The Higher Road

February 4, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Posted in God's Love, Marriage, Questions for Pastor Glenn | Leave a comment

Yesterday the local news radio had an interview with Ted Haggard’s wife Gayle about her recent book Why I Stayed.  I appreciate her perspective, which I believe is consistent with God’s best for marriage.  I try to tell couples that staying together, even in situations where divorce is allowed biblically, is the best route to take.  The following is a letter I wrote once to a man who was pondering leaving his non-believing wife.  Maybe God can use it to minister to others.  Here is a link to the radio  interview.

             I appreciate the phone call the other day, as I was hoping to talk with you.  Though I haven’t experienced what you described, I now have a greater appreciation for what you’ve gone through in your marriage.  I know it hasn’t been easy, but I have confidence that you will do the best thing.

            I want to share perspective that you will probably not hear from anybody else, but please consider carefully what I say.  I believe the decision you make will impact your wife and kids in spiritual ways you’ve never considered.  I won’t make promises to that end, nor will I tell you I have all the right answers, but I want you to see a biblical perspective on marriage and what I believe is the highest road.  Notice I didn’t say the right road, because, in these complicated relational matters, there could be more than one choice that isn’t necessarily sinful.

            It has often been said that one’s understanding of God is determined in large part by how that person was treated by his/her father.  You admitted that your wife’s trouble trusting God now is probably related to that issue.  So her best chance to see a loving God could rest with you.  If she feels abandoned by you, that could further color her distrust of God and push her farther away than she is now.  If your kids, though already older, see your leaving as abandonment, and they will regardless of what they tell you about it, they could have a life-long misconception of God just like your wife.  However, God does not abandon his people.  He loves us regardless of how much we hurt him and turn against him.  I’m sure that is not easy, but that is God:  He loved us by sending his Son for us, even when we were his enemies.

            So here’s my proposal, and the reason I find divorce, even in cases where scripture allows it, a lesser option.  This, I believe, is the highest road.  If you were to go to your wife, explain that you’ve decided not to leave, simply because God doesn’t leave us – rather tell her that you’ve committed to love her to the end, no matter how she responds, because that’s how God treats us – then you will have given to her, and to your kids, the best picture of God that anyone could ever have:  God as unconditional love.  That’s the God I know, the God I worship, the God who loves us.

            I won’t tell you God will make that road easy.  It will be anything but easy; it may be even more difficult than what you’ve already been through.  But I will tell you that, if you determine to go that route, God will give you the grace to get through it.  And that when you do, your family will have seen God in ways they never will if you choose another path.  I know you’ve always wanted your family to know and worship God as you do.  So ponder this carefully.

            Finally, understand that my writing this does not mean I will turn against you if you choose a path other than the one I present here, even if you choose a path I think is wrong – that would be the ultimate hypocrisy!  God will love you regardless of what path you choose, and I will make that effort as well.

Trusting only in God’s grace, Pastor Glenn.  Gloria in excelsis Deo!

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