by Brandon CunninghamThis year I made a series of decisions that were based on a selfish, prideful and distant heart from God. The details are not important to this discussion but the impact and response is vital to understanding the story. My actions caused my bride, children, family, friends, and people I led in ministry to be deeply hurt. My actions were unforgivable by the world's standards and in some cases people have decided they will not forgive me and will never stop hating me. My decision caused some women to walk away from my wife and say really mean things about her. Some women that said they would always be right by her side decided she was evil for standing beside her husband. I was shocked at the Godly women who turned on my bride but even that resulted in incredible growth and faith in her life.
My actions caused some really great Godly men to not be able to speak into my son's life on a daily basis. I was also the reason my son and I didn't get to wake up early, get taco's and serve God's house together all day on Sunday's. My daughter lost a lot of really good friends because she was no longer part of their lives every week. I lost men that had been in my life for more than a decade that decided it was too much to reach out and care for a hurting family because my sins were beyond what they saw as forgivable.
Don't feel sympathy for me because it was my fault and I am not the focus of this post. My bride was the real warrior and hero in the story. She is the one who forgave me AND started the work to rebuild the family. She is the one who was close enough to Christ to have the strength and faith to say she would not give up. Now to be fair a few people reached out early on but soon most of them went back to what they were doing because she wouldn't share details and bash her husband. My bride decided divorce was not on the table so it was either fix this or find a way to hide the body.
Really this story is not even about us. It is about what God has used our experience to show us when a couple of great friends were going through something much worse. See we remembered what it felt like to lose friends who chose sides and stood on their self righteous ground. We also knew what it felt like to have a few friends that said they didn't care about the details, they only wanted to help. When this couple came to us we tried everything we could to get them to a PROFESSIONAL LICENSED councilor We didn't try to gather all the facts and share them with our small group of gossips or take sides and try to destroy the one we felt was wrong. We loved on them, prayed for them, and spent a lot of time talking to BOTH of them. Bishop TD Jakes once said, "There is always a story behind the story." That has always been one of the most profound things I have ever heard.
You can't take sides in a marriage. Recently the one spouse has decided to come back and try to work things out. They have already filed papers, moved out and in one's case dating. The one spouse had even attacked us via email because they felt we had taken sides and said really mean things about us. We have learned in this process to rely on Psalm 35. Let God contend with your enemies is not just a great idea but also it works because if they do decide to turn around and change then you never struck back. Because of that scripture my bride invited both of them to Thanksgiving dinner. See we know what it feels like to have people you really care about and love walk away from us. We understand when people measure your sin against theirs and determine you are too dirty to touch.
Most importantly we understand God does not see it that way. God says in the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us." We didn't want to be forgiven the way we forgave others because that would be horrible. Instead we are treating both of them with love and forgiving anything that was done to us. Why? Because we are amazing Christians? NO Because we have sinned and need forgiveness daily? Yes but that is not the only reason. The main reason is this is THEIR marriage not ours. Why is it our business to try to make sure we are represented in the disagreement? Our job is to pray for and support their marriage.
I am so encouraged by this story I had to share it.
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