I am concerned. My comments about marriage have wounded people I care deeply about. That was/is not my intent. Obviously, I have used words which communicate my passion for the subject and somehow those words have caused hurt. Please forgive me.
After several phone calls and emails I’ve come to understand that my second post came across as defensive which is exactly what I did not want. I take full responsibility.
With a great deal of trepidation, prayer for wisdom, and the counsel of others, allow me to attempt to bring as much clarity as possible to muddy water.
I apologize if I in anyway communicated that someone ought to stay in the same home as a violent, abusive spouse. Those situations are terribly destructive and the authorities ought to be contacted and safety achieved immediately. God does not expect a spouse to be in relationship where they or their children are in danger physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
I apologize for not properly and clearly defining the term “marriage” or making it clear that I am mostly writing to pastors and church leaders. If marriage is simply a legal contract between two people then, certainly, there is such a thing as a “bad” contract or marriage. Let’s face it, contracts are based on the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved and are motivated by self-centeredness rather than unconditional love.
However, as followers of Jesus, we enter into marriage as a life-long covenantal relationship between a husband, wife and God. Such a covenant is far more than a legal document. It is holy and goes beyond human legalities to the importance of God’s intent for mutual acceptance, obedience, and faithfulness. A covenant cannot be treated lightly.
Allow me to clarify even further: Even though a couple enters into marriage with the highest value for “holy matrimony” and God’s covenant and seek counsel when conflict and breakdown occur; sometimes the marriage still fails. God’s covenant may make a great difference for how one or both parties are able to manage a difficult situation, and yet still not be enough to preserve the marriage. It is frustrating to all concerned when couples enter into a covenant marriage with the best of intentions only to find, when their mutual brokenness interacts, the situation only grows worse. Sin is alive and flourishes in this broken, fallen world and the evil one is working overtime to destroy marriages and families. Especially among Christ-followers. (This is not an excuse; just a factual statement.)
I apologize for not being clear from the beginning that one of the frustrations which motivated me to write is I find too many Christians who think running to an attorney and seeking a divorce is the only option when things get tough. Even in the case of extremes like physical violence and abuse, shouldn’t every reasonable option for healing and reconciliation be explored before seeking a divorce?
I also apologize to my many friends and family members who have experienced the tragic pain of divorce. You are not “second class” Christians, and I in no way intended to communicate that kind of detestable attitude. I rejoice with many of you who have found healing and affirmation in a second marriage.
From all the responses, there is a lot more for us to talk about. I intend to do a better job in representing the unconditional love and grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ as we continue this exchange.