Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I Think You Should Leave

My friend was going through a very difficult divorce - not that every divorce isn't difficult. It certainly wasn't something she desired, and the breakdown of her marriage was devastating.

My friend had raised her kids in the church, and the whole family had been members of a particular congregation for many years.

One day she got a call from her long-time pastor. He said, "Now that you and your husband are getting a divorce, we think it's better that one of you leave. We think it should be you."

Divorcing couples go to court to decide who gets custody of kids, dogs, furniture, goldfish - even friends. Shouldn't the decision to stay or leave a church family be left up to the husband and wife as well?

What are pastors thinking when they do this? Seriously. I'd love to know. What Biblical truth or standard do they use when they do this kind of thing? It's bad enough that children have to walk through the dissolution of their family, but now they have to choose whether to stay at Dad's church, or go someplace new with mom?

Kids are watching you pastors. They're watching and listening. How can you preach grace from the pulpit, but fail to show grace to a hurting part of the body? I'm guessing my friend needed her church family to put their arms around her and hold her hand during the rough waters of divorce. Why would you push her out of the boat without so much as a flotation device?

I think we should keep the broken and hurting as close to us as possible. They need us to pray for them, love them, and be intimately aware of their needs. We need to be part of the healing - not part of the pain.

Get off the pew of judgment, and extend the hand of grace and love.

Get off the pew!