May 292013 1 Response

How to Respond to a Culture of Broken Marriages

The brokenness is so much, we can overestimate it.

Someone says 50% of all marriages end in divorce so we believe it.

Of course it’s not completely true. There might be half the number of divorces in a given year as there are marriages, but if you get married your odds are not simply a coin flip.

Statistics can be easily manipulated. Put me beside someone who has been married and divorced 5 times and between us we will average three marriages.

The average divorce rate isn’t 50%, but it is high. And every one of us has been affected by divorce in some way.

The question is: how do we respond to a culture of broken marriages?

The answer is: we mourn it.

We grieve over the brokenness and loss. We hurt for people who go through it. We weep for the parents and the children.

Just as we treat death, we should treat divorce.

But why?

Why should we mourn the broken marriages around us? Because what we don’t mourn, we judge.

Judgment is born from a lack of empathy. It flows from a lack of compassion. Whenever we don’t feel for those who hurt, we judge them.

We assume ourselves better than them. We separate ourselves from them, believing we could never do what they have done. We overestimate ourselves and underestimate them. Where mercy is absent, judgment flows.

And what we judge, we become. It’s a cruel twist of fate.

As a pastor, I’ve seen it far too often. I regularly tell couples who are going through difficult times, watch the people who judge you the most and wait. Give it some time and eventually you will see them go through something very similar.

I’m not sure why it happens, but it is a clear pattern. Those who judge the harshest most often fall for the same sin which they judge.

It could be an act of coverup. It’s possible their judgment is a sign they are already involved in the sin and they are trying to direct attention away from themselves.

Or it could be that their arrogance which leads to judgment is the same arrogance which prevents them from doing the work necessary to protect themselves.

Either way there is a clear pattern: we become what we judge.

Brokenness is all around us. Our culture overflows with marriages which are broken or breaking.

Our only appropriate response to the brokenness is mourning. Doing so gives us empathy for the hurting and humility within our own marriage

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

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