A colleague was recently working on her most recent book, Permission Granted: And Other Thoughts on Living Graciously Among Sinners & Saints, and asked if she could include a story about me. I said of course, and here it is below. Grateful for people who stand up for Truth and for each other.
Don’t Read the Comments
In a four-part series titled The Unraveling of a Christian Marriage, Elisabeth Klein shared humbly and vulnerably about the end of her marriage. Specifically, Klein answered three questions others had asked about her situation: Why did you stay in a hard marriage so long? How did you stay in a hard marriage so long? Why aren’t you staying forever?
Fortunately or unfortunately, Klein is not in possession of the get-out-of-marriage-free card that so many Christians demand from a woman or man who is divorcing: proof of an adulterous spouse. In an age when men were divorcing their wives for less grievous offenses, adultery, said Jesus, was the only legitimate reason to divorce (see Matt. 5:32). Unfortunately, this means that so many others suffering in emotionally and physically abusive marriages who either choose divorce or are dealt it have gotten the icy cold shoulder from the Religious. Though those who shamelessly left these comments for Klein did so publicly, their names aren’t important here. One woman, JPM, who wanted to make sure that Klein knew how dead wrong she was for divorcing her husband, explained her concern this way: If I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, if I love my neighbors as myself, I must love them enough to share with them The Truth.
I suddenly couldn’t help but notice how much the capital “T” in “Truth” looks like a hammer. JPM continues her rant: It would be unloving and wrong to leave them with anything else. And I must state again that it would also be wrong, when I know that God’s Word is being used incorrectly and out of context, for someone’s convenience, to sit idly by doing nothing. I care too much for God’s people, that is what motivates me. Because I doubt Klein experienced the breakup of her marriage and her family as “convenient,” I think I probably shouldn’t comment on how loving this is.
TGV, another commentator, offers: Every time I get upset, usually it is because I am too easily hurt and think too much of myself and become very selfish when things don’t work out “my way.” Though very loosely draped in first-person language, any reader knows what is actually being said is, “You are upset because you are too easily hurt and think too much of yourself and become very selfish when things don’t work out ‘your way.’ ”Yet Klein is no proponent of divorce. In her original post, among a list that includes such orthodox affirmations such as “I believe God created marriage as a covenant to last for the lifetime of the couple” and “I believe God would have wanted my marriage to be healthy and remain intact,” Klein also includes, “I believe the church is in place to protect and guide individuals and families in dark, confusing situations.”
Not so, says TGV: Disagree. The church is in place to bring Glory to God alone. Romans 15:6 tells us: The church exists so . . . “that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ultimately, this is the only reason for the church’s existence.
A male relative of TGV also gets in on the fun. Based only on the screen names given, it appears MMG is either a brother or an ex-husband. Let’s assume brother. He offers: Even if we are in a terrible relationship, we have not yet resisted to the point of shedding our blood in our fight against the temptation to leave.
Disagree. Though I don’t know the details of Klein’s story, the blood of many women—women reading this very blog post—actually has in fact been shed, in their marriages. Repeatedly, throughout the entire online discussion, people thinking correctly about God becomes an idol that is being lifted higher than God’s own love, grace, and mercy.
MMG continues to insist: The reason we all exist is to think correctly about God and to cause others to think correctly about Him as well. Wait—did God really create us so that we could think correctly about him and strong-arm others into the same? Is this truly why we exist? To think correctly about God?
One reader, in my opinion, did think correctly about God, when she posted this kind sentiment, “I am for you and so is God.” Please hear that this gracious affirmation could be spoken either by someone who agreed with Corcoran or someone who gently disagreed. MMG, though, actually disputes the assertion that God is for Elisabeth. He wonders . . . Is the above comment, “I am for you and so is God,” correct because you say it’s so, or because God says it’s so?
Since I find this transformational reality—that God is for us—on every single page of the Bible, it suddenly becomes inconceivable to me that MMG and I are both reading the same book and referencing the same God. MMG is literally arguing that God is not for Elisabeth Klein. Report as abuse.
copyright Margot Starbuck
I am so shocked that people can post such condemnation using the Bible as their tool. Jesus came for sinners and every single one of us falls into that category and he loves us regardless of the messes we make of our lives. He needn’t have come at all if we could possibly get to heaven on our own. He dwelt amongst the worst of his society and always showed grace, love and mercy. How dare anyone in the name of Christ have the presumption to judge another brother or sister. Unless you walk in someone else’s shoes you cannot know what they are going through and God is the only one who can judge. One should know the entire Bible before pulling out sections to use in judgement of others.
Why is it the church stands so firmly that the only grounds for divorce is adultery? What about the command that husbands love their wives as Christ loved the church? No, Christ didn’t go to Kay Jewelers or Jarrod’s on every Mother’s Day and Christmas. He loved the church (us!) enough to die for her. Dying for the church did not involve verbally beating her to a bloody pulp, leaving her feeling unworthy of love.
I can only assume that the persons who wield such judgment have never been asked to suffer in the way God trust you to suffer well. Their ignorance is blatant in their harsh and condemning words. What burden such person’s must carry to feel they must earn God’s approval.
Perhaps these are the reasons controlling and abusive spouses don’t stop and seek help for their behavior, they falsely believe their victims can’t and won’t leave. Controlling people love to trap their victims. Thanks to people like the above commenters, abusers will continue to destroy. God already made the ultimate sacrifice, the blood has already been shed, so His children could have life, to the full.