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Divorce

Over the past few weeks the evangelical community has been shaken to the core. Two of the most prominent, popular couples pastoring mega-churches here in the U.S. have decided to file for a divorce. The first couple being – Rev. Thomas Weeks III and Juanita Bynum, second being Bishop Randy and Paula White.

I don’t know much about the husbands, but I do know a little bit about Juanita Bynum, and a lot about Paula White. Both women’s ministries have affected my life somehow. I’ve seen both of their shows on TV, have their CDs and read books written by Paula White. Both of them seem to have all that a woman can wish for – married to husbands who are serving the Lord and ministries that span all across the globe. It seemed that both women are living the calling that God would have them do. They’ve got it all together. Or so it seemed.

News about their divorce has really disturbed me. This has led me to think about so many things, some of which I am going to write down here. But before that, please understand that I am not judging any of these people. I know that it is never my place to judge as I am as sinful as anyone of them.

Anyhow, here are my thoughts on these unfortunate circumstances:

1. This development sheds so much negative light on Christians. In a country where the marriage institution is already being challenged as it is, this is the last thing we need.

2. My heart goes out to the congregation of the couples’ respective churches. This must be a very confusing time for them, and I’m sure this situation has elicited many different reactions – some of grief, some of anger. In any case, I do hope and pray that they will hold on to God and focus their eyes on Jesus. I hope that this will not rob them of their faith in marriage, that is in the first place, instituted by God.

3. A church leader is held to a higher accountability mainly because they affect so many lives – they’re supposed to be an example in holiness and godliness to their congregation. In 1 Tim 1:1-5, Paul has eloquently set the standards for overseers/leaders. There are two important points that stand out to me from this passage: #1- that an overseer must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church? #2 – that an overseer must be a husband of but one wife. This point can spur a lot of debate, but personally, I prefer to stick to a more stringent standard – that an overseer should NOT have a history of divorce. These are the reasons why I will have a problem attending a church whose head Pastor has divorce written on his Resumè.

4. Because of my 3rd point above, I believe those ministers should take a sabbatical leave and step down from their respective ministries. They need to do a deep searching within them and allow God to break, heal and restore them. It doesn’t mean that they cannot minister anymore – yes they can, but only not as a head Pastor of a church. My personal opinion.

5. What happened to these couple have made me realize once again that we need to pray for our church leaders/Senior pastors. They have a bigger accountability than an ordinary church goer but yet have the same weaknesses and are susceptible to the same temptations as any of us. The bible clearly exhorts us to pray for our leadership.

6. Though the circumstances of their divorce have not been divulged, but I am almost sure that money is a factor. These two women have achieved a level of “fame” and acquired “fortune” through their million-dollar ministries. Love of money is the root of all evil. I can only assume that somehow in the course of their ministry’s success, they may have lost their focus on God and unknowingly have started pursuing riches in the guise of ministry. Thing is, God in the end, will expose everything that is hidden because He sees our hearts. Pride goes before failure, destruction before a fall. The higher you go, the harder the fall.

7. These two women have become more prominent than their husbands. Paula, for instance, is jet-setting all over the US to be in different conferences and speaking engagements, not to mention the many different profit and non-profit ventures she’s involved in. What she’s doing is admirable. But makes me wonder – does she have any time for her husband and family? Prov. 31 clearly describes a wife who is busy with the affairs of her household in all aspects. Her first ministry is her home. I hear people say – it’s not the quantity, but the quality of time that matters. How is “quality time” defined anyways? Shopping? Vacations? Little talk here and there? Every time spent with family – the good, the bad and the ugly – they’re all quality time because that’s what makes a relationship. And relationships are developed and strengthened DAILY.

8. Matt. 19:7-9, Mark 10:10-12 says that divorce is only permitted only if there is marital unfaithfulness. But even if a husband or wife divorces his/her spouse because of this, they still are not permitted to re-marry (unless their spouse dies). I hope and pray that both of these couples will be able to work out their differences, forgive one another and decide against going through the divorce. Otherwise, I believe that they would be living in direct disobedience to God’s word.

Ok…there are still so many things that I could write about but let these suffice for now. The above are just food for thoughts and you are welcome to agree or disagree with me.

Marriage takes more than just love to make it work. It takes commitment too. In all humility, in the last 5 yrs I admit that my husband and I have had moments, but by the grace of God we were able to work things out. I pray that we will never come to the point where the couples I’ve mentioned above are. Because a three-stranded cord cannot easily be broken, I believe that for as long as JESUS remains in the center of our union, and that both of us are continuing to draw ourselves closer to GOD, our marriage will remain strong.

To my husband, I love you. Thank you for loving me – all of my good, bad and ugly :o) Thank you for your patience and your support. You are God’s answer to my prayers. Without you, I am just half the woman I am. May I remain yours and you mine, ’til Jesus calls us back to Him. Amen.

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