She looked at me with vacant eyes, her mouth turned down in a a half frown, half smirk that betrayed the condition of her heart. “You heard, right?” No. I hadn’t. “We’re getting a divorce.” Ohhhhhh. I’m so sorry.
I embraced her outside the church with a hug that says “hang in there, girl – you’re gonna be okay.”
It’s not that I was surprised. In all the years I’d known this friend, I’d seen it. After 20 years, she just couldn’t take it any more. She described how hard she’d tried to keep it together, the counseling sessions, the long nights of talking, the yelling, the abusive words. She. Just. Couldn’t. Take. It. Anymore.
Then she looked at me and said words that broke my heart,
“I failed again.”
It didn’t matter that her first marriage ended because he had a drinking problem, or this marriage ended because he had an abuse problem. Somehow, the only thing that mattered to her was that she now had two failed marriages. Like a scarlet letter, she felt like a marked woman. And somehow, it was all her fault.
Except it isn’t.
I wanted to scream about the unfairness of this, that we are a people who allow women and men to wear the sins of their spouses instead of offering healing balm for their pain.
As I offered up what few words of encouragement I could muster and pledged to meet with her for lunch soon, I could think only of how Jesus would have responded to her. He would have reminded her of her incredible worth in His kingdom. He would have told her she is beautiful, even though she feels rejected; wiped away her sorrow and replaced it with joy.
Jesus himself announced “The Spirit of THE LORD JEHOVAH is upon me, and because of this he has anointed me to preach The Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal broken hearts and to proclaim liberty to captives, vision to the blind, and to restore the crushed with forgiveness,” (Luke 4:18 Aramaic Bible in Plain English)
Heal broken hearts.
Proclaim liberty to captives.
Restore the crushed with forgiveness.
What does this mean for Christians who are called to be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus? How about we start by getting real with our friends and allowing Jesus to begin to heal them through our LOVE…