Mailbag: This weekend I had a conversation with a Christian “friend”…


Michael wrote:

This weekend I had a conversation with a Christian friend that really bothered me.  It’s days later and I’m still bothered, hurt by his comments.  Long story short, we got onto the topic of my divorce.  Normally, I avoid this topic with this specific person.  He is the one who told me about a couple he knows where the husband moved in with the OW for a year but then returned, sighting it as a miracle of God and the soul reason I should have waited for my unrepentant wife.  This weekend he made this comment to me: “What are you going to do when you get to heaven and God tells you he didn’t tell you to divorce her?”  I responded that what God has revealed to you, you can know for sure.”  He continued: “How do you know that wasn’t some other spirit?”  I should have said by what spirit do you ask me that? But suddenly, it was like I was back to 1.5 years ago.  All the hurt and anxiety came rushing back.  I couldn’t even muster up an intelligent response and ended up just changing the subject because I feel I couldn’t have a rational conversation with him since he seem to subscribe to the Never Divorce policy.  I’ve been thinking about this for days and it’s still really bothering me.  By the way, he’s the only Christian friend I have that gives this advice.  All my other friends encouraged me to divorce my ex after seeing her blatant disregard.  Even the church counselor hinted at divorce after meeting with my ex and I.  (He couldn’t suggest divorce directly since that church has a no divorce policy).

I believe the insinuation in his statement is that I did the wrong thing and had a hand in causing my marriage to end: that I didn’t do all I can to save it or allow God ample time to work.  I know that God can work in any way he wants and can definitely fix broken marriages.  But I’ve also met so many Christians that has been cheated on and God removed that person to bring them the perfect partner years later.  He can work in so many ways.  Why does this person think waiting for an unrepentant spouse is the only way? Is he so eager to have another God story to tell that he would further someone’s abuse? Funny thing is that we had just talked about that one can’t possibly understand the will of God in another person’s life.  Obviously, he doesn’t really believe that. 

As a side note, he a very churchy type, more churchy than Biblical and I’m really consider cutting him off as a friend.  Many time I quote simple verses and he’s never heard of them. This is a Christian of over 45 years!  He also seems to think he has some sort of mental power through the Holy Spirit.  On several occasions he has texted me or called me because he thought God told him something was wrong with me when everything was fine.  He has said point blank that when you’ve been a Christian for a while you just know things.  Not what spirit is THAT?

So I’m struggling with why this conversation bothers me so much; how one comment can take be back to that dark place.  May be I’m not completely healed?  I was wondering what your take is on this.

Thanks Pastor Dave!



Sounds like he hooked into your shame–i.e. you didn’t want this divorce, and he applied religious pressure on that sensitive place for you. When you are in the fight or flight mode of such a shame attack, it is hard to think straight. So, don’t beat yourself up about doing what we naturally do when attacked or under threat.

Also, remember that you don’t owe this guy an explanation. That said, I “get it” as far as the impulse to defend yourself to such “concerned” so-called Christians. 
My thought is to get clear about Who you serve. The God I serve would never condemn a faithful spouse for choosing to divorce a cheating spouse. Maybe this “friend” serves another God.

God does not condemn or accuse His children (see Romans 8:1). He is NOT the “accuser of [the] brethren” (Revelation 12:10, KJV). That title belongs to Satan.

If a question or statement sounds and feels like accusation and condemnation, then it is more likely of a different origin than of God.

Putting on my philosophy and reasoning hat, I want to point out an important fallacy in that line of questioning. He gave you a loaded question. 

Answering his question is like answering “When have you stopped beating your wife?” where answering affirms a false assumption–namely, that you are beating your wife when you aren’t. You cannot win answering such a question; so, you must start at rejecting the question’s false premise to overcome its attack.

The false assumption implanted in his question is that God would tell you “he didn’t tell you to divorce her [your now ex-wife].” God has clearly communicated in the Bible that divorcing a sexually immoral spouse is completely acceptable and a godly choice (e.g. Jer 3:8, Mt 1:19, 5:32 and 19:9). God does not give us permission to sin, but Jesus does give us permission to divorce a sexually unfaithful partner (e.g. Mt. 19:9). Once again, this “friend” is serving a different god.

I doubt from what you wrote that you will be able to convince him otherwise. It is not your job to convince him that he is wrong anyways. That said, you don’t have to agree with him either.

Stake your position on God and divorce–even if this is just internally–and allow that some people will never “get it.” Remember:

You don’t have to agree with them!

Pastor David

8 thoughts on “Mailbag: This weekend I had a conversation with a Christian “friend”…”

  1. Ouch! I am so sorry one of your circle hurt you. Like Pastor David said, You are totally wasting your time trying to get someone else to sanction how you conduct yourself before the Lord. This “friend” possibly sounds like he/she is afraid that his/her marriage, that they value so much is “next”. In other words the fear that their marriage could be attacked and end up in ashes. As humans we like to delude ourselves that we control anything beyond ourselves. One can only control their relationship with the Lord. As a divorcee Michael – you are in the face reminder that this reality can happen to …anyone. The righteous, the just, right along with the morally bereft. It’s a bummer. I remember that nonsense. And I still get it sometimes from “better informed church goers”. I now just say to God, “I’m glad You have my back” and try not to roll my eyes.

    1. Thanks M3. I think you have some great insight because I know for sure that this person has dealt with sexual immorality in his marriage in the form of pornography though he is still married. He had struggled with it in the past.

      And DM, it dawned on me that the god he serves is church.

  2. So true, DM. When a spouse chooses to commit adultery, he or she has done everything needed to do to be divorced. One infraction is all it takes.

  3. My pastor once said that “God would never tell us anything that contradicted His word.” As pastor David mentioned, the following verses already say it is acceptable to divorce due to adultery (e.g. Jer 3:8, Mt 1:19, 5:32 and 19:9). I can understand the shame of divorcing. I too, was convinced that I had a covenant marriage. When I said for life, I meant it. I’ve come to believe I made a wise choice in finally filing for divorce.

  4. This struck a chord with me too. I have a very supportive church family and pastor and I’m so thankful. But there are those one or two people whose comments, or even lack of interaction where there used to be much, imply judgment and it sends me spiraling. I get frustrated by how much it gets to me too. But I think I will always be sensitive to this. It does tap into that sense of shame. I will never feel good about my divorce — regardless of the fact it wasn’t caused by me. And that’s ok, I think I should be concerned if divorce didn’t bother me. If only people were as bothered by adultery as they are by divorce… there wouldn’t be a need for this blog!

    But I also have to remind myself in those times, it’s an opportunity to focus on whose approval I should be seeking. I must find my identity in Christ, I must learn to rest in approval from God and in so firmly knowing Him and His love that the judgment of others does not send me spiraling. It’s natural to want everyone to think highly of me, but that — at its basest — is pride. I have much growth to do in this area, but I also remind myself this is a lifelong struggle I think we all must acknowledge, whether we’ve been divorced or not.

  5. Michael, this person is neither a Christian, nor a friend. Smile politely with your lips pressed together and back away. Keep backing away until the person is no longer in your site. Repeat as necessary.

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