Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Divorce, the Supreme Adult Selfishness?

Rex M. Rogers is the president of Cornerstone University here in GR. He has a daily radio program in which he offers 2 minute thoughts on a variety of topics. This weekend he discussed divorce as the supreme adult selfishness. It's hard for me not to agree.

At the same time, one of the challenges in having a good discussion on the damage of divorce is that the divorce decision is so varied. Even thought the effects of divorce on children are nearly universally negative (in the rare cases of abuse, divorce is the lesser of two evils. And while we are resilient, let's not call how we cope a "benefit.") divorced parents can't be so broadly labeled. There are divorced parents who didn't want a divorce, but live in a nation where 1 vote to divorce trumps 1 vote to reconcile. There are those who leave a spouse to save their children or themselves from sexual or physical abuse.

It seems that here in the States the supreme adult selfishness is intolerance. We've become so fearful of offending someone that we water down and waver our thoughts and opinions. We don't want to pronounce anything as wrong, then wonder why so much evil is allowed.

Divorce is a supreme adult selfishness, often transferring the tension between parents to the tender shoulders of their children. As I write those words, the faces of friends and family who didn't want divorce, who needed to protect themselves and their kids come to mind. I wrestle with my words. I want them to be strong and weighty and effective to encourage couples to stick it out, but still gracious and loving to those hurt by them. I'm come to the conclusion that my heart's call is to defend the children, especially those too young to speak for themselves. Adults are resilient. They can handle the offense if my words don't apply to their situation.

It seems we all have our pet sin. And we accept God's grace so flippantly. "I can do this thing now because God will forgive me later." I wonder sometimes--and I welcome the feedback from my more theologically-minded friends--if the unforgiveable sin is choosing to sin willfully with such casual care for the cost to Christ.

Yesterday I finished reading Blue Like Jazz. The final chapter really hit me hard. The author writes of a relationship that didn't work because as much as his girlfriend offered love, he wasn't able to receive it. He then reflected on Christ's call to love our neighbors as ourselves. His point wasn't that we needed to love our neighbor more, but rather, we need to be able to receive love ourselves, not only from others, but from ourselves, and most importantly, from God.

I've been chewing on this thought all night. When our inner thoughts are more critical of ourselves that we would let ourselves be toward others, we have a problem. We are not receiving the love of Christ, and our hearts cannot impart that which they do not possess. It's difficult to accept love when you've observed that love must be earned, but to deem yourself as unlovable when the God who created you loves you is an ultimate act of self-righteousness. I'm saying with my thoughts that my evaluation of my worth is more credible than God's valuation. Ouch.

God, forgive me of my pride. Let me love--and receive love--as You intend.


Pattie said...

Hi Jen, I am getting ready to reread your book and found your website and blog tonight. I'm also working on a piece about my experience as an ACOD. Love your blog! I really do. I love what you have to say.


Jen @ de Jong Dream House said...

Hey Pattie -
Thanks for your kind words. It's always great to hear from readers. Stick around, will ya? :-)