A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Regarding My Divorce: I Don’t Want Grace, I Want Love

Let me start off by saying, when I say “I don’t want grace”, I do NOT mean it in the overarching sense of my faith. I NEED grace. I depend on grace. Every moment of every day is only possible because of grace. That statement “I don’t want grace, I want love” is about my divorce specifically. And what do I mean by that? I mean, I do not believe that divorce is something that I need or want people (or God) to “overlook” or to “deal with”. It’s not something that requires people to summon up their most gracious feelings to extend to me. It’s something that was necessary, and as painful as it was, I am comfortable with it being a part of my life. I am comfortable with my decision, and I believe strongly that God is comfortable with it too. In fact, my faith depends on it.

Just today another well meaning Christian told me “The great thing is, even if you were wrong in your divorce, there is grace to cover that”. I completely understand the point this person was trying to make and why he thought it was encouraging. He wants me to look forward in confidence and not be hindered by my past. What he does not understand is how my experience translates that statement. What I hear is, “The great thing is, even if God hated you enough to pin you down while you were being hurt and hold you in place with a ‘high view’ of marriage, he can overlook you wriggling out from his death-grip”.

Many people fail to understand that the view that God’s law is violated by divorce in circumstances of extraordinary pain (neglect, abuse, adultery, abandonment) is a view that God hates us. I’m sure they would deny this. I’m sure if John Piper were sitting here right now talking to me he would insist that God does not hate me at all, even after I divorced. He is graciously open handed on the issue (so open handed that he could get along with his own church that takes a different view).  In fact, I had a good friend (so close, in fact, that he shares my son’s middle name) tell me we could “agree to disagree” on the issue of divorce. It struck my heart deeply when he said that and we will never be as close again.

I cannot “agree to disagree”, nor can I accept that I might require “grace” to cover the divorce (though I certainly cling to grace for every sin I committed in my marriage; I will not claim to have been a perfect husband). I simply cannot accept that God would hold me in my marriage and subject me to that intense pain at the hand of my ex. That makes me an object of God’s hatred, at odds with the core of my faith that God loves me.

To accept even the possibility that my divorce was a sin is to accept the possibility that the foundation of my faith is a lie. Even grace, the great distinguishing doctrine of Christianity, flows from God’s love. We only get grace from God because he loves us. Permanence doctrine is not a secondary issue to me; it strikes at the core. If I do not have God’s love, how can I have his grace?

So I am making an appeal to the Christian community: please stop offering me “grace” for my past. I don’t want it. I want to you affirm that God loves me and that he was not OK with my pain. You may not know the circumstances of my divorce or what went on in my marriage, but if you believe my life bears fruit and that I am a genuine believer, I think it is safe to trust that I fought hard for my marriage and held it in a very high view. You do not need to worry about whether or not I require grace or whether I was to blame. You need only love me and show me the love of Jesus, and that is what I will do for you.

And yes, there will be grace between us, even grace for you if you do offer me “grace” for my divorce. But how much better would it be if I didn’t have to fear vulnerability with fellow Christians, knowing that I’m always one potential step away from hearing another person imply that God hates me? It would mean the body of Christ could be a safe place for me, and that would be remarkable indeed.

58 Comments

  1. joepote01

    Very well stated, Jeff S! And very true!

    I know that many people wonder why I don’t “get over” these things. The divorce was years ago and I’m now happily married. They don’t understand that the offense I take to language regarding “grace” or “forgiveness” in regard to my divorce or new marriage has nothing to do with nursing hurt feelings and everything to do with understanding who I am in Christ and His position toward me as His child.

    You might enjoy this related post I wrote, recently: Remarriage and Acceptance [Internet Archive link]

    God bless!

  2. Still Scared( but getting angry)

    In sign language one gives applause by waving ones hands in the air above your head. I read this and my hands went automatically up. Well done Well done!! Standing ovation time.

    • john

      Loved it. Reposted it to my Facebook page. Amen!! I was a pastor for 15 years married for 21, and a believer for 26. After 21 years of being honorable and making it look good to those I was called to serve I topped the empty white tower that was full of pain and left. I no longer want to die, I have hope, joy, and peace. But a lot less friends. Funny how those outside of the church have more compassion than those inside.

      • Thanks John. Welcome to the blog 🙂

  3. Yes!

    People are going to misunderstand the Bible on divorce, especially when they listen to someone like Piper. I have learned that they have the “right” to be wrong and let it go. Even tho I want to free them from their self-imposed bondage, that is not within my capability if they do not want to go there.

  4. Yes, yes ,yes! Screaming from the roof tops YES! I have lost some close friends because the last thing they said was “we’ll just have to agree to disagree and I know you are forgiven so lets just move on.” I still talk to this couple on occasion but we are no longer close and I guard what I say to them because I am afraid of being hurt by their words again. Thank you for writing this out so well. The feeling that “God will forgive you for your divorce” is a pill I refuse to swallow. I don’t need to be forgiven by you or by God for my divorce because it wasn’t sin!

    • joepote01

      “I don’t need to be forgiven by you or by God for my divorce because it wasn’t sin!”

      AMEN!

  5. Heather2

    Jeff, I learned how people respond when we choose to divorce. Sadly, most condemn to one degree or another. I couldn’t understand how they had not walked in my shoes and yet had the self-chosen right to wag their fingers at me. There is always so much more to the story which they are not privy to. And you know what? It’s none of their business. We don’t owe anyone an explanation. We don’t need to prove ourselves to others or justify ourselves before them. We are not responsible to obey any pastor or counselor. We must choose our confidants carefully and keep in communion with God who will guide us, love us, and give us what we need to navigate the turbulent waters.

    I remember asking my pastor where the grace was in my situation. I guess they were too busy giving it to my ex. If they couldn’t give me grace you can pretty well know with certainty that love would be the last thing offered.

    But I think you make a very good point. Isn’t love for one another, bearing one another’s burdens and being supportive what Jesus called us to do?

    One of the comments in a past article was really good. The one about Christians showing lots of love to the lost they are evangelizing, but once saved those same Christians will turn on you if you don’t follow their prescriptions. Sad, isn’t it?

    • joepote01

      Heather2 – part of the craziness is that the offender is easily forgiven and extended grace, by simply saying he/she “made mistakes” and “has regrets” in regard to the divorce.

      The innocent party is presumed guilty and looked on with suspicion because of their lack of contrition in regard to the divorce.

      As you say, it’simply a reality to remain aware of…

    • IamMyBeloved's

      It is sort of that same old thing. We are more able to love the lost, than to love our own brothers and sisters in Christ. Why is that? We are called to evangelize the lost and to show them Christ’s love, but we are not commanded to feel sorry for them. How is it that the Church shows more love to the one who has caused all the damage and the divorce, than is shown to the innocent, needy, poor and oppressed ones? Is it pride, that they were able to “win him”, when the wife could not? Amazing how many times the clergy are duped by the abuser. I think it is a sign of blind guides, when leaders are duped by abusers.

      Here is a verse that God spoke to my heart on my day of mediation, as I sat outside broken and crying out to Him.

      Isaiah 32:7-“As for the scoundrel — his devices are evil; he plans wicked schemes to ruin the poor with lying words, even when the plea of the needy is right.”

      Does God look at the wicked and say, “Ah, poor fellow” and then look at His own and say, “What IS your problem? Why CAN’T you just shut up and take the abuse?”.

      A clear and resounding “NO” is appropriate here.

  6. won't tell

    wonderful post! having spent decades fearing His wrath, believing He hated me, or He might still love me but doesn’t like me because of my terrible life (done to me and me doing to others), I found the true Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit.

    then, a very recent, short lived FIRST marriage (im 53), and tail spun.

    well meaning (and some controllling) people said adultery? (graciously including a deviant mind in this definition), but I abandoned.

    i divorced him because he never apologized, never admitted it was wrong to to do what he did (and not once did he hit me so it it wasnt “abuse”), and he was/is dangerous to women.

    i have been “absolved” of my divorce by well meaning people now.

    i don’t undertand this Grace. I don’t understand how people can give me grace, yet Christ can’t. i don’t understand how people can condemn others for preserving life and the childrens lives (if their are ch ildrens lives) and I dont understand how their God can love a contract between two people more than he can love the person who is subjected to terror and torture.

    But I will understand Grace. I will learn again how much He loves me and hates violence… and people forget God is a hater of violence, oppression, evil, deception, and jealous of His love for us.

    that means, if THEY oppress, violate, perpetrate evil, decption or drive a wedge between us and God, they are in His eyesight.

    this knowing checks me from making stupid judgements, removing the security of His love, mercy, and grace from others.

    I confess, I do speak up when they rattle chains–depending on who it is. I must. I’ve kept silent too long, lived in “peace” too long, and sacrificed my body, mind, and soul to the words and actions of others in the wrong thinking of turn the other cheek, forgive, reconcile, and my abused body and mind for decades will never measure up to Christ’s suffering death.

    I will be free. and then, I will live.

    • joepote01

      Won’t_Tell – Keep telling ’em! 🙂

      • won't tell

        i went to your site, joe. drifted through your posts to “divorce is a sin, says who” <– i think.

        the statement "divorce is a consequence of sin" relased the tighteness in my chest a little.

        think on it… God divorced irsael because of continual sinning against Him… right? (correct me if I am wrong)

        even though we are under new covenant, if they want to be legalistic (which always puts me into anxiety attacks, chest pains, terror and sorrow), then they must agree divorce is allowed for continual sinning without true contrition.

        thank you for "divorce is a CONSEQUENCE of SIN"

      • Katy

        God divorced irsael because of continual sinning against Him… right?

        Absolutely correct. And not only that, but Jesus’ death and resurrection marked his “Remarriage” to the Gentiles, when His chosen people rejected Him. God’s divorcing of Israel and the themes of covenant-breaking and remarriage are throughout the scriptures, and I see that now.

      • IAMB,
        I haven’t finished reading this article, but I believe it’s a good summary of a lot of the information David Instone-Brewer put in his book “Divorce and Remarriage In The Bibile” regarding God’s marriages (and divorce).

        Three Weddings and a Divorce: God’s Covenant With Israel, Judah and The Church [Internet Archive link]

      • I haven’t finished that article either, Jeff S! But I’m pretty sure it would answer a lot of IAMB’s questions.

      • IamMyBeloved's

        Okay, I would like some clarification, if you please. Did God remarry Israel? I thought that once he divorced Israel, Judah began being called Israel in the Bible. Does your book clarify this Barb, and I have just forgotten? Any help on this? I was told that the divorce of God from Israel really could not be used as an example, because He took them back with time. Sorry to be confused about this here-

      • My book did not discuss God’s divorce of Israel in relation to how that might shape our view of human divorce. I chose to skip that topic, since Instone-Brewer had done a good job and I didn’t think I could add to it much.

        I am not sure that the kingdom Judah started being called Israel but my brain is a bit fried today. And the meaning and significance of God taking Israel back is one which Christians have different interpretations of depending on their eschatology. I’d rather leave an explanation of that to Jeff Crippen, as he is much better at it than me. And he might not even want to go into it on this blog as we don’t want to get into sidetracked discussions about our various views on eschatology . . . However, I’ll leave that judgement call to Jeff C. 🙂

      • joepote01

        Won’t_Tell –

        “God divorced irsael because of continual sinning against Him… right?”

        Yes, absolutely correct (Jeremiah 3:8). Furthermore, since God, Himself, divorced the northern Kingdom of Israel, and since God never acts outside His perfect will, we know that Divorce was God’s perfect will for that situation.

        Too often, we get trapped into thinking of God’s perfect will as something confined to a Utopian vaccum devoid of human sinfulness. But God works out His perfect will in this fallen world of sinful creatures, thru the lives of His children.

        And Divorce is sometimes God’s perfect will for a given situation.

      • joepote01

        I-Am-My-Beloveds –

        As recounted on Jeremiah 3, God divorced the northern Kingdom of Israel, but did not divorce the southern Kingdom of Judah.

        The Kingdom of Israel was scattered among the nations. The Kingdom of Judah returned to the Promised Land.

        Modern day Israelites are descended from the Kingdom of Judah (tribes of Judah and Benjamin).

      • IamMyBeloved's

        Thank you Jeff S. and Joe. I have Instone Brewer’s books and thought that I had read that in there, but I will check out the link, Jeff. Thanks for posting and responding.

  7. Locked in a jar

    When I read this I see my future. Sad that I am told that God HATES divorce, but never say oh I am sorry for your loss because that is what it is. No one goes into marriage thinking it won’t be forever.
    It’s very disappointing, sad and exhausting when you realize you need to divorce, no one will truly understand this unless you have been through it.

    • joepote01

      LIAJ – Yes, it is very sad, and I am very sorry for your loss…a loss I understand because I have experienced similar loss.

      God doesn’t hate divorce. God hates treachery. That oft misquoted passage in Malachi 2 is addressed to men who were “dealing treacherously” with their wives (Malachi 2:14).

  8. won't tell

    some of the legalistic arguments:
    if your spouse abandons you… my ex gets biblical absolution because i left

    if the unbelieving spouse wants to stay– by his fruits he’s an unbeliever but he wanted us to continue- he gets biblical absolution

    if your spouse is a believer, you can’t divorce–he is a Chaplain, president of a Motorcylce Ministry, professes Christ–he gets biblical absolution
    for adultery- he seeks out women while his ex wives (yup, more than just me) waited for him to divorce–biblical absolution– they abandoned, so he’s not bound

    do you see that the abuser gets a win card in all areas if “they” know the “rules”?

    i experienced weeks and weeks of prayer, anger, and sorrow beause by all the rules, he is the injured party.

    Jesus didn’t break the tablets, he interpreted them to go beyond the flesh to the spirit.

    anyone who uses the rules to bind another in chains and whitewash their tomb isn’t playing fair or honest with the Holy Word.

    I know I was set free to divorce. to remain married would have kept me in bondage to his abuse even when he can’t reach me. to remain separated but married, knowing his pattern, would be enabling his sin, and putting another woman in the position of sinning.

    where does it stop?

    no matter what they say to men and women on the receiving end of treachery and deliberate legalistic abuse of scripture, we APPEAR the guilty party.

    I know my heart was for a Godly, safe, loving marriage to serve others and Him and til death do us part.

    “suicide” or being murdered, or accidentaly dying isn’t in marriage vows, and I KNOW Christ cannot have meant this when he said “what God has joined together let no man put asunder”

    My ex husband put it asunder, not me

    now, praise Him for the scriptures of self preservation and Christ’s examples of not allowing people to harm Him before His time, scriptures of love, grace, mercy, compassion, and promise!

    • joepote01

      “now, praise Him for the scriptures of self preservation and Christ’s examples of not allowing people to harm Him before His time, scriptures of love, grace, mercy, compassion, and promise!”

      AMEN!

  9. When I first became a Christian counselor, I struggled with the issue of divorce caused by abuse. I soon came to realize that God doesn’t want His children to be controlled by anyone other than Him. When children are involved, whether it is the children or that spouse that is being abused, it is ESSENTIAL to get the children out of the situation. ESSENTIAL. Did everyone get that? ESSENTIAL!

    • IamMyBeloved's

      And that is where I believe that sin would enter – keeping the children locked in an abusive marriage and family situation. When it gets right down to it, that is probably the real reason that I ended it – for the sake of my children and future generations. I did not think enough of myself at that point, and was so battered at that point, that I just could not have done it for myself. But, I could not watch my children go through anymore of it.

      • Research shows that many victims only leave when they see that it’s damaging the children.

  10. IamMyBeloved's

    Jeff S. – God is very good. You will never know that this is the exact post I needed on this very day, but I am telling you, that it is. I too, am very tired of hearing that God has or will forgive me and listening to the patronizing remarks of others concerning something they know nothing about. Actually, my thought is, how dare anyone who has not endured the decades of abuse that we have all endured here, step into our circle of trust and begin to tell us how to deal with it or to stay in it. That is sort of like me trying to tell the mechanic how to fix my car, when I do not even know how to start it.

    But I will continue to try to look on those people with grace, because I know they are blind to what has really gone on and I think they just do not get it. It is almost like a tormenting spirit on their part. Arrogance maybe. They think they are so right with God, that they could endure abuse. They think they have so rightly divided His Word, that they know it all. So, I will be gracious, but we must come up with a proper godly comeback to those who would say these kind of things to us, so we do not allow ourselves to be tormented by these messengers.

    I’ll start: “You know, it seems to me that you do not know God very well. Perhaps you could do a study on His loving kindness and how He treats His people and get to know Who God really is, and then we could discuss this. In the meantime, I will be praying for you, that you don’t say such (I want to say “stupid”, but I am reminding myself that I want to do godly and noble things for Christ, so…) blasphemous things about God in the future.” There. Now everyone else’s turn and then we can have a selection to choose from.

    • I am so glad this post was an encouragement to you!

      It was very helpful for me to write, because sometimes I don’t really understand why something feels the way it does until I write it down and describe it.

      • joepote01

        I’m the same way, Jeff! Something about the writing process helps me better organize my thoughts.

  11. Brenda R

    You should be able to “know” without any doubt that the body of Christ is a safe place to be. Often times, I find that Christians are more judgmental than those who claim no faith at all. The words “How can I help” translates to “How are we going to get you 2 back together”.

    I don’t believe that my separating was a sin. I believe the actions that caused my leaving are. I will not be perfect this side of Heaven and have never claimed to be. It has taken a long time, but I know without doubt that God does not expect me to be a martyr to marriage.

    • I often would get (when I was separated) the “I will pray for your marriage”.

      That was always painful to hear because it was just one more example of people not being willing to love and pray for me.

      • Brenda R

        Jeff S. It is painful to hear and I am sorry you had to go through it. I have heard that one too. Praying for a nonexistent marriage seems crazy to me. Enslaved was more like it. The piece of paper said married, but that was not reality. Totally agree, I want to know that I am loved without being married. I am a single Christian 56 year old woman living on my own for almost 4 months now for the first time in my life and I want to know that I am loved for that person. Pray for me in the path that the Lord has me on now. Praying for the marriage is ridiculous.

      • Heather2

        Brenda, you are loved because God loves you. You are valuable and should have been honored and protected by your husband. But he chose another way.

        I began the last leg of my journey in my mid 50’s too. It was the darkest time in my life. This week I am finally seeing a positive change and no triggers. It’s three years later.

        We here on Cry For Justice have been helped so much by the men and women used by God on this blog. I am so grateful. I only wish I had found this refuge sooner.

        You are loved Brenda. Don’t lose sight of that. Those who are forgiven little, love little. Those who are forgiven much, love much. Better to be a sinner who truly repented than to be thinking more of yourself than you ought….

        Hugs, Brenda.

      • fiftyandfree

        I remember what that was like. I remember how people couldn’t seem to see my pain and suffering because all they could see was “the marriage” in trouble, and all they wanted to do was see that “the marriage” be saved. It didn’t matter that I and the children were dying emotionally and spiritually, as long as “the marriage” was saved.

      • joepote01

        F-n-F – “…all they wanted to do was see that “the marriage” be saved.”

        Yes, the underlying assumption, I think, is that if the marriage is saved then the people are saved…and if the marriage is lost…well…bad things happen to the people involved…but nobody really wanted to think that far…because that sort of negative thinking reflects lack of faith…or so the logic assumes…

        It’s funny, I look at this reasoning, today, and realize how absurd it is. But it didn’t seem so absurd to me, at the time, when I was struggling to save the marriage, thinking I was doing what Christ wanted me to do…

        Part of the difference in perspective is an imrpoved understanding of scripture. Part is the realization that there is absolutely nothing I could have done to save that marriage. It was going to end in divorce no matter what I did or did not do.

        Perhaps the biggest change in perspective is that I have survived divorce, and although it was difficult and painful, it was not the end of the world. God did not quit on me; He drew me closer. Life did not end; it got better. The kids did not all end up at the bottom of the statistics barrel; they’re all grown now and all responsible adults with families of their own.

        Marriage does not belong on the pedestal it is too often placed on, and divorce is not the horrible evil it is too often made out to be.

    • “How are we going to get you two back together”.

      TRIGGERRRRRR! bad memories with that one. . . . ugh

      • IamMyBeloved's

        At first, that response would make me fall into a frenzy of fear and pain, but today, my response would most likely be “You aren’t” or “May God hold you accountable if you should even try”.

  12. Hi everyone, I know there are comments in this thread I need to (and want to) respond to, but for some reason I’m having an off day, so I’ll get to them when I regain my wind.

    • Brenda R

      Praying for you Barbara. Everyone needs a little down time.

      • So often you keep me company on Oz time, Brenda! Thanks. Yeah, down time was good. New day tomorrow.

  13. thepersistentwidow

    I would like to say that the hurtful, accusing and unchristian response that I received from my church that caused me so much grief and pain for years, surprisingly, has proven to be one of the best things that has happened to me in my life! Because of their bad theology, defensiveness, and obviously bad fruit, I was forced to seek for another church. If I had acted according to my own will, I would still be there trying to work it out, but in his kindness, God transplanted me to a much, much better church. I am actually excited to go to church on Sunday, and no one has even blinked to hear that I am going through a divorce. Actually, I signed up for the dinner club to try to meet some of the members, and they signed me up specifically for the singles dinner group! All around, this church is so much better, I can’t believe it. Some churches actually ‘get it’ about divorce for abuse, and you may not have one in your area, but it is worth searching out. I think that if your church treats you like a leper, due to their own legalism and ignorance, you may do better to go somewhere else. If they are legalistic and ignorant on one subject, they likely are on others, too.

  14. Anonymous

    I heard again this week that the best outcome was reconciliation and I should be waiting with anticipation and expectation for my husband, my abuser, my rapist, to be reconciled to God so our marriage could be restored.

    Well I so hope and pray for him to be restored and reconciled to God. But our marriage? That’s another story entirely.

    • Katy

      Anonymous – (hugs)
      Just roll your eyes toward heaven. He gets it. :/

    • joepote01

      Anon – What an absurd thing for someone to say to you!

      The reconciliation that we, as Christians, should all be looking forward to with eager anticipation and expectation is the day we meet Jesus face-to-face! THAT is a wedding feast I don’t want to miss! 🙂

      • Brenda R

        Amen, Joe. Anon–I don’t know who is telling you this, but whether or not your spouse is reconciled with God doesn’t have anything to do with being reconciled with you. That person obviously has no idea what you’ve been through or even how the thought makes you feel and no control over their tongue. Hugs and prayers going out to you.

    • IamMyBeloved's

      Yes of course, Anonymous, because God loves that wicked man, more than He loves His own! Not! This stuff is not God and it becomes more ridiculous every time I hear it.

      We all hope for God to save whomever He decides to save, but that is His business and we are just to share the Gospel – not stay in abusive marriages and be raped and abused.

    • fiftyandfree

      Gross. What is wrong with people? I still occasionally am asked if I would remarry the monster if he was converted. I say “no way.” It was never a marriage in the first place. It was relationship fraud. I was nothing more than an object to him. If he ever came to Christ, praise the Lord, but I feel no responsibility whatsoever to remarry him.

      • joepote01

        I had a pastor ask me that once. I told him that there are several billion people on this planet, and out of all those people there is only one person that I know for absolute certainty I cannot be in a covenant relationship with.

  15. King'sDaughter

    “Even grace, the great distinguishing doctrine of Christianity, flows from God’s love.”

    THAT, right there, is IT!

    Thank You, Jeff for connecting the dots! Again, I’m so blessed by your insight and sound Biblical understanding! AHHH! It’s so nice when someone untwists one of those nasty old religious knots!

    You are so right! To even imply that God would desire for someone to suffer abuse when it could be stopped is plainly denying that God is love and that he sees value in His creation. Its barbaric, actually.

    I used to believe that God intended to use the cruel circumstances of my marriage to help mold me into a better person. In many ways, it did, but I do not believe for one second that being harmed was part of His perfect loving design for my life. Its still a mess though, trying to sort out what makes sense, when an abusive marriage produces the most precious gifts you have ever received and transformed you in such profound ways yet caused you such pain and suffocated the life out of you to where those precious gifts were in harm’s way and the transformed heart was left impotent. Its a chore replacing the lies with truth! I’m thankful for the ones who have blazed this trail ahead of me!

  16. Jeff, I can relate to the issue of friends not understanding the issues. I once tried to explain my concerns over abuse, Vision Forum, etc. to one of my friends, and his response was, “I don’t know why you care so much about this stuff, it’s not as important as gay marriage.” (That’s basically verbatim BTW.) He wasn’t mean or overbearing about it. But it was still an unintentional confession of what his real priorities are: scoring political points = more important than helping hurt people and righting injustice.

    The ironic part is that his mother’s experience is the reason I care about the kind of issues addressed at ACFJ, and why I’m aware of this problem in the first place. His parents went through an unpleasant divorce because his NPD father was addicted to porn and exchanging erotic letters with a 13yo in their apartment complex. He pulled typical stunts as the divorce progressed – i.e., homeschooling is the ONLY GODLY WAY until he has to pay the child support to fund it, then the kid should go to public school. (Thankfully the mom is now happily remarried to a normal guy.) I got to watch all this as a 12-13yo, and my parents were very open and honest with me about why Mr. and Mrs. Jones were getting divorced.

    Unfortunately I don’t think my friend’s mom has told him the truth about his dad. That’s what I have to believe, anyway, as he still visits his dad, communicates with him, and occasionally quotes him on religious topics. The alternative – that he could know what his dad did, but still value his opinion on anything (let alone the Bible) and think that abuse issues are not important – is a little too horrible for me to contemplate. That would be a revelation…that one of my professing Christian friends has no character whatsoever.

    • Hester, that comment about the gay marriage issue so so revealing. Excellent point. People are so focused on agendas that they forget love and compassion. Paul had something to say about people who do not love . . .

      By all means, we do need to stand up for Christian values in this culture, and that means taking stands on a variety of issues. But politics should take a back seat to helping the oppressed, especially the ones in our churches.

    • Hester, I echo Jeff S’s response. Prioritizing the fight against gay marriage over the need to protect victims of abuse right in the pews alongside us (or absent from the pews because the church has so mistreated them) reeks of Pharisaism. Sure, the gay marriage issue is important, but we are practical heretics if we don’t help the widows in our own midst. Widows = women bereft of husbands, and we all know that husbands who are abusers are not husbands, they are anti-husbands. Not to mention all the children who are being forced to be with fathers who abuse them, often by the courts in conjunction with corrupt child protection officials and mental health professionals. Millstones is what abusive parents deserve. And those aren’t my words, they’re Christ’s.

      And what is the point of preserving the institution of heterosexual marriage if in so many cases it harbours the abuse of a spouse? The single-minded focus on gay marriage that many conservatives indulge in is just another aspect of the idolization of the institution of marriage — putting marriage on a pedestal, while letting victims of abuse be eaten by sharks.

      [Of course, domestic abuse occurs in gay relationships too: I’m not implying that gay relationships are abuse-free in contrast to heterosexual ones.]

      • Of course, domestic abuse occurs in gay relationships too

        …and just imagine how someone who won’t help heterosexuals in abusive relationships, because they’re too busy fighting gay marriage, would treat a gay person who was being abused by their partner.

      • Yeah.
        Thankfully, a few Christians know how to love gay people with the love of Christ. The Secret Thoughts of An Unlikely Convert tells one such story. The woman who wrote it used to be a lesbian, though not in an abusive relationship. She was led gradually to Christ by a Christian university professor and his wife.

  17. Katy

    that one of my professing Christian friends has no character whatsoever.
    the older I get the more this is reinforced for me. It’s one of the saddest realizations in all of this discovery — that so many who profess His name are bankrupt and have no spiritual sight.

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  1. Trained Circus Freaks: Re-visiting My Over-Conscientiousness | A Cry For Justice

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