Christian Walk, Church, Couseling, Divorce, Forgiveness, Healing and Reconciliation, Marriage

Zero Shades of Grey

zero

When defending my decision to divorce, one of the phrases I used often was, “The Bible is full of areas of grey.” It’s also a phrase I’ve heard others use since starting our marriage ministry. For me, it was a tactic to divert the attention away from myself and onto Tommy. I ascribed greyness in my pursuit of divorce, at the same time condemning Tommy for his past failures and defining them as black and white.

It was also a convenient way to shut down the conversation before it ever began, so I wouldn’t have to face the fact that I hadn’t done everything possible to make my marriage work. During our pause, I refused to attend Biblical couples counseling, neglected to talk with any pastors or church staff members, nor was I willing to allow God to help me forgive Tommy, although he was desperately seeking my forgiveness. I’ve found the majority of people that bring up areas of grey are those looking for loopholes in Scripture. Those wanting to justify their sin or provide a less guilty conscience for themselves tout the Bible as being foggy.

Reality was Tommy had been humbly broken before the Lord, submitting to the Holy Spirit and changed from the inside out. Although I saw clear evidence of God leading his life in the direction of holiness, I felt it was my right to condemn his sinful actions from the past. But, I had forgotten Romans 8:1: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus.” Instead of trying to guilt and shame my husband for his past behavior, I should have been seeking God and asking for His help to bring about reconciliation in my marriage.

Although I claimed to have forgiven Tommy, it was clear I had not by continually condemning him and bringing up his past transgressions . Forgiveness in my eyes meant saying a string of words (I forgive you), then proceeding with divorce. It looked like having a stranger knock on his apartment door unexpectedly to hand him a manila envelope followed by one simple phrase, “you have been served.” It was my push for divorce that left Tommy desperately heartbroken and confused at his front door that day trying to figure out how he could walk back inside and pretend like everything was okay in front of our boys.

Is that what forgiveness looks like to you? Is that the representation of Christ’s forgiveness in Scripture? True forgiveness was Jesus taking the sin of the world upon His shoulders, being beaten, bloody and bruised while hanging on the cross with a spear-pierced side and nail-pierced hands and feet. Forgiveness was Jesus crying out to the father in Heaven, “forgive them for they know not what they do,” as the soldiers cast lots to divide His garments at the foot of the cross. Forgiveness was Christ looking over to the thief hanging beside Him just before He took his last breath, assuring him, “today you shall be with me in paradise.” It’s about giving a second, a third and a fourth chance. It’s not seven times, but seventy times seven repeatedly forgiving the sinner that has sincerely asked for forgiveness.

How could I reconcile a decision that honors God when He makes it very clear that he hates divorce? I couldn’t because the Bible is in fact very black and white. It is true, the Bible doesn’t address every specific issue we may face in life. However, it does provide principles we should live our lives by to govern our thoughts and actions. When we examine our choices through the prism of God’s Word, we’ll find zero shades of grey.

There are a number of questions we can ask ourselves that will help bring clarity to our decision making. Will this help me grow spiritually? Is this harmful to me or to others? Will this decision cause my brothers or sisters to stumble? Of all the questions, I think the most important to ask is, will this decision bring glory and honor to God. We were created uniquely in the likeness of God to bring glory to Himself.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

Are you pleasing God and striving for holiness or are you lost in areas of grey, excusing your behavior and rebelling against our Heavenly Father?

In Christ,
Amy Larson

Christian Walk, Church

Gather Together

Gather Together

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews‬ ‭10:24-25‬

By God’s design, we were created to be relational beings and were not meant to be alone. When God breathed life into Adam and Eve, He formed them to be in fellowship with Him and with each other. Scripture signifies the importance of relationships and weaves together a beautiful picture of oneness as depicted in the Trinity (1 John 5:7-8), amongst the church body (1 Corinthians 12:12-14), between husband and wife (Ephesians 5:31) and between Christ and His Bride (Ephesians 5:32). We were designed to live in companionship with one another, loving and encouraging our brothers and sisters as a unified body.

As we are growing together, we should be maturing in our relationships with the intent of becoming more like Christ in both our marriages and as a church. Our fellow believers are surrounding us to be the accountability partners and support team we need and vice versa. The church should be a sanctuary for those in troubled relationships, but more often than not, we disconnect from the very people that can offer us the most help. Whether we believe we are the only ones experiencing hardships, or we are just too prideful to ask for help, we forget our brothers and sisters are united with us in one body.

Like the body, there are many parts, each with differing roles to help make it function more efficiently. Knowing the purpose for unity in the body, why then do we forsake the assembling of ourselves together? There are a multitude of reasons ranging from church member hypocrisy, to worship style preferences but ultimately, in light of the charge to attend church, they are merely excuses. It speaks to a heart that is disinterested in close Biblical fellowship with the Lord if we don’t make it a priority to attend church. We focus on how the body can benefit us instead of how we can benefit the body, and the selfishness of our hearts causes us to lose sight of the true design of the body of Christ.

But, it’s not just enough to “go to church” we need to make sure the church we are attending is Bible believing, gospel-centered, and doctrinally sound. Many churches today have strayed from the Biblical path and have welcomed worldly and false doctrines into their preaching and teaching. We must be mindful and always seeking God’s truth so as to discern what type of yokes we form with other professing bodies of believers.

We shouldn’t gather as a body just out of a sense of duty or obligation, but to participate in the profound mystery any person or group could ever experience: a wholeness within the body and as the Bride united together with Christ. There is a presence of the Holy Spirit where two or more are gathered in His name and a fullness of joy reserved for the Bride. When we gather this Easter to celebrate the single greatest sacrifice in history, praising the name of our risen savior, let us unite in Christ’s name not just this Sunday, but every week, serving one another together so we can experience the fullness of God as He intended.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:15-16‬

In Christ,
Tommy & Amy Larson