She sat in my office and cried. She cried tears of rage, disappointment, and a broken heart. Her family was falling apart all around her and there was nothing she could do. She wasn’t the problem or the reason for this but felt like she was. She bore the brunt of emotional outbursts from parents who were struggling to keep it together. Bad decisions on their part had brought this family to its grave and the kids were the ones that paid the price.
It is not an unfamiliar story in this country. Estimations are as high as 50% of all marriages end in divorce and that number is virtually no different for Christians. As a student minister I deal with this issue on a daily basis. Whether it be a family that has divorced, headed for one or that is just dysfunctional, I counsel teens and tweens on this weekly. The family is under attack and we are failing to address it.
God created two institutions to tell His story to the world; the family and the church. The two cannot exist without the other. And for far too long we have allowed the church to take away the role of the parents as the primary source of Biblical teaching. For far too long parents have sat back and watched the church teach their kids and not been involved. It’s time for us to partner together and really engage families’ right where they are.
There is a common thread that runs through many of these families that are falling apart in the church. That thread is a lack of Biblical understanding. They don’t know God’s word therefore they don’t really follow God’s word.
Matthew 19:4-6 clearly states that no man should separate what God has joined together and Mark 10: 2-12 are some of the harder teachings about what happens when there is a divorce and remarriage for the wrong reasons. I’m not saying that ALL divorce is wrong, but I am repeating and rephrasing Christ’s words when I say that almost all divorce is wrong.
How many people would be willing to really trust in Christ and follow His words when the entire world says to run? How many Christian understand what Jesus is saying about life and how we are called to live? How many of us really put our life in Christ’s hands and let go of everything? As followers we have to ask ourselves some tough questions and then apply those tough answers to our lives. We have to partner with these families in crisis to show them Christ’s healing love and power.
Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us…” Either we believe that or we don’t.
His words are hard. His teachings grate and irritate. He calls us to more than we can do on our own. It’s time for us to really begin to disciple people in His word and then live it- even when it’s hard.