Originally Published by: THE CHRISTIAN POST
By Brian H. Fontaine | Sun 11 Mar 2018 10:03 EDT
Strife, infidelity, and divorce are not uncommon even among those who profess to be Christians. According to Professor Bradley Wright in his book Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites … and Other Lies You’ve Been Told, of those who attend church regularly, 38 percent have been divorced. Although this is lower than the national average it points to the fact that Christians are not immune to marriage trouble.
To far too many the pain of a broken marriage, infidelity, or divorce is very real. Although Christ came to set us free from the power of sin we still live in a fallen world and are susceptible to the works of the flesh. The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 5:19-21a, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these.” Many of our homes are not void of these poisons. How many marriages have been sacrificed on the altar of jealousy? How many families have been destroyed by uncontrolled anger? How many couples have been torn apart due to sexual immorality? How many homes were broken by drunkenness?
The good news for us today is there is hope, healing, and a future. Several years ago I officiated a wedding for a couple at our church. The husband had an interesting hobby. He flew remote control airplanes. He enjoyed going out to the RC airstrip to fly his plains and watch as other hobbyist flew theirs. He explained that it can be an expensive hobby and that a lot of people get discouraged because they can spend hundreds on an airplane only to crash it on its maiden voyage. He also told of the wise old men that would hang out at the airstrip. They would happily take home the broken pieces of crashed airplanes that had been discarded by newbie piolets. The old men knew how to make beautiful new aircraft out of all of the broken pieces. The Lord is a lot like those old men. He knows how to make beautiful things out of the broken pieces of our lives much like an artist takes broken and sometimes shattered glass and fashions together a stained-glass masterpiece.
Like those in broken marriages, Jesus was all too familiar with the pain of being misunderstood, abandoned and betrayed by those He loved. He suffered alone in the Garden of Gethsemane as His friends fell asleep, unaware of His pain. He suffered alone as He was tried and then beaten and whipped. Christ alone died on the cross for the whole of mankind and was placed in a tomb all by Himself. In the Bible Luke recorded, “But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus,” Luke 24:1-3 (ESV). Angles appeared to the woman saying, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”
Jesus suffered greatly. There is no way we can minimize the pain he felt. Yet, by the resurrection power of God the Holy Spirit Christ rose again from the grave. He exchanged His death for life, His pain for promise, and His shame for glory! The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 6:4b, “Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” There is hope! Yes the enemy comes into our lives, our marriages, and our families only to steal, kill and destroy but Christ came that we might truly, literally have an abundant life. I believe God is more than able, and is in fact longing to pick up the pieces of your life right where you are and begin to make something new and wonderful.
Are you in the midst of a broken marriage? Are you the victim of infidelity or have you yourself been unfaithful in your marriage? For healing to begin we must combat these five lies.
#1 Lie: I can do this on my own.
The truth is that the enemy uses this lie to lead us to and keep us in our brokenness. We were never created to go through life alone. We were in fact created to, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” Galatians 6:2 (ESV). Let others in. Seek help from your pastor or Christian counselor. Find a support group or Bible study where you can learn and grow together. Healing doesn’t happen in isolation. Humble yourself enough to allow others to walk this journey with you.
#2 Lie: My mess is beyond healing.
The truth is that strife and infidelity are not always a death sentence to a marriage and even divorce is not a death sentence to a believer. The Profit Isaiah wrote, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,” Isaiah 59:1 (ESV). You are never outside of the presence, potential or power of God. I know a couple who not only survived over a decade of infidelity they have grown to become one of the most rock solid examples of a Christian marriage I’ve seen. There are countless others who have gone through the agony of divorce whom God lovingly picked up and place back on their feet to find a renewal of the supernatural love, joy and peace of God by the power of God the Holy Spirit.
#3 Lie: God will never forgive me.
The truth is that God does not overlook, brush aside or otherwise wink at sin. God is perfect holiness. Timothy richly describes Him this way, “He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see,” 1 Timothy 6:14-16 (ESV). This holy, sovereign, immortal King lives in unapproachable light! Sin has no place before Him. There is but one power in heaven strong enough to deliver us from the assured sentence of death that our sins require. There is but one power in heaven strong enough to wash us clean from the filth of our sin and present us holy, new and acceptable before the one true, great, and awesome King of kings, and Lord of lords, God Almighty. This one power is the shed blood of Jesus applied to our hearts by God the Holy Spirt! Make no mistake. We are all deserving of death, eternal separation from the living, and most holy God. Yet by the work of His matchless, amazing grace He forgives. By the work of His mercy He gives pardon. Sin is ugly and sometimes consequences of the choices we have made are saver and long lasting. Still as the modern song says of the love of God, “His love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.” 1 John 1:8-9 states, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We are not always faithful, but thanks be to God that He is faithful and just, and forgives us of our sins!
#4 Lie: I just have to wait for God to change my spouse.
The truth is that you must willingly participate with God to do your part to be the person God created you to be. Times of trials offer wonderful opportunity for self-reflection. The Bible tells us that, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him,” 2 Chronicles16:9 (ESV). I love the picture here of God searching diligently throughout the whole earth looking for those whose hearts are completely His, who are fully devoted to His purpose, and plans. When He finds them He becomes to them an anchor in the fiercest storm. We love the idea of God being our anchor in the storm, our strong tower in the face of our enemies, and our shelter in the storm. Yet God’s promise is for those whose heart is blameless toward Him. Too often we wait around for God to change others wholly unaware of the work God has yet to do in us before we can fully realize His amazing promises.
#5 Lie: There is no future for me.
The truth is that God knew the choices that you and your spouse would make before time began. As the Psalmist said, all the days ordained for you were written in His book before one of them came to be. God still has a plan for you as He did for Jeremiah, it is a plan to prosper you and not to harm you, it is a plan for a future and a hope!
Let me leave you with a final thought. Jesus taught a kind of, “Day by day,” principal by which to live. In the famous Sermon on the Mount He taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” In other words we might pray, “God give me today what I need today to get through today.” Later on in the same sermon Jesus said, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” The NLT simply puts the verse this way, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” If you are a child of God struggling with strife, infidelity, or divorce I’d like to encourage you to live life a day at a time. Each day make it your aim to live not according to your flesh, which is your natural instincts, but by to the will of God, according to the Word of God, through the power and direction of God the Holy Spirit. As the Apostle Paul encouraged us in Galatians 5:16-17, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”