“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
-Matthew 7:1-2, KJV
A common annoyance I encounter–and suspect other faithful spouses encounter as well–are Christians giving their unsolicited assessment of my state of healing.
“You still sound hurt.”
“Obviously, you are not healed from your ex-wife’s betrayal.”
“You sound angry.”
“I’m concerned about you. I think you need more time to heal.”
These comments come to me from fellow pastors–usually–and are in response to my writing this blog. I take them as compliments. Clearly, I am making them uncomfortable as any good prophetic voice ought.
The boat needs to be rocked on these issues.
I am all for good therapists or excellent pastoral care. However, I have a problem when that care is forced upon someone without their consent. It is especially saddening to hear these things coming from pastors who lack the wisdom to keep their mouths shut on such matters unless invited.
They fail to see how cruel such unsolicited advice can be:
-How would they like me probing around “their” failure as a father or mother if their child abandoned the faith?
Obviously, I believe it is the adult child who bears complete responsibility for his or her choices in such matters but the analogy fits how faithful spouses are wrongly held responsible for their adulterous spouse’s sins.
-How would they like it if I told a widowed pastor he must step down from ministry because he shed a tear in the pulpit mentioning he misses his wife on their wedding anniversary?
That must mean the pastor isn’t healed. He is unfit. We must remove him because he clearly can’t pastor and have such feelings at the same time! It is absurd, but it happens all the time for faithful divorced spouses.
-How would a suffering pastor who has just lost a son by suicide like it if I reported him for removal to the denomination over this loss?
Do we immediately remove this pastor from the pulpit until he has demonstrated he has healed enough for our standards refusing to take his wishes into account on the matter (as would have happened to me in my old denomination had I been a local pastor)? Do we blame him for the death of his son? Heaven help us if we do either. That is not pastoral care.
As I wrote yesterday, these things are messy. A broken bone can still ache years after it has truly and soundly healed. Same thing goes for a broken heart.
The history does not change. No matter how healed I am. The facts of what happened will never change. My former spouse committed adultery and lied about it for months by her own admission.
I suspect that is part of the reason for all the judging. People do not like to look at evil. They rather pretend spouses never commit adultery or–at least–that such a betrayal just goes away.
I am sorry.
IT DOES NOT!
It looks ugly, because it is ugly.
Adultery reflects poorly on the cheating spouse because he or she acted poorly. Speaking of it does not make it so. The cheater acting treacherously made it so.
Time and healing will not alter that. Ever. You cannot undo what was done. History remains history whether or not we speak of it again.
I choose to speak of it, here because I know it is necessary for people to hear from a pastor who can relate. Evil needs to be exposed. The light needs to shine in this dark, dark world!
We, faithful spouses, need community–even if it is only online–to share our stories. God designed us with a need to be heard and embraced. Telling our stories is an important part of belonging in community and feeling accepted after such a horrific rejection.