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Accepting Divorce Shows a Lack of Faith…Or Does It?

4 Myths about Divorce that Can Hurt Your Church – Part 4 of 4 in the Series

Accepting Divorce Shows a Lack of Faith | 4 Myths about Divorce that Can Hurt Your Church - Part 4 of 4 in the SeriesWe know God can do immeasurably more than we hope or imagine. We know it because we’ve lived it. So, when a person is facing divorce, our natural faith-driven instinct is to highlight this truth of the Christian faith. Because we know the power of God, we can be quick to assume that the person who is accepting divorce as their reality simply hasn’t given God time to work, or believed hard enough in God’s faithfulness.

You don’t have enough faith, we think or say.

And sometimes it’s true. Sometimes people need to be challenged to give more to their marriages and to believe more in God’s ability and willingness to work. These people need to trust more wholeheartedly in God’s timing, faithfulness, and power. They need to be still and wait.

We know that saving a marriage requires fighting for it. To save a marriage a couple needs faith in God and a determination to act to create a healthy union. Add to this knowledge our beliefs about the sanctity of marriage, and our knowledge of the devastation of divorce, and we may come to believe that if a person accepts divorce, he or she just doesn’t have enough faith.

But is this always the case?

I’ve worked with many Christians who have endured, believed, sacrificed, had extraordinary faith in God, and still found themselves facing divorce. Divorce wasn’t a product of their lack of faith. When fellow Christians told them to “have more faith,” it felt like a judgement rather than an encouragement. It suggests that this divorce wouldn’t be happening if you had more faith.

When a person has had tons of faith but their marriage fails, the explanation can often be found in how their mate is responding to, or failing to respond to God. The person’s mate may choose divorce or behave in a way that results in the divorce.

It’s true, faithful people can find themselves divorced. Generally, it is a difficult if not devastating experience. Many struggle with how to move forward with their lives.

For these Christians, accepting divorce doesn’t reflect a lack of faith.

Accepting divorce is the beginning of their healing. Accepting divorce allows them to let go of the past and begin to prayerfully rely on God to help them heal the deep wounds of divorce. It is a time to accept forgiveness and learn how to forgive. Accepting divorce at this point, claims the promise that God can indeed redeem a person’s life and bring beauty out of chaos.

For these people, accepting divorce is indeed an act of faith.

About the Author:

Renee Smith Ettline is founder of After Divorce Ministries, LLC, author of Peace after Divorce, and creator of the Peace after Divorce Workshop. Her Peace after Divorce Workshop group curriculum is offered throughout the US as well as overseas. To find out how to start a Peace after Divorce group ministry to your church, visit www.AfterDivorceMinistries.com.

4 Myths about Divorce that Can Hurt Your Church

There’s a good chance someone in your church has at least one belief that hinders your church’s ability to effectively minister to the divorced and divorcing. You may say, well not me! But, are you sure?

Divorce can be a hard topic for church leaders. We know that God hates divorce and that marriage is sacred. We also know that in His grace, God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Over the years since I founded After Divorce Ministries and created the Peace after Divorce Workshop, I’ve heard a lot of stories from divorced and divorcing people. It’s fairly common for people to share that their church leaders simply don’t know what to say, or how to help them, when it comes to divorce. And as hard as it is to believe, some have even included tales of how their church leadership or members made them feel rejected, unwelcomed, and like second-rate Christians.

In writing this series I want to help dispel some of the thoughts that are causing well-intended church people problems when it comes to ministering to those who are hurting from divorce. I believe that by becoming more aware we can significantly improve our ability to reach out to these hurting people with compassion and grace. We can offer them support instead of a sense of isolation, and we can help them find peace in a redeeming relationship with Christ.

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