I recently came across a video on Instagram posted by a lady. The caption in the video was “Here’re the church members that supported me through my divorce”.
The video showed only her smiling the whole time, which was to mean that there was no support from her church members through her divorce.
The caption and comments went on to backlash the church and highlight all the things that make the church a “religious” gathering rather than a place where people “can find love and acceptance”.
I don’t know, but that didn’t sit right with me.
It sometimes feels like everybody thinks they reserve a right to put a label on the church; Tell the church it’s do’s and don’ts and tell it its extent to travel in terms of responsibilities. It’s funny for me because when the same church demands same level of compliance and responsibility from the members, then it begins to be labelled as “rigid” or “judgemental” or “religious”.
I can’t speak for the members of the church who didn’t help this lady but I can assume that for a number of them, it was more fear of supporting someone in their way that held them back, rather than a desire to see her walk that path alone.
The church should actually never stand in doctrines that Jesus opposed in His word and here again poses the popular statement to “love the sinner but hate the sin”.
Divorce technically isn’t even a sin, but for lack of another popular blanket to use, I’ve used that statement. The bible just tells us that from Jesus perspective, He hates it and divorce wasn’t suppose to be an option, and only became one because of the hardness of their hearts as at the time.
I think it’s completely fair for the church to uphold and stand for the doctrine of Jesus. The question now becomes “do we stand for the doctrine at the expense of a soul?”
I’m not sure I can answer that entirely for all situations because there are two doctrines here. While Jesus said if you love me, you’ll keep my commandments, We also see Him leave the 99 in search of the lost 1.
It’s often very hard to understand and advise situations without full contexts as is the case in this Instagram post, but what I strongly feel is that the church or its members shouldn’t be blamed for choosing to uphold what they believe is Gods standard, even if everyone might not understand it.
The lost sheep Jesus went in search for couldn’t have built resentment towards the 99 sheep who chose to remain together for fear of getting lost themselves rather than go after it.
Am I saying that divorcees should be cast away from the church and given no help and support? Definitely not.
But what I’m saying is that we must hold the church to all the standards of Christ and not just the standard that favours us and our situation, it’s a bit deceitful if we want to be honest.
If I was a member in that church, my approach would’ve been to have a sit down with the member, hear her out, tell her what Gods word says while offering her comfort, ask her what God is saying to her and give her time to pray and think deeper about it.
Obviously pending the gravity of the reasons behind the divorce, she might have to be physically separated from her partner and in such cases, I do believe the church has a responsibility there, but if after counsel and prayer, said person insists on a divorce, then the person must be left to do what they want, without also telling the church how to react or treat them, especially when the resolution is contrary to the counsel of the church.
I think the church stands as a beacon of truth and light in our world and we should always check our hearts to make sure we are not judging the church by the standards of the world, rather than by the standards of Christ.
I’m convinced that sometimes, even despite choosing loves way, you’ll still be the villain, and with God being the judge, honestly, that’s okay.
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