This is part 4 in a multi-part blog series about being ashamed, embarrassed, or accused by your past. Learning to accept God's grace and trust Jesus to change us as we follow Him.
If you missed any of the first posts in this series you can find them here:
Last week I pulled back the curtain and let people see behind the scenes in my story. As a Christian pastor people tend to put you on a pedestal. People often make lots of assumptions about pastors in general. They compare their story to the bits and pieces they see of your story. I wanted to be vulnerable, real, and transparent to help people realize we all have a past. We all have "stuff". And rather than let the mistakes, heartaches, and sins from our past define us, let's lean into God and follow Jesus to a better future.
I was blessed with so many people reaching out on social media, email, and chatting to share how the things I wrote touched them and encouraged them. Others were inspired to share their story with me which is such an honor. But not everyone had kind words to say. There were many who took to the threads and chats to share how they believed I was in the wrong for being remarried. How, in fact, all Christians are wrong to divorce. They rattle off their comments, blend in a Bible verse or two, and make their statements with a sense of conviction that leaves no room for the possibility that they could be wrong. Others admitted their ignorance on the topic and expressed a genuine interest in what the Bible says about divorce.
the church has often caused great harm with the advice it's doled out about divorce and remarriage.
People have been told to stay in their marriages essentially no matter what. Women have been raped and abused and had to sit across from their abusive husbands in church offices only to hear the pastor advise them to stay because there has been no adultery. Spouses have been divorced even after they tried everything they knew to save the marriage. After the divorce, they've been told that they cannot remarry or else they will be committing adultery in their marriage since there were no biblical grounds for the previous divorce. Often, women have been told or "encouraged" to give their husbands more sex only to discover that doesn't remedy their deep-seated problems.
Far too often, divorce becomes an unpardonable sin in the church.
So the divorced Christian sits condemned and told they can't remarry. Like a little child in trouble that is told to go sit in the corner and think about what they've done. Only these "little children" don't ever really get to leave the corner or stop being reminded about what they've done. Meanwhile, in so many of these same churches, they listen and celebrate the testimonies of people who have come out of a life of drug or alcohol addiction and chose to follow Jesus. So the divorced person sits in the church and thinks to themselves, "why do we clap when they share their story and talk about how they are following Jesus, but people look away or worse yet, look down on me? I went through the hard stuff. I wasn't always perfect but I've tried to follow Jesus, I've asked for forgiveness and I am following Him now, closer than I ever have...but nobody invites me to share my story"
No sin is beyond the reach of God's grace.
Any sin that is repented of and offered to God for pardon will be forgiven by the limitless effectiveness of Jesus' blood. Fornication, child molestation, rape, sodomy, bestiality, polygamy - all may be forgiven. And adultery is no greater sin than these, nor is it beyond the power of God to forgive. We would be wise to recall Paul's words to the church in Corinth when he said, "Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers - none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor 6:9c-11)
MORE TO COME ON THIS IMPORTANT TOPIC LATER
We plan to do a video series and accompanying study to help anyone who wants to learn and understand Jesus & the Bible regarding divorce and remarriage.
If you have been divorced or remarried and felt like the church hurt rather than helped we would like to hear your story. By hearing your stories we can better address the problems and misunderstandings surrounding divorce and remarriage in the church. Sharing your story may help others avoid some of the trauma and pain you experienced.
IF YOU HAVE A STORY TO SHARE PLEASE EMAIL US: Info@jointhejourneychurch.com
REMARRIED & REDEEMED
One of the most incredible blessings of my life has been meeting, falling in love with, and marrying my wife Kaila. The whole experience affirmed God's grace in my life like never before. And rather than try and tell you our story, I'd like to invite you to watch it.
If you're a sucker for a great love story then I think you're going to love ours!
Next week I'll share more about the ministry we've launched and the incredible Jesus Journey we're on. Then, in the weeks to come, Kaila will be blogging and sharing her story. God is so so so good my friends.