I was surprised that they [Christian friends] would turn away from me in my time of need when I was feeling scared and needed support to move out.
This message to me opened old wounds. It's been twenty years since I divorced my husband, and yet, I immediately felt this woman's pain. I'd had a similar unwelcome experience back then. Here's this readers' entire comment.
As I continue writing for divorced Christians, I sometimes ask myself why I'm spending so much energy trying to raise awareness about divorce issues in the Christian community. I've thought perhaps that by now the majority of Christians and their churches have finally realized that God does not condemn us to harmful circumstances like marriages that can't be repaired. Don't they know He wants what's best for us? That being abused is the opposite? My heart sank when I read this woman's words. I so wished I could hug her. I immediately thought, "What would Jesus do?" I believed I knew the answer: Jesus would hug her, and he'd tell her He understood, assuring her He was already walking beside her as she moved into an uncharted future.
Those folks who call themselves Christians but turn their backs on hurting people, remind me of the Matthew 7: 9-11 (NIV) passage. "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Unfortunately, and obviously from my new friend's experience, we divorced Christians are still begging for grace and mercy. We are being given stones instead by certain segments of the Christian community.
I've written several blog posts on this subject, the most comprehensive one is "My Perspective: What I Believe God Wants Us to Know About Christian Divorce." Having an intellectual understanding of this issue is helpful. However, I wanted my new friend to be comforted on a more personal emotional level. Here's what I felt the Lord wanted her to know:
Dear Hurting Christian,
If you are like my friend, and you've been hurt by your church and fellow Christians, I hope you'll come to understand they are not speaking for the Lord. I pray you seek out those who are mirror the Lord's love, and that you allow yourself to comforted by His care and provision.
Linda M. Kurth is a writer and a divorced and remarried Christian. In going through the divorce, she experienced a dichotomy of responses from the Christian community. After sharing some of those experiences in her upcoming memoir, God, the Devil, and Divorce, she's heard many stories of divorced Christians who have struggled with the same issues. This blog invites divorced Christians to tell their stories with the goal of encouraging churches to resist condemnation and become a source of healing and grace.
Do you have a divorce experience to share? Have you been shamed by a church because of your divorce? There are hurting people who need to hear your story, who need to know they are not alone, and who need to be encouraged. If you are interested in sharing your story, email Linda for guidelines: Linda@LindaMKurth.com
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