“I can’t tell you what is right or wrong for your life.
That is between you and God.”
I was almost disappointed by those words, spoken to me by a Christian counselor after my first meeting with her. The previous hour had been spent with my now ex-husband and myself. After a very brief separation, I had decided to tell my husband that I wanted to get divorced. I also wanted an unattached third party to be present as a witness, to make sure I could get through what I needed to say in a safe place (emotionally).
I spent some time with the counselor alone after our hour together was finished. She made other comments and asked other questions, but the comment above is what I remember the most. After living in a struggling relationship for many years, I had no hope left for renewal. I had no hope of any change taking place. I had no hope for reconciliation. My heart had been broken too many times and my hope had been extinguished.
In an effort to justify my choice, I wanted the counselor to side with me. I wanted to hear that my decision was not wrong, or at least that it was not for the wrong reasons. I wanted confirmation that I had tried the appropriate number of interventions and was now free to let go of a dead relationship. I wanted to hear, “It’s OK, you can get divorced now.”
But to be honest, I think we already were divorced – we just didn’t have the legal paper.
When a marriage contains falsehoods, secrets, sexual immorality, fantasies (ones about how real life works), selfishness and brokenness, is it really a marriage? Isn’t marriage a covenant between two people – one that includes faithfulness and love? And so, in the midst of continued faithlessness and withholding of love, with no desire for repentance or effort to change, can a relationship really be called a marriage? Or is it perhaps just a remnant of what could have been? Tattered threads from the beginnings of a life together, that never made it beyond the immaturity of newlyweds.
Thankfully, there is hope in God. He can restore broken marriages and broken hearts. Sadly, my story does have the pain of divorce woven into it. But He has given me a new life and a new marriage.
I believe that the Holy Spirit cried many tears of sadness along with me during my first marriage, and especially when it ended. But I also received His grace and forgiveness. We all have pain and brokenness in our lives. It is the curse of being human and living in a fallen world. And quite honestly, it sucks! But I am rejoicing today that God has healed my scars and restored my hope!
I was reminded of my counselor’s words today while chatting with a friend regarding judgement from other Christians related to divorce and remarriage. The Bible does address divorce, adultery, immorality, and many other difficult topics, including judging others (and sharing Truth with others). We all have sin in our lives. And yes, some sins have different earthly consequences than others. It is my desire to live a life that is sanctified by God, knowing that He has sent a redeemer to stand up for me on the final judgement day. And that day is when God will judge me, not man.