MDR: Pastoral implications (Conclusion)

Divorce is a very, very serious matter. Broken marriages injure not only the spouses but also the children, the congregation, and the community. The church therefore is morally compelled to work diligently to prevent divorce, or better yet, the problems that lead to divorce.

Older church members grew up in an age when divorce was rare and most parents had a pretty good sense of how to parent and most spouses knew how to be good spouses. We sometimes fail to realize how very much has been lost in the last two or three generations, as children have grown up in broken homes and never learned skills that were once commonplace.

Fortunately, God has a solution, and the solution is a church that is the church as God has called it to be. The church must be a community that lives by God’s values in contrast to the world’s. We have to fearlessly encourage one another to live better while tirelessly supporting one another as we struggle to make this happen.

When our fellow Christians slip and fall, we need to bend over and lift them up, dust them off, heal their wounds, and walk with them as they regain their balance and confidence. We need to teach our members to avoid relationships that lead to affairs, and we have to raise our children to have the courage to be Christian even when Christianity isn’t cool (or cute).

This all presupposes a church where relationships are real, intimate, and intense — a church where members actually care about each other.

Of course, the church’s leadership has to care deeply about such things. After all, to help people resist the popular culture and successfully live as Jesus has called us to do requires a group effort. These principles have to be reinforced from the pulpit and in the classroom. Congregational resources-money, volunteers, and such — must be directed at this problem. Of course, there are many other problems and needs that confront the church. But I think this is among the most important.

Churches are made up of families (including single adults as families, of course) who are bound by God into a greater, larger family. We are nothing but families. And when our families break, the church breaks. We can never do or be all that we are called to do and to be without strong, healthy, healed families. And therefore we must become a hospital for broken families as well as an academy for family-building.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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