I have plenty of friends who have encountered divorce. I have many more who chose to stay, even though it seemed inevitable, but they stayed. They were able to lean on a small number of friends that were aware of the situation, and to quietly deal with the brokenness of marriage- privately.
The news hit that the President of Proverbs 31 ministries, Lysa TerKeurst, is preparing for divorce as well. She publicly announced the details surrounding her own broken marriage and to share the news with the many women out there who follow her and Proverbs 31. What an impactful statement she made, transparent, authentic, and very, very raw. Given her place within our Christian community, I guess it was what she had to do.
We have demanded such transparency. Everything has become our business in this viral world we live in. Yet, Jane down the road quietly walked away from her marriage without much commotion, and if asked, she simply disregarded the questions, and shrugged them away. No public outcry screamed for Jane to ‘tell the truth!’- For sweet Jane, it is nobody’s business what her husband did, or for how many years.
However, take a ministry worldwide and become a voice of understanding for many around the world, a teacher to all, and things change. You have no privacy I guess- because people think they have some claim and ownership over your life. We so scrutinize those big names that we forget all about the plank in our own eye. That is where Jesus told us to focus, but we disregard what He said, because we think they owe us something.
The truth is, they don’t.
While I appreciate her willingness to be so forthcoming with her current situation, it was not necessary. I have already seen so many people responding in love and support, and be willing to share their personal journeys as well. Women all over the land wanting to let her know she is not alone, they have been through the same thing. What an outpouring of love.
Divorce is an everyday thing in the 21st century. Adultery is common, for both men and women. These issues are found in every church community, small group, and many pastor’s circles. Still, there are people afraid to come forward, to share their pain, for fear of rejection, ridicule, and judgement. Maybe Lysa will help, in some way, to remove the stigma. I can certainly hope.
So let’s be real here. Our hearts must remain open to the Lysa’s of the world and to the Jane’s of the world who live in the cul-de-sac down the street. Our arms should remain open wide for the well known, and never known. Our doors must remain open for the lost, the suffering, the bitter, and the broken. We do not get to stand in solidarity for the familiar faces, while turning our backs on the forgotten ones.
My friends, church is not a building we gather in. It is the family we are. A family commanded to increase! That increase comes from accepting those who enter new and continuing to love those who are already here.
I have been welcomed and pushed aside. I have found a family, and sometimes I feel like nothing more than the outcast- the ‘unwelcomed’ family member. If we can extend our love to someone most of us do not know intimately, please be reminded to share that love with someone you have the ability to hug every day.
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. John 13:34