Sunday, October 5, 2008

Love is a Choice

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Dear young lady from church.

I heard you say a few weeks ago that you were going to get a divorce. I heard you say that you and your husband are never going to get along so divorce is what you are going to do.

I remember some years ago when I first saw you. We had just begun going to the church where you were. You were in your teens and unmarried. The pastor announced that you were pregnant. He asked the church to come around you, to pray for you and support you. I know we did. Time passed and you were pregnant again. Again, the church tried to be the church.

Your future husband was coming to church with you. From what I heard he wasn’t a Christian but maybe was coming along. He seemed to care for your children even though he wasn’t the father. You eventually married him. I didn’t see you for a long time after that.

Some months back you and he started coming around again. I heard things were rough. Then I heard those horrible words, “I am going to get a divorce.”

Has the church failed you? In our desire to help and support you, have we made it too easy for you? Too easy at least to do things your own way and then wonder why life is rough. You say that he has been unfaithful. Well, wasn’t he also before you married him and weren’t both of you impure with each other before you were married? You say drugs are involved but weren’t they around before you married him? It seems to me that he is the same guy you married.

Yes, your life is a mess and divorce may seem the easy way out. Do you want the church to surround you again, to pray for you and support you as you make this decision? If we did, I think that would be a great failure on our part.

I think the best thing we could do for you is hold your feet to the fire. We could help you see how your own unfaithfulness has felt to God. How you have lived your life the way you want and then you come back to church hoping that God will fix up the mess it has become.

Yet, that is the way it should be. Over and over, we like sheep go astray and the Master comes looking for us. But, one thing is for sure. If we want His help and blessing, we have to do it his way. He isn’t going to bend the rules, afraid that if he holds the line we will bolt. It’s His way or no way.

How about a clear command from God’s Word? If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. (1 Corinthians 7:13). From what I can see, you have a clear command from Scripture. Of course, it doesn’t mean you tolerate unfaithfulness or drugs and if there were threats of physical abuse there are ways to deal with that. There is a big difference between fighting for your marriage and looking for the easy out.

Dear young lady, you haven’t even begun to fight yet. Yes, your marriage and life are messed up but you are not the first. Next week my wife and I will celebrate thirty years of marriage. Before we were married, we learned that divorce was not an option and so we never used that dirty word. But I can tell you, there have been and are some very rough times. That’s the reality of two sinful human beings joining together. Sparks are going to fly. There are going to be disagreements, fights, battles, wars and a few nuclear explosions where only by the grace of God does anything remain after. And, there is the key – the grace of God. He takes a messed up man and woman and seeks to mold them into something different.

In Ephesians 5:32 there are some strange words: This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. This is said right after marriage instruction is given. It’s a clue – marriage is to show us what Jesus and the Church are. Try to figure that out and you will blow your mind. Yet, is that why marriage is under such attack? Are we losing something great when we give up on another person through divorce?

Dear sister, fight for your marriage. Let God make you into the person you are meant to be and then let Him work through you to bring your husband to Himself and to make him into a man that you can be proud of. I know this is not easy. I don’t have a handle on it myself but that’s where I’m going. I’m almost thirty years into it and I have a long ways to go but I’m glad to be on the journey and I’m not going to give up.

Remember, love is a choice. It’s sometimes the hardest choice. It’s even harder when the easy way out presents itself. It’s love that covers a multitude of sins and brings hope when all our eyes see is despair and our mind tells us to give up.

You and your husband are on my prayer list. I’m going to fight for you too.

Philip

Ps I wish I could give this letter to you but I hardly know you. I hope those closer to you will give you it’s message.

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