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I have sat for some time staring at the title of this particular post — thinking that it’s almost an oxymoron. Well, I guess so is the life of a Stander in some ways — especially the life of a Prodigal-Turned-Stander. To some it would appear that we just couldn’t make up our minds. We wanted out. Now we want back in. I can assure you that any serious Stander knows when they have been called back home to be a Witness for the power of God, it doesn’t matter what it looks like to the casual observer — or even the observer who is waiting to prove that what we Standers do is nothing short of dreamed up insanity. Nothing but nothing will move you — no matter how trite or painful. You will continue to Stand. We have come to know that this isn’t just about the restoration of two broken human beings one to another. No. This is about the restoration and reconciliation of the Prodigal to their Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. If that Prodigal isn’t saved, it’s about their eternal destiny. If you can’t see that now, you will see it because that’s what God wants to show you.
This is to the Stander that, like me, took surveys from everyone but God and then walked out. This is to the Standers who are seriously considering walking out. This is to Standers who may be having difficulties within their Marriage. This is to whomever God would lay on your heart to listen to, weigh heavily in your heart and mind — and then heed His Word.
I don’t know about you, but when I walked out the door, I certainly didn’t think of anything at all but peace. I couldn’t see beyond the pain and confusion and frustration. For every question I had managed to find an answer to, there were one-hundred and fifty more waiting for an answer. And so it went. All I wanted was peace. I can remember telling my Mother how nice it was to “have finally found peace.” While that is true in one sense, what took me a very long time to understand is that there is a very real difference between peace and quiet. What I had was quiet. Once I was thoroughly “quiet soaked” and God started speaking a little louder, I found I had no peace because I had refused to seek and know Peace. In the beginning of my newfound sense of false peace and my newly acquired spiritual blindness, I didn’t think about the consequences of my walk.
Do you wonder what your walk out the door really means? Do you wonder if anybody will be affected? Do you think that everybody will rebound? What about that ripple effect? You think it just gets lost in the pond? I can tell you when you’re blinded by the enemy of your soul, you can find 1001 ways to justify that walk. Don’t. If you have to explain it to justify it or if you have to hide it — it is W-R-O-N-G, wrong.
So are there specific consequences to a Wife? A Husband? Absolutely! Remember, God has an ordained order for everything. Let’s look:
1. The Husband or Wife who has walked away from their Covenant Marriage has disobeyed God.
- You did so by taking matters into your own hands. You have not listened for God; trusted God; nor have you waited on God. You have made yourself guilty of taking the vengeance of God. God says “vengeance is mine; I will repay.” Romans 12:19. When we do this, we have swung the door wide open to all forms of wickedness and spiritual darkness. We have also been taken captive by the evil one to do his will. (Reference II Timothy 2:26) Though you say you see clearly, you are really blind — and your sin remains. (John 9:41) Without saying a word, you have called God a liar because the Truth does not live in you . . . . If it did, you wouldn’t be willfully walking your way into sin.
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:10 NASB
The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 1 John 2:4 NASB
- God will destroy the works of your hands. Ecclesiastes 5:6 KJV says: Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the Angel, that it was an error: [why] should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
- Both of you made a Covenant Vow before God and with God. He will require you to honor your Vow!
When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it, for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God. (Eccl 5:4-7 NASB)
2. You expose your Covenant Spouse to great temptations and spiritual wickedness and darkness.
- Ladies, by separating from and even divorcing our Husbands, we open them up to great temptation and expose them to spiritual wickedness that when it takes hold, will turn them every way but loose. I’m talking about immoralities such as the lust of the eyes and flesh — pornography, whoredoms. . . . . adultery. Their drives are created by God to be within the confines of a Covenant Marriage. The societal views impressed upon the divorced tells them that they are “single.” They are NOT single men no matter their “legal status” here on this earth. In the Court and registers of heaven, the laws are higher and the Judge more righteous. He says we are Married until death. I have seriously visited this view in another blog post — Fornication vs Adultery.
- If your husband is a believer, you have pulled yourself out from under your husband’s covering (spiritual protection). If you are a believer and have an unbelieving husband, you have just taken away his sanctification and made your children unclean.
14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 1 Cor 7:14 NIV
- Gentlemen, by separating from and divorcing your Wives, you have failed to be the spiritual lead and head of your household. As a believer, it is your God-ordained and God-given position to see that the Marriage works in accordance with Ephesians 5:21-33. God holds you responsible for cleansing your wife by His Word — meaning you are to purify her desires, attitudes of her heart and all her actions by the washing of the Word. In so doing, you sanctify her and make her holy. This is what Christ did for the Church. (The good news is that failure is a human view point. The man or woman who recognizes their shortcomings can take them to Christ and He alone can make all things work together for the good of those that are called and that love Him.)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church . . . Ephesians 5:25-29 NASB
- You have caused her to sin if she commits adultery. Christ is clear. He has said you are guilty of causing her to sin if she becomes physically involved with another man. No you didn’t hog-tie her and make her do this — but you put her in the position of sinning against her God and you, her Covenant Husband. Again, remember that divorce does NOT make us single! We are still Married until death do us part. We are supposed to reconcile or remain unmarried. There is no provision for REmarriage. (Reference Romans 7:2-3 and I Corinthians 7:10-11 respectively.)
3. You destroy your children.
- As a Prodigal, you will sow seeds of destruction in the lives of your children who look to YOU to be a godly example as a Husband or Wife, Father or Mother and even a friend to your children. As their example you and I should lead by example. When we stay in our Covenant Marriage while there is difficulty, we are showing our children how we deal with conflict in Marriage. In walking away, we show them how disposable the Ordinance of Marriage and the Family unit are. But mostly we show them how we feel about God. We tell our children how great God is and that He can do anything. The walking Prodigal has now displayed their character as unfaithful to their family and made God incapable of doing everything — especially healing their parents. (See I Timothy 5:8 below.) To them now, they are confused about Who God is. Eventually He will become a liar to them. . . .
- You also speak your hatred of your children to your children. You can’t say anything different. It is our very selfishness that causes us to do what WE want — all else be damned. . . .
- You have lowered the standards of your children’s lives and have most likely caused them to live at or very near poverty. The statistics are in favor of that. You have subjected them to living in less desirable and safe neighborhoods. You have subjected them to the fear of want and need.
8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever. I Timothy 5:8 NASB
- You have jeopardized the future of your children by exposing them to the elements of attack in the spiritual realm; opened them to the possibility of having to live in a “blended family” through REmarriage.
- You make your children have to choose between parents. You instill feelings of pain and riddle them with guilt for calling a step-parent “Mom” or “Dad.” (Forgive me. I hate the term “step-parent.” I was not raised that way. I only use it as a term of distinction.)
- The Prodigal who has divorced their Covenant Spouse has ensured future behavioral problems in the lives of their children.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. 2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 So watch yourselves. Luke 17:1-3 NIV
- You have sown the seeds of destruction down to the third and fourth generations of your family. You have guaranteed that the spirit of divorce will run rampant throughout your children’s lives for generations to come.
‘You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 9’You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 10 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. Deut 5:8-10 NASB (You’re probably saying “what? what idols?” The idols of sin and self. You have chosen to worship and serve them rather than worship and fear the God of your salvation and your Marriage Vows.)
4. We dishonor our parents.
- The Prodigal who walks not only destroys his or her immediate family, they also destroy their in-laws and their own parents. What a public disgrace to our parents — and our Heavenly Father! When we divorce, we cause our parents and in-laws to feel shame and even failure because they think they must have done something wrong. We also cause them to feel like they have to choose sides. We may cause them to sin against the son- or daughter-in-law in their attitudes, words and deeds. We are not to dishonor our parents in this manner.
5. Suffering through conflict.
- When we separate ourselves from the suffering we may be experiencing due to conflict in our Covenant Marriage, we remove ourselves from the power, grace and mercy of God. How’s that? God uses suffering in our lives to purify us from our motives and actions to develop a nobler, stronger character within each of us. If we are constantly removing ourselves from the conflicts that cause suffering, how will we ever grow through our trials to know and see the power of God in our lives?
6. Positions of authority within the Church.
- If a Husband divorces his Covenant Wife, he can no longer serve in a position of leadership within the Church. He must be the Husband of one Wife and know how to control himself and lead his home. (I Timothy 3:5)
7. Divorce and REmarriage sends the wrong message.
- When we divorce and REmarry, we send the wrong message to our children and to society — especially if we are a part of the body of Christ, the Church. If you will read and re-read Ephesians 5:21-33, you will discover that the Covenant Marriage is a type of, or a mirror of the relationship of Christ to His Church. Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church is His Bride. Even though the Church has been adulterous to her Husband, Christ, He will NEVER divorce her! He will present her without spot or blemish to Himself at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
- We cause others who do not belong to the body of Christ to blaspheme God’s Name by justifying what they themselves do by what they see a Christian do. If a child of God can “get away with” violating God’s moral standards, then there really isn’t anything to stop them from doing the same.
To the Prodigal-turned-Stander; To the Prodigal; To the Stander, there is more. I could spend so much more time here and I may very well add more to this post — but I think that all of us can see that what we do is not limited to just us alone. And aside from being all out blinded by the enemy, we can see that we have a bigger ripple effect in the pool of life than what we want to believe or than what the enemy has made us believe. We may think we are doing this all by ourselves and for ourselves, but we are doing it to ourselves — and them. Oh, and how we are hurting the Spirit of God. How we hurt Him Who loves us so. But we are not without an advocate; the One Who ever intercedes on our behalf, Who cries out for us when we don’t know how. No matter what we have done, there is One Who is faithful to forgive and cry out for us.
26 And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30 and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,
“For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 8:26-39 NASB
I don’t care what you have done or where you have been to do it — there is no sin so deep that the Father can’t reach down through the Blood of His Son to lift you up and restore you, to restore your Marriage, to restore your family. There is no limit to what He can do. There is no exception clause on the power of His Love. He sees you clean and whole through the Blood of His Son. Don’t you ever forget that. . . .
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