When two adults separate, or divorce, life changes dramatically for the children who may be involved. It doesn’t seem to matter what their ages at the time, but the younger ones, still at home and dependent on parents, are often the hardest hit by all that happens. My parents divorced, tried again and divorced a second, final time before my tenth birthday. This was back when such behavior was uncommon, and often scandalous.
My sister and I survived primarily because of God’s grace and a reasonably stable, though sometimes quirky family network. Fortunately there was little, ugly tug-of-war, at least that we were aware of – no blended families and complicated schedules, and the verbal warfare between our parents seldom reached our ears. That was seventy years ago and the world was very different from what we know today.
With this in mind, I’d like to reflect on some words of biblical wisdom that I pray will help from…I Peter 3:8-12 “Finally…
(1.) live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
(2.) Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must
(3.) turn from evil and do good; he must
(4.) seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’”
Much in Scripture indicates that God, our Heavenly Father, has a special concern for our children – all children. We are wise, therefore, to take seriously His intention that we protect them from evil and assure them of our love and the Father’s love.
So – two adults in conflict, especially if one (or both) is a Christ-follower, can govern their behavior by the guidelines Peter gives in this Scripture. The first guideline may or may not have been characteristic of the marriage. If this were true in a marriage, it’s unlikely that divorce would even be in the picture. But, human beings are not perfect – far from it, and sometimes crisis after crisis piles up and BANG! – a really big blow up results.
As a growing child tries to process all the negative fallout – the changes going on in his life – he may develop scars that he carries long into adulthood. Our Heavenly Father is a healer of injured feelings, insecurities, fear for the future, loss – this is true. But, He has also put human parents into place to reflect His infinite goodness, his desire to protect children and His hatred for evil.
In Part 2, I’ll explore specific strategies for applying this scripture to any relationship, but especially the marriage commitment two people make to each other and before our Heavenly Father.
As always, we welcome your contributions to this conversation.