Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rhonda Gets A Divorce

Several years ago I sang in the choir with Rhonda. She had an amazing voice, a good heart, and was just as beautiful on the outside as she was on the inside.

One day Rhonda shocked everyone when she left her husband. She immediately became rich fodder for the gossipmongers. Everyone had an opinion about Rhonda and her husband. People took sides and the battle began.

Rhonda auditioned for a part in a musical at the local community theatre. That’s when the tongue wagging really got out of control. Rhonda was “living in sin” and she was clearly a “girl gone wild”. The choir director kicked her out of the choir and she left the church filled with sadness and loneliness.

A few months later I was home alone when there was a knock at my door. It was Rhonda’s husband. He had no idea I lived in the house. He was a contractor who was going door-to-door leaving flyers in an attempt to solicit business. When he saw me he immediately opened his heart.

“I’m very sad about the way Rhonda’s been treated at the church.” He sounded so genuine. His words surprised me. Wasn’t he the victim? Hadn’t his wife walked out on him?

He continued. “It wasn’t easy being married to me. I moved Rhonda from town to town and state to state every six months or so. I oppressed her and never gave her an opportunity to explore her unique talents. I always made the marriage about me.”

I was overwhelmed with a sense of guilt. I had listened to the gossip and I had participated in the harsh judgmental criticisms. I had assumed that Rhonda was being selfish.

Rhonda’s husband stood before me—he wasn’t playing the victim, but rather he was taking responsibility for the part he played in the destruction of his marriage. The fact that his wife had been the subject of unfair gossip and had been abandoned by her church broke his heart.

I’ve seen Rhonda several times over the years and I always go out of my way to listen—really listen to her words and her heart. She has shared her brokenness, her anger, her disappointment, and her loneliness. She has always thanked me for my kindness.

I saw my friend Rhonda last night. She is doing great. All the people who decided she was a woman scorned and therefore no longer worthy of their love and friendship—they are the losers. They’ve missed out on the friendship of a wonderful woman. They’ve missed out on seeing new growth come out of ashes.

Do you know a “Rhonda”? Yes, God hates divorce, but he loves His kids. I believe that our gossip and judgmental assumptions are responsible for putting the final nail in some of the marital coffins. It’s hard to see a reason to stay married to someone that everyone around you says is a horrible person.

We’ve got to STOP being meddling scandalmongers. If you know a couple whose marriage is falling apart please love them. As difficult as it is, I encourage you to not take sides, but rather to show both of them equal kindness.

Now go…get off the pew!

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