A Cry For Justice

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

Stop judging divorced people. Just stop it.

can't be the only one

Another guest post by Juliette:

For me and my precious many friends going through the very same thing right now:

(A Rant About Divorce, Feel Free To Ignore)

We might get all kinds of blame and accusation for laying down the fight, walking away….and being done with getting beat down. To divorce feels like receiving a humiliating yellow patch shouting…Divorce! She gave up! She walked away and didn’t endure. She is scum. Let’s throw rocks and hate at her. Let’s call this her fault. She filed, so she must be the problem & the cause.

But God knows all the details. He knows about the hell. He knows about the tears, and all the effort that was given, all those years sowed in to…. and all the deep, deep cost of it. Maybe it hurts that people believe the smooth words and omitted facts of another person’s version of your story…and maybe also, we have some fault and failure to deal with, too. I know I do. Every day I learn more things about myself that need to change and grow. Every day I see more of my fault and more things I have to surrender to God.

All of it hurts.

But as far as fighting for love, fighting for joy and fighting for marriage…we know that we did…and we know God sees the whole story. Blamers Gonna Blame….that’s just the way it is….we can’t out-run blame….so we might as well just stand still in the TRUTH and let it defend us and guard our hearts. It is really hard to just stand still and let the rain fall. But, stand still we must.

God defends those who are His and looking to Him. He also deals with all our garbage when we hand it over….and He speaks truth over us to combat all the lies.

Just because someone files for divorce, doesn’t mean they EVER wanted to. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t completely devastating (it is – I think it is worse than grieving a death)…and it certainly DOESN’T mean they were the one who gave up. (I didn’t and still haven’t, although it’s about as bleak as it can get). The “filer” didn’t “commit” divorce. Divorce was brought upon the home through heart and soul, choices, actions, heart-wrenching sin and breach of healthy relationship that wouldn’t get better no matter what.

Many times…”Divorce” is already an attitude in play without all the paperwork. The paper work is simply a technical indication of what was already going on. It is a tragic necessary evil needed to bring some overall peace. Legal Divorce (like marriage) is simply a piece of paper. Actual Divorce (like marriage)….is a state of the heart before God…. the result of how people are relating within a union together.

There can be divorce in a home without ever stepping foot in a courthouse. Let the blame fly. Let the critics and enablers judge…..But truth will always find its mark. Maybe not today or tomorrow….but all things will be set right.

Being the one to file for the legal divorce doesn’t make you a bad guy, doesn’t make you the one who wouldn’t fight for love, and it isn’t a reason to be blamed and treated even more like garbage.

But if you didn’t live inside the hell…then you don’t know who was an instigator, who was a reactor, who was fighting FOR marriage and who was just fighting. You don’t really know whose issues were bringing in hurt or trying to stamp it out.

Divorced people don’t need your opinions. They need you to be educated about all this stuff and be very prayerful and encouraging toward God’s plans. They need you to be friends who encourage friends toward the light.

They just need Jesus, and God’s l-o-v-e and lots of encouragement to do what is right, encouragement to really surrender to Jesus, to GROW and be open to God’s healing and leadership in their life.

And also….shame on all the enablers…..and those with unwise mouths and minds.

If you’re not going to speak life and truth-with-love over a divorced person…. or encourage a divorced person toward good things and running to God about all of it….then do the world a favor and go sit in your room alone with God and just stay there. Reserve your mouth and opinions for Him. Because you’re doing so much more harm, than good.

Stop judging divorced people. Just stop it. Stop enabling people who are toxic.

Start being a person who prayerfully and maturely encourages the broken to run to God.

29 Comments

  1. Here here!!! Standing ovation!! Another gem from ACFJ!!

  2. joepote01

    Thank you for ranting, Ellie! Sometimes ranting is needed…and your words carry much truth.

    You might also enjoy my post, from yesterday, on a related topic: http://josephjpote.com/2014/07/relational-idolatry/

    • Ellie

      Thanks, but the credit goes to Juliette!

      • joepote01

        Ah, I missed that! Thank you.

        Great post, Julliette!

    • Brenda R

      Thank you for that Joe, You said how I feel about the subject beautifully.

      • joepote01

        Thank you, Brenda! Glad it was a blessing to you!

  3. Joyce

    AMEN!!! Wonderful post and thank you!

  4. Brenda R

    Amen, Amen, Amen. So much truth in this. I’m keeping this in case I need a hand out. I like that: Just stop it!!

    • Ellie

      I am remembering this Newhart sketch:

      • joepote01

        Hah! Funny! 🙂

      • Barnabasintraining

        Haha! I remember that one!

        (I think he’s nouthetic! 😉 )

  5. Forrest

    Reblogged this on Tùr Làidir.

  6. Marah

    “and maybe also, we have some fault and failure to deal with, too. I know I do. Every day I learn more things about myself that need to change and grow. Every day I see more of my fault and more things I have to surrender to God.”

    This is exactly what my husband wants me to believe, that I have some fault and failure too and need to surrender to God.

    There is a lot of fabulous truth in this post, but I can’t get past the quoted section.

    • Ellie

      I understand Marah. Knowing Juliette as I do, I can say that she is still reeling, still trying to figure out what has happened to her. When she has contact with her abuser, she starts questioning herself. As believers we are being sanctified and we are constantly surrendering our motives, our desires, our hopes to Christ. And He is faithful to change us. But learning about abusers teaches us that, despite what they claim, no amount of our changing will make them stop their cruelty. As I wrote in I Left Him Because I Loved Him, my heart changed, but I still left him and in the same way I had planned to leave him when I wanted to leave out of spite, before I knew that God was leading me away from the despair that filled my days in that marriage. And in The Reason, I talk about this again. Sin leveling isn’t gonna fly here. We change. We grow. We surrender more and more to Christ. But our actions did not cause, cannot cause the abuse. The abuser abused. That’s on him. We will change as we grow in Christ. That’s a given. We did not, cannot cause abuse. Until that’s an unqualified given in the minds of the abusers or any counselor or ally, be sure that those people are not safe.

      • Marah

        I have the same problem as Juliette in this: contact with my husband (and he’s been writing letters lately) leaves me questioning myself. Since I have an unhealthily hyper-sensitive conscience to begin with, it’s a toxic brew. I can go from outrage at hearing about a lie he told my sister about me 19 years ago to questioning whether it really was that bad, or even a lie at all – maybe just a misunderstanding, in no time flat. I struggle to stay in the frame of mind that assigns him his own responsibility for how he has treated me and the kids.

        Thanks for the encouragement!

      • Ellie

        I understand. If you want, you could email those letters to the team and we can practice translating the abuserese. In Gaining Awareness of Abusers’ Tactics we had a fun practice session. Also I think I wrote the Jedi Mind Tricks Don’t Work Here Anymore post right after receiving some email rant from X. The manipulative phrasing starts to jump out at you once you see it for what it is. Maybe you could check to see if any of the words or phrases listed in the Jedi post are in your abuser’s letter and let me know what you notice!

      • Ellie

        I was also thinking that Leslie Vernick’s post from today How Do I Forgive Myself might be helpful to you.

      • joepote01

        Good discussion, here, Marah and Ellie!

        I do think it’s important to recognize faults and failures…to prayerfully seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in growing and changing.

        For someone emerging thru divorce…especially someone emerging from an abusive marriage…I think it is equally important to recognize that divorce is NOT indicative of faults, failures or need to change. The human condition is indicative of faults, failures and need to change. However, divorce, in and of itself, is no more indicative of failing than any other human condition.

        Divorce is not inherently sinful, is not inherently ungodly, and is, in fact, sometimes the best, wisest, and most godly choice for a given situation.

      • Marah

        I am getting better at reading between the lines of his communications. But he’s had me so thoroughly tied up in knots for so long that even when I can identify the garbage, it still sends my mind reeling. I find I’m initially able to let myself just feel the anger, but that fairly quickly morphs into anxiety over whether I’m unfairly or inaccurately ascribing sinful motives to him. It’s excruciating.

        On another note, I’d deeply appreciate prayer about finding a lawyer. I think I’ve exhausted my options, and I’m desperate.

      • Okay Marah, I will pray.

      • joepote01

        Praying for you, this morning, Marah!

    • Marah, I get that. Abusers do that kind of thing to us, don’t they? The take what is biblical truth and twist it to hurt us. To hurt us — and to take the heat off them. So your abuser was doing that. Since that sentence stings you because of him saying it, I suggest you pass it right up to God who can undo that knot in time. I shall pray for that sting to be taken away from your mind.

    • Katherine

      Marah, I felt a sting on that comment too. :-/

      My fault was being naive and not understanding the truth of God’s word that led me to believe all the lies that kept me in confusion and thinking I was to blame for his sins.

      As a Christian we always have something to work on. As it says if we say we don’t have sin the truth isn’t in us. But in the context of this post and thinking of our marriages….yeah, hard to swallow that one. I have always seen my faults pretty blaring in front of me. Lately, I’m seeing so clearly I’m not the problem. It hasn’t been my sin that’s sinking the ship.
      If I try to think about that comment being said or coming from a loving person I’d think I do have some changing to do so I repell the wolves and that my eyes are opened so wide to the truth that I can spot the abuser 10 miles away and that they NEVER catch me off guard ever ever ever again!

      • Marah

        That’s a really good way to think about it. I still struggle with worry that Christian people will take the sin leveling approach regarding my situation (because they will, at least some of them). You know, the “we all sin therefore you are both responsible for the state of your marriage” mindset.

        Even if I feel strong enough at any given moment not to internalize that message, I still feel the condemnation from that mindset, and it makes me angry. I’m barely getting through each moment, much less each day, and I feel like I can’t afford any additional stress.

        I like your idea.

      • joepote01

        Marah – Yes, some people will see your situation thru sin-leveling eyes…because they are blind…and blind people can’t see clearly.

        But God does see clearly. And God knows the difference between intentional repeated covenant-breaking injuries callously inflicted on a spouse in direct violation of covenant vows as compared to minor unintentional mistakes. The two are not even in the same ballpark, and God knows and understands the difference.

        Blessings to you, as you continue to grow in the strength and wisdom of our Lord!

  7. BeginHealing

    I love this post. I am taking the steps to cross the bridge and file. In the beginning the guilt over my desire to do this was overwhelming. This post and subsequent conversation are so affirming. I thank God regularly that I found this community a year ago and for the bloggers tell it like it is approach. You all are amazing. Helping me make my footsteps firm and to find my way out of the fog.

    • Brenda R

      BH,
      God will be with you every step of the way and I will continue to pray for you through this journey. ((((Hugs)))). I know how difficult this decision was for you. Been there, done that!!

    • joepote01

      BH, Our faithful God will guide and direct your steps. He is our Redeemer and Deliverer!

  8. Heather

    I haven’t shared anything from ACFJ on my a Facebook page but this article hit a home run for me! I took a deep breath and commented briefly before hitting the Share button. It was a huge risk. One person Liked it. I wanted to be able to shine a light on the experiences so many of us have faced.

    It was heartfelt and brilliant!

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