the mire of disgrace. Through guile, he infected their pillars of society with a successful cancerous plot.
In a galaxy far away, Trekies will remember how Captain Kirk’s son in “The Search for Spock” had succumbed to pride and the allure of power by cutting corners to create the first device which if fired deep into a planet would be capable of transforming it into a paradise. Although his goal appeared noble, the ultimate result was catastrophic.
Fed up with church wars and judgmental hairsplitting not befitting the name Christian, some appear to have concocted a protein which when injected into the deepest levels of Christian DNA would transform the church. This powerful mutating genetic sequence is a-n-e-w-g-r-a-c-e. The goal to halt countless church splits over misinformed opinions is noble. However the short-cut method of redefining grace unbiblically leads to disastrous results.
Although the Bible never suggests that grace means we have been released from pursuing God’s guidance, a Christianity cultivated in a democracy petri dish exalting individualism has readily spliced a-n-e-w-g-r-a-c-e into how it thinks. When a congregation’s practice conflicts with biblical teaching, well-intentioned leaders can now feel biblically justified by simply counseling, “Grace covers it.” Wherever this unwarranted definition penetrates how churches think, callousness to the scriptural message ensues.
A biblical veneer for this grace mutation comes from “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”1 Although the context of this phrase reveals Paul proclaimed the wonderful news that Christians have been forgiven, the genetic spin doctors have re-engineered this to mean you will not be condemned for failing to obey any of scripture’s prescribed teachings. Confusing forgiveness for past mistakes as a license for future behavior conveniently obfuscates the necessary impact of the cross upon the disciple’s life. “Shall we go on sinning that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin … we know that our old self was crucified with him.”/2 Cross-bearing entails saying to God along with Christ, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
In contradistinction to the way of the cross, a-n-e-w-g-r-a-c-e empowers a congregation to shape itself and its service according to whatever whims its will can pragmatically tolerate. As to what scripture describes how the body of Christ is to be, God’s servants are to seek to conform to God’s revealed will, not reshape it into their own fallen image.
1/ Romans 8:1
2/ Romans 6:1,2,6