Struggling with a picture

The happy couple.

Not the real couple discussed below
Not the real couple discussed below

Both smiling — both obviously happy on their special day.

I am writing this on a Saturday morning — yesterday two friends of mine got married.  From the pictures it looks like it was a simple, but beautiful wedding.  The weather was perfect.

But the picture was hard to comment on.  Hard to take.  I wish them well.  I wish them happiness.  Honestly I do.  But I’m hurt.

Not all that long ago they weren’t dating.  In fact they both were already married — not to each other.  I was friends with both couples.  They were worshiping in the same congregation and ministering side by side.   Both couples worked with a spiritual retreat that I also was involved with.  I always looked forward to our times ministering and worshiping together.

Then things changed.  Relationships became strained.  As a pastor I was approached for counsel.  I gave warnings.  I saw the “friendship” getting too involved and too close.  I tried.  I prayed.  I was lied to.  I was assured there was nothing going on.  Eventually I had to remove myself from the whole situation because I was being pitted against the other side by both sides.

I tried to remain friends with all four individuals.  I don’t know where I stand now with any of them for certain.

Some wanted me to step in and “provide spiritual counsel”. I was criticized that I didn’t. When I did try to give counsel some thought I should just butt out.

Now I have a strained friendship with some and broken friendship with others. There is no right action.

My point?

We often justify our willful sin and disobedience with the words “I deserve to be happy”, or “It’s my business and nobody else’s”.  There is also the ever popular “I’m not hurting anyone”.

Not always true.  I would venture to say it is never true.

Most times people are hurt we don’t even consider.   I doubt that any of the four individuals have had much thought about how painful this has been for me over the past several years — watching a train wreck about to happen with no ability to intervene.  I doubt they realize how painful it has been for many others in their church family and the greater community of faith.

People have been asked to, or expected to,  take sides. Some have when they shouldn’t. Some haven’t but shouldn’t have totally walked away.

There are some lessons in forgiveness and grace here — but at the moment I am struggling to completely understand them myself.

Satan is a destroyer.  Sin kills.  Physically, morally, spiritually and emotionally.

Some friendships have been destroyed.  Some spiritual battles are being fought that should have never occurred.

My point?

Submission to Jesus and His will is always best.   When we fail — forgiveness and grace are there to heal.  It may take time, and it may be hard.

I finally responded to the picture with a prayer that grace would be theirs.  I pray the same for their former spouses.  I pray the same for all who have suffered loss of friendship in the midst of their happiness.

God grant us all grace.

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