Hillary Duff’s View on Marriage, and Church Shopping
Devotional Thought of the Day:
25 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. 26 Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, 27 dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. Ephesians 5:25-27 (MSG)
22 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. 23 Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. 24 Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, 25 not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. Hebrews 10:22-25 (MSG)
In the interview she also admits that, when it comes to a relationship, happiness might be more important than the commitment, which is why her perspective on love isn’t all that straightforward. “I don’t want to sound bitter because I’m definitely not, but I don’t know if people are meant to be together forever,” she tells the magazine. “Things happen over a long relationship that you can’t always fight. A marriage of 20 years, the accomplishment of that must feel really great, but there are also huge sacrifices. I just always want to fight for happiness.” (1)
As I read the article with Hillary Duff, and the quotes above, I was grieved. She notes how great it must feel for a relationship to last 20 years, the comments that the sacrifices are huge, too much for her, for her marriage has now failed.
I don’t know what they did to see it through, if there were counselors that were at their side, or if there were people there to encourage, to coach them through. Not only did they fail, their family, their community, and The Church failed them as well.
Yes, I said The Church failed this young couple.
For in the church, there should be the example of endurance, the example of depending on Christ. We are to depend on Him, the Spirit’s comfort and strength and ability to bring us through life. We do this, understanding and looking to Christ, who Hebrews 12 tells us endured, for the joy set before Him.
As I thought about this, I also thought about the church, and the commitment we have to each other. While some will look and pray for Hillary Duff, others will be scandalized by these words, The lack of faithfulness to vows made will challenge us, (hopefully?) and the attitude that marriage may not be meant to last a lifetime will see inconceivable.
Yet do we not do that with our churches? We change things, or even change churches, or forgo church for the same reason that causes Hillary to see marriage as temporary. We put our enjoyment (whether we prefer traditional, liturgical, contemporary etc.) over what will cause us to draw closer to Christ. Those of us who lead and plan our services far too often try to make the service something our people will like,
If we don’t like it? Well, there is the church down the street, or across town. If we are a pastor or priest, instead we place a call to our district president’s office, (or bishop or whoever works with churches looking for new pastors. (please note, I am not talking about leaving a church because of continued teaching that is contrary to scripture)
End result, the death of a relationship, and a further division in the family of God, A division that will be healed in heaven, but nevertheless, the pains of severing that which we pledged to be part of, in times of happiness and time of sorrow.
With each separation, the next separation gets easier, the time between finding a home church becomes less a priority, we find our happiness in other things, in other places.
Until we can’t remember the last time that we were at church.
Hillary Duff is right, there is an incredible reward that is found in a relationship that last 20, 30, 50 years. There is the knowledge that the one who makes our marriages and our churches possible will sustain them both, through the times of richness and poverty, through times where we, and the relationship are healthy or sick, the times of grief and the times of joy.
Such is our God, the Lord of Life. Such is what happens when we hear the Holy Spirit, the gift of our baptism. Such is the promise of life, walking with God, both now and for eternity, in the presence of God.
So let us work, to sustain all of our relationships! To do that, may we look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Let us find His healing, His patience, His sacrifice and find in those things, the strength to desire to endure. May we find as well the strength to help others, to encourage them, whether they are struggling in marriages or in being part of their church.
Lord Have Mercy on us!