A few months ago, I sat with an attorney representing a well off investor, who had a claim against a small struggling businessman. The man and his wife had signed for a loan. The terms were reasonable, the interest was fair, but the man’s business had failed and the investor had already foreclosed on the real estate owned by the business.
However, the investor was concerned that the property alone, when sold, would not cover the debt, so now he was about to take the couple’s two old cars, a trailer used for work and his tools. To complicate matters, both the investor and the small business owners were Christians. So, I got a call from the debtor, who I barely knew, and he asked if I would get involved. I promptly called the investor, who I’d met only once, and asked if we could meet. He agreed, if his attorney could be present, (who was not a Christian).
It was clear from the legal documents that the investor and his attorney had the legal right to everything the debtor had. He and his wife had signed personally for the loan. But, I listened to the investor’s version of the story. I’ve learned there truly are, two sides to every story. When he finished explaining, the investor said with righteous indignation, “The law says, I have a right to do this!” My response surprised him.
I’ve been asked a dozen times over the last few weeks, for my opinion on Kim Davis, the Rowan, Kentucky, County Clerk who was jailed a few weeks ago for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. So what are Christians to think?
Based on my research, Kim takes God seriously. She gave her life to Jesus four years ago after three failed marriages and several children born out of wedlock. But since her conversion, she takes both marriage and the Bible serious – seriously enough to go to jail for what she believes. You have to admire anyone who is willing to be jailed for their religious convictions!
However, I do not agree, either with her decision, or her rationale for making it. I’ll first explain why. Then, I’ll present several biblical options for someone in her position.
I believe the Supreme Court’s decision to allow same-sex couples to marry was a terrible decision that, like Roe vs. Wade, legalizes a sin, God prohibits and will have repercussions for our society we can’t even imagine today. Read my blog on July 2, 2015 (http://bit.ly/1T8gyAB) to read a summary of my objections.
That being said, when the Supreme Court of the United States makes a ruling, for all practical purposes, it becomes the law of the land, for which there is no appeal, other than a constitutional change. I understand there are Christian legal experts who disagree. They believe only Congress can make laws, not the Supreme Court, therefore Davis is not violating an actual law. However, almost all Supreme Court legal experts I’ve researched, seriously disagree – and cite hundreds of Supreme Court rulings, that never were backed up by a law in Congress, which de facto, became the law of the land. (Affirmative Action, Brown vs. The Board of Education (the desegregation of schools), etc.)
But, Kim Davis did not give the argument that she wasn’t violating an actual law as her reason for disobeying. Rather, in the words of her attorney in court, “her (Davis) religious convictions and faith, should exempt her from having to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which violates her conscience. This is a freedom of religion issue.”
So the question is, can Christians refuse to obey the law of the land? The answer is both “no” and “yes.”
“I’ve had it! Our marriage is a sham. I really believe it would be better for the kids to not be exposed to the constant tension in our home. I just want to be done with it.”
I’m guessing that you’ve heard these pain-filled words from a family member or friend and found yourself at a loss as to what to say.
Setting aside for a few minutes what the Bible has to say about divorce, and who’s to blame for the disintegration of the marriage, here’s what I tell anyone who is contemplating initiating a divorce and is saying; “I just want to be done with it (or her, in this case) and move on.”
The Rest of the Story
“The truth is as long as you live, if you have children, you will never be done with it. For the rest of your life, every holiday, every birthday, every graduation and every wedding involving your children will be a negotiation. You not only will have to negotiate the shared custody schedule with your spouse, as your kids get older they will be increasingly reluctant to continue to be pawns in this game and will generally want to spend less time with both of you. While this is difficult for you to imagine, it occurs with enough frequency, particularly among teenagers, that it is almost always detrimental to your relationship with your child.
They will feel guilty on holidays because one of you is alone. They will feel pumped for information about your ex and violated if that information is used by you against her. They feel helpless and they resent being put in that position. As a result, they will talk less to both of you and you’ll truly wonder – “why?”
I just met my newest spiritual hero.
A woman I’ve met only once before, just left my office. The first time I met her, was four days after her husband confessed to a serious sexual sin. She was mad, angry and disillusioned about men in general and let one of our pastors and me know it, in no uncertain terms.
“I’m never going to let this man back in my life, my house, or my bed again! I’m done! I’m not only done with him, but I’m done with men!”
We simply listened, which for a guy is almost impossible. But it was clear she just needed to vent. She said she was going to divorce him, because she had biblical grounds. We agreed, she did. And she subsequently did file for divorce.
She’d just been given, her get out of hell free card!
Over the 30 years I’ve been a mentor and elder, I’ve noticed this phenomena if one of the spouses in a tough or mediocre marriage has had an affair, or commits some other serious sexual sin. When that happens, the sinned-against spouse was just handed their, get out of hell free card.