Friday, September 16, 2011

Pat Robertson, Alzheimer's and Divorce

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by anything anymore.  Late Wednesday night though, I sat there astonished at what I was reading. Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson had proclaimed that a man would be morally justified in divorcing his wife if she had Alzheimer's disease.

Let me be perfectly clear on two things:
  1. Alzheimer's is a  terrible disease, and I can't fathom the depth of the loss and pain and loneliness that one would feel as their spouse succumbs to its ravages.  My heart truly goes out to all people in such a situation; the cross that is theirs to bear is more than I can imagine.
  2. Pat Robertson does not speak for Christians and his is not a Christian position.
His statement underlines a fact that is already painfully clear to anyone who bothers to pay attention: Within the church, we have fallen into thinking about marriage in the way our culture thinks about it, as if it were merely a man-made institution created for our personal gratification that we adhere to so long as it "works" for us.

The problem with this view is that the Bible presents a radically different picture.  It says instead that marriage was instituted by God himself, and that not just for our own benefit, but that it might be an image of the relationship that Christ Jesus has with the Church (Ephesians 5:25-33).  Therefore, whenever a husband does anything in marriage, he is de facto making a statement about the character of Christ.

Now am I saying that every "statement" I make about Christ by means of my marriage is perfect?  Absolutely not.  I am ashamed to say that far too often I have not loved my wife "as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her."  I am ashamed not just because that is what my wife deserves, but even more so, because it is what Christ deserves.

Yesterday Russell Moore wrote a piece that said much of what I would want to say on this topic, only better than I would have said it.  He writes,
At the arrest of Christ, his Bride, the church, forgot who she was, and denied who he was. He didn’t divorce her. He didn’t leave...And the church, across the ages, isn’t significant because of her size or influence. She is weak, helpless, and spattered in blood. He is faithful to us anyway. 
  Moore goes on, 
It’s easy to teach couples to put the “spark” back in their marriages, to put the “sizzle” back in their sex lives. You can still worship the self and want all that. But that’s not what love is. Love is fidelity with a cross on your back. Love is drowning in your own blood. Love is screaming, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” 
Click here to read Moore's entire post.  It's well worth your time.  And pray that we all would have the ability by God's grace and to his glory to stay faithful to the promises we made to our spouses to love them "for better or worse, in sickness and in health, til death do us part."

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