“Christian” Divorce? | Arden Hills, Minnesota

There are two very different things people may be seeking when they are looking for a Christian Divorce.  One that makes me extremely wary… and the other that can be a gift to all involved. As a former pastor I must be very discerning when people say they are looking for a Christian Divorce.  Why?

The DANGER of a “Christian” Divorce: misuse of religion and spiritual abuse.

Occasionally potential clients are looking for someone to provide them a Christian Divorce when they really want to use their interpretation of some Bible passage or religious concept in order to gain an advantage, to control their spouse, or to manipulate the outcome.  In worse case scenarios some religious people actually use their beliefs in abusive ways to punish or shame someone who is leaving them.  I will have NOTHING to do with any of these kinds of behavior.  As soon as I perceive any misuse of religion is likely to happen, I call it out.  If spiritual abuse is not immediately eliminated — I remove myself from the case.

The GIFT of a Christian Divorce:  Christ-like attitudes in the midst of difficulties.

My view of a true Christian divorce has to do with how the people treat each other during and following the proceedings.  Here are some of the observable signs:

  • When people acknowledge that they each played a role in the dysfunctional dance that led them to the brink of divorce…
  • When people determine to forgive the other for the shattered dreams as well as the hurtful words and actions that led them to this situation…
  • When people choose to prioritize the health and well-being of the children by not speaking ill of the other and by choosing a friendly businesslike manner when they are together…
  • When people practice peacemaking and extending grace to the other – AND to themselves…
  • When people seek to practice the fruit of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, meekness, and self-control…

Christ-like behavior during a divorce seems too good to be true.

Is this even possible?  Not perfectly, no.  No one is perfect.  But when two people work at forgiving, letting go, and behaving in healthy ways empowered by grace and strength from above…divorce proceedings do not need to be the final battles in an extended war.  Instead, a divorce mediation process that helps Christians make good, healthy decisions for their future can become the first healing steps toward a new and better life.

Sometimes the redeeming and renewing work of God starts by offering a clean slate loaded with new possibilities following the dissolution of a broken relationship.

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