A friend of mine got married to a very beautiful lady and then out of nowhere he started sleeping on couches at the church building and not ending up at home ever. Some of his closer colleagues started asking questions and suddenly he broke down. Him and his wife had grown apart and had decided to leave the marriage. A shock to the system. A couple who were so “in love” so committed had slowly broken apart. Our theology then translates that something is wrong here and more times than not we begin hunting out the blame so we can take sides. In a few situations like this that I have now seen, blame is largely placed on the woman – she was a skank, or uncommitted. And then the stories begin to get dangerous. We sympathize with the guy if she slept around on him, we get angry at the girl (or vice versa because men are just as skanky if not a whole bunch more) we take sides and by taking sides we breed even more dissension, even less commitment. We the community who at their wedding said – WE DO, are actually, at some stages, the sword that severs all ties..
I don’t understand divorce at all, I haven’t gotten so close that I would want to put a ring on it. I understand heart break enough to know I don’t ever want it again. But to become one and then to split that one in half must hurt. It must hurt a whole bunch. And I feel like do unto others means something much different, something much larger and more beautiful then “take sides”. But that said I don’t know. But it seems to me like when we are faced with things we don’t understand we err on the side of destruction, gracelessness, elitism. “You are wrong and we of course are right. We are not God, we don’t have a perfect truth in our heads but in our hearts”.
Could our reaction to not know, be unfiltered grace and hospitality. When my heart broke I didn’t need someone sitting me down and telling me how much a bitch she was. Because in my opinion she was still great. I didn’t need someone telling me the logical parts of how our relationship started off less than great. I didn’t need someone closing doors in my face or treating either of us like dirt. I needed and I received space. One of my good friends who kept me sane during those times would just sit me down and just let me talk. I explained what I was thinking, I explained why I was doing what and how I was doing it. She agreed most of the time and changed my thinking about a lot of things just by listening.
But you watched people on the sidelines that didn’t agree at all, or took sides, and there were threats of violence. There have been friendships destroyed that can’t be in the same room because of misinformation and misunderstanding.
Grace says that all of my friends should still love the woman I loved. Even if I don’t. I was put in a similar position with a good mate whose girlfriend slowly but surely became ‘the devil.’ She was very quickly ousted from at least the male side of our community, but I decided to chase the good in her. And I knew all the bad stuff. In amongst darkness God in us can or at least should be able to find light.
The other thing we seem to get really defensive with and lose all hospitality is gay people. Very few of the straight community really understand or choose to not understand what it could be like. How could they? As far as I understand it homosexuality is a completely different world view. But the church doesn’t ever seem to look into the back story. A pastor ends up leaving his wife for a man and the church is shocked. How could this be? He must be evil – completely forgetting all the good work this man has done. We have to fire him from his job. When we love God and love each other, we put a little side point in – ‘as long as its comfy and keeps our image clean’. And you still meet those people who profess to live and love alongside gay people, but they can’t be pastors. And ignoring my stance on pastors anyway – if God has made someone pastoral then they are clearly pastoral.
It’s a knifes edge right? To have someone professing a less than the best lifestyle whilst leading. But should our reaction really be instant sacking. Do we as the church community need to look back into our background with this individual? Do we need to do some business with God too? Do we have clean eyes of logs to throw stones?
Something I’ve been thinking about lately connecting to judgment is the conviction of the holy spirit. If a person has the holy spirit inside them can we not as brothers and sisters be on the sidelines cheering people on and praying for conviction. Because it isn’t necessarily anyone but the individual that needs conviction or revelation of Gods love in a situation like that.
Do we grade sins?
Do we let certain ones pass because they are easily hidden and only condemn the obvious ones?
Where do we get the arrogance to condemn anyone when the gates to life and death are in the hands of Christ?
Last time I checked my last name was still Randall.