Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

On Divorce and Friendship

I have more than one friend going through a divorce right now. Perhaps it is because I went through it thirty years ago, or more likely it is just that I try hard to listen, but I mourn for my friends and yet I encourage them too. Divorce is an awful course, and it is very sad when two people who once looked so hopeful into their future together finally say the pain is greater than the hope and we must stop.

I expect that nowadays there are some people who enter into marriage lightly -- optimistic for the future but not thoughtful enough or aware enough of the hardships to come. But many, many people enter into marriage for life and it turns out for one or both of them to be a 'life sentence'. For those, I think divorce may well be the only option. I have not come to this conclusion lightly.

I am writing as a follower of Christ. I believe Jesus, though advising against divorce, grieves more the abused woman's case than a broken marriage. If a partner is violent, addicted, or willfully abusive habitually and is unrepentant or does not wish to change, I cannot believe that Christ would have us stick to the letter of the law when the spirit of the marriage is broken. If he wanted the letter of the law, surely he would have condemned 'the woman caught in adultery.'

I also believe that this time in the Church's history is a most challenging one. We are called to exhort one another and to love one another at a time when society is dancing to the tune of self-centered hedonism; the world seems to condone many actions that are not Biblical. How should an observing believer then, approach a sister or brother disillusioned with marriage and broken in spirit? To come along side another who is grieving the breakdown of a marriage may be a difficult thing for some who believe there is no room for divorce, but 'if we are as a clanging symbol and have not love we are nothing.'

Marriage is a partnership. What if one partner categorically refuses to make an effort? Do you think Jesus didn't know he created a conundrum when he said there is no room for divorce except in the case of adultery? But was he referring to both women and men, or only to men? It was, after all, a male dominated society.

At the heart of everything Jesus taught is one word: Love. Love and marriage are ALWAYS worth saving. But if one partner is abusive or unwilling to take equal responsibility for the marriage, would Jesus say the other must love alone? "Greater love has no man than this: to lay down one's life for his friend." If each in a marriage cannot or will not lay down his life for the other, then I personally do not believe the other should live for the rest of his/her life condemned to a loveless relationship. I do not believe that is what Jesus taught and those who seek to enforce this miss the heart of the gospel.

Jesus came to set us free from sin and death. Abusive relationships are both emotionally and literally deadly. While I do not condone divorce, I do not think it loving to condemn those who feel they must enter into it. Rather, I believe we are called to love one another and in the name of love, I seek to encourage us to do that wholeheartedly and without condemnation toward one another.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and theology on this issue. Please will you offer your insights as you feel led to share?

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