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Tuesday: Sustaining Families Through Seasons of Change — 7 Comments

  1. Of all the traumas that a family can face in the modern world, none is more devastating than divorce and I am rather surprised that in a lesson series largely centered on family relationships, it has not even rated a mention. Perhaps we have such a heavenly view of marriage we find it particularly difficult to discuss managing families after a breakup.

    In an imperfect world, unfortunately, family breakups are a fact of life, even in the church. Christianity is not just about having perfect marriages, but about how we should live when things go seriously wrong. I think it is important to consider the function of the family after divorce because it typically affects the children badly. Divorce is not their fault, and yet they are often left struggling with feelings of guilt and inadequacy and a sense of loss that is not addressed.

    There are three situations that I would like to briefly mention, mainly because I see them so often:

    Using Children as Bargaining Chips

    All too often children are used as bargaining tools for divorced partners trying to manipulate what they want out of the breakup. Such bargaining often makes lawyers very rich. I knew of one family, where a child, wanting to go on a school excursion required 4 lawyers letters between the divorced couple before permission from both parents was given. Children are not a commodity to be bargained with. They are yours, even if you and your partner break up.

    Children Manipulating their Parents:

    Sadly some children seize the opportunity to play divorced parents off against one another. For example, A child refuses to visit their father until he provides them with an Xbox at his house when they stay with him. It is particularly important that you remain on the same page as parents to ensure that your children receive the appropriate discipline.

    Issues with Blended Families:

    Typically people who divorce, remarry, often to someone else who already has a family. Then there is the issue of treating all members of the family equally. Sadly I have seen far too many situations where a new partner makes the situation difficult for the part of the family that is not theirs.

    In a short comment like this, I can only brush the surface of the problems that divorce and remarriage cause for children. As an educator, I have often had to deal with students whose family life has undergone the change and trauma of divorce. The circumstances are not pretty, and there is a real need to address the issue of caring for children in divorced situations. Sadly we seldom include in our church discussions the issues of dealing with the real world of marriage breakups. It is almost as though we expect divorced people to leave the church (which is often a self-fulfilling prophecy). We should remind ourselves that our church community is really a hospital for the healing of the wounded and should be a place of refuge for those who have gone through the trauma of divorce.

    • Unfortunately it is not just a self fulfilled prophecy! From experience I know it is a requirement for a divorced family to leave the church! My children were told they're from divorced family and don't belong in a church school or church! They still don't attend thirty years later! The church's attitude and compassion needs the adjustment in many cases! Yes, I agree divorce is not right. But it is not worse then gossip, back biting or lack of compassion!

      • I’m sorry that happened to you and your family. I agree divorce is not a reason for people to shun you. Unfortunately the children suffer more than we know. My mother was brought before the board of elders to explain why she had been divorced. They were going to disfellowship her! This was not a small, backwoods church, but Loma Linda University church! I didn’t go back to church for a long time. Thankfully I found my way home.

    • Maurice, you have touched on a subject that the church finds difficult to handle, that being there is only the ideal family that exists, and anything or change outside of that seems to be put in “the too hard basket”. Until the church realises/accepts it is the place for sinners, not just for “saints”, there will always be those who will go elsewhere for healing/ understanding/acceptance.
      Welcome back after your break. Always appreciate your insights on each subject. May God continue to be with you and bless you.

      • Thank you Jo.

        The issue of how we often disenfranchise divorced people from the church is a vexing one and highlights the need for us to seriously think about how we can put compassion before condemnation.


    When Jacob moved to Shechem her only daughter Dinah wanted to be close to the city, though the city was ungodly.

    She was left to socialize unsupervised in a pagan town which was really dangerous and she was raped.

    Jacob refused to take action and an intermarriage with Canaanites was arranged.

    The Canaanites were very pleased to begin to marry into this family and the whole city was circumcised.

    But Simeon and Levi rescued Dinah and massacred the people of the city.

    This forced Jacob to move again. Reuben the first born slept with his father's wife and the brothers sold Joseph to Egypt.

    Judah through his Canaanite friend married a Canaanite woman. His two sons were evil and God killed them. Later Judah slept with his son's wife.

    If left in Canaan this family would have simply assimilated into the corrupt and godless people of Canaan.

    God brought the entire family of Jacob to Egypt among a racist people who would not intermarry or even mingle with them. Egypt believed that they came from gods and other people from lesser origins.

    It took this family 215 years to grow from 1 to 70, but in Egypt God multiplied them in 430 years they grew to over 2 million people.

    When they went back to Canaan, God commanded them to destroy all the Canaanites.

    Is the cure for worldliness a separation from it?

  3. Hi brothers Maurice and Cyrus. Thanks so much for your comments they are wonderful. God bless you all as we get on with the daily Bible study.


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