“Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.”
– Eliphaz the Temanite in Job 4:7-8, KJV
And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
– Job 42:7-8, KJV
Not Everyone Gets A Choice
Eliphaz the Temanite has many modern day reiterations in Christian circles. These are the folks that condemn a divorced individual blaming them for the tragedy of their destroyed marriage. They engage in furthering “The Shared Responsibility Lie” and foster the “It takes two” nonsense even when adultery has been uncovered.
Adding insult to injury is when this takes place with a spouse abandoned by a cheater.
These individuals fail to recognize some spouses never get a chance to reconcile or restore their marriages following infidelity discovery. The adulterous spouse blows up the marriage with their sin and compounds that sin by running away adding even more rejection upon the heaping pile of emotional and spiritual trauma left at their faithful spouses’ feet.
Then the religious community takes over blaming the abandoned and soul raped spouse for being such.
It’s downright wicked.
While I was going through my ecclesiastical trial–a now, thankfully, defunct process with that denomination–I was especially angered by this lack of recognition. The documents and questions guiding the process seemed to assume the divorced pastor was always in the driver’s seat when it came to the divorce.
This was far from true in my situation, and I know is not true for many others as well.
Sometimes a spouse is given no choice in the matter of the divorce.
Now, I am glad I am divorced from my cheating ex-wife today. It has opened the doors to the amazing family I have now. I am truly blessed.
Nevertheless, I am concerned as a Christian community about how poorly we handle situations like my own three years ago. I am concerned by the subtle blame-shifting, like Eliphaz, onto the abandoned spouse.
It is as if–even sincere–Christians think an abandoned spouse “got what was coming” to him/her!
The abandoned spouse is blamed for not controlling choices made by another person–i.e. their former spouse. This adds further shame and pain as the faithful spouse is not accountable and cannot control the choices of another human being (see II Cor 5:10). It rubs salt in the wounds of powerlessness that I assure you are especially raw at this time.
Let’s be a church and people that sits in the ashes with our grieved friends (see Job 2:13).
The church does not need more arrogant Eliphazes on these matters.