We have many loved ones who, through the trauma of divorce, have found the partners God clearly meant them to have. Because their experience has made them more empathetic and compassionate, these are some of the most gracious and loving folks I know. Having experienced transforming grace, they are no longer drawn to the harshness of orthodoxy.
They are very different, then, from a growing number of self-righteous people who feel entitled to pass judgment on my single, thirty-year marriage to the person God brought into my life … while enjoying two or three (or more) marriages of their own. They are quick to demand orthodoxy for others … but not so quick to apply a “traditional, orthodox” reading of the Scriptures to themselves.
Day after day, these people clamor for “plain and simple” readings of Scripture … which, if applied to them, would render them all adulterers. Day after day, these people continue as church leaders … when the orthodoxy they espouse requires them to step down. Day after day, they disparage the marriages of others … when, by their own doctrine, they should end their adulterous affairs and either return to the spouses they left behind or remain single for life.
Even as they revel in the church’s embrace of a culture of marriage, divorce, and remarriage without shame … they insist the church should never give in to culture. And now, through the disaffiliation process, these smug hypocrites have the gall to take things further and “shut the doors of the kingdom of heaven in the faces of others.”
In the past, I’ve tolerated their self-righteousness in an effort to keep the peace. But going forward, when I encounter this ugly mindset, I will gently but firmly call it out for what it is: the worst kind of hypocrisy.