Last night I attended our new small group, by myself. It was really weird to go without Jason and I was pretty nervous about it. Jason is obviously the "talker" of our family- I think he would talk to a wall if he had something interesting to say! Now before you start saying how I am equally talkative (because you would be RIGHT!), remember that I am not usually that talkative on first encounters. For whatever reason, I get high levels of anxiety thinking about meeting new people, even though I LOVE making new friends. What is up with that??
Anyway, the evening was great, of course! Skyline (our new church) does a great job of welcoming any and everyone- we are all family. Their small groups are set up to dive deeper into each week's sermon and our group has a wide variety of ages, spiritual maturity, life stages, etc. Honestly, I think it is a *great* way to do it. We can all help each other grow and learn- we don't all have to be "20-somethings" to study together. Everyone was very friendly and even though I struggled with making small talk (probably my worst and lowest ability...), it went very well.
We are going through a Man vs. Wife series right now at church and this was the first week's topic: Divorce. Talk about going straight for the jugular. It was pretty refreshing to hear our pastor speak candidly and boldly about this topic, while still remaining sensitive and compassionate. While he made it very clear what the Bible says about divorce, he never pointed a finger of blame or made anyone feel judged. I really liked that. As a person who grew up in a broken home, I know first hand the pain divorce causes an entire family. I also know that many people in churches still have very strong feelings about divorce- and tend to take those feelings out on any divorced person. No, I am not saying that everyone is that way. But I do have personal experience with more than a few people who treated my mother differently because she was divorced.
I think it is important for us all to remember that our marriages are worth FIGHTING FOR. That divorce must be taken seriously- not trivialized as it is in almost any modern TV show or movie. But, divorce will happen. We may not know all the back story in a person's life that lead to their divorce- was their spouse unfaithful? Did their spouse just want out despite every effort on their part? Was their spouse abusive, verbally or physically? Did they just decide to stop trying? No matter what the reason may be, no one is outside the Grace of God.
It is also not our place to pass judgement on someone because their sin is in the public's eye. Yes, God Detests Divorce. But He also Hates Sin. Why does the fact that I am still married (but have other sins I struggle with daily) make me better than someone who is divorced? It doesn't. I can just more easily hide my struggles, while anyone going through a divorce is automatically going through it in front of everyone. You can't hide those wounds. One thing Pastor Lance said on Sunday that has stuck with me and was repeated again last night- God never wastes a wound.
He can use even our darkest hurts for His Glory- if we are willing to let Him.