Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
— Proverbs 27:5-6
As believers, we are called to love in the way that Christ has loved us, sacrificially and honestly. And I wonder, how many of us have contributed to the dissolution of a fellow Christian’s marriage? Have we looked the other way when a marriage was in danger? Have we noticed the signs but been too polite or too busy to confront them courageously? Have we treated other people’s marriages more like contracts than like covenants?
If I truly believe that marriage is for life, that nobody has the right to un-one what God has declared one, there are actions I will naturally take. My behavior will follow my belief. I will speak out boldly against abuse of any kind, and I will provide help to those who are suffering. Real help. Sacrificial help. I will confront mistreatment. I will refuse to overlook or excuse infidelity in all its forms. I will denounce wickedness. I will choose truth over comfort. I will choose care over condemnation, even when caring costs me something precious.
I will not wait until a relationship is at its breaking point before I step in. I will look, truly seeking to see what is there. I will become curious enough to ask questions that move beyond shallow pleasantries. I will demonstrate by my actions that I am a trustworthy source of care. I will eschew gossip and carry the burdens of my brothers and sisters who are overwhelmed with sorrow and fear.
I will fall to my knees, even on my face, before a mighty, miracle-working God who can turn hearts and minds back to Him. And when all seems hopeless, when I am lost and don’t even know what to pray for anymore, I will give space for the Spirit to intercede for me in wordless groans. I will not shy away from what is right and good. I will not dilute the truth. And I will not overfill my schedule so that there is no margin, no room to support others. Instead, I will carve out and fiercely protect space to know people within my sphere of influence truly. And I will allow myself to be vulnerably, deeply known.
Christian, whether you are single or married, please, please, will you take a serious look at yourself? Do your words demonstrate that you believe marriage is a covenant or a contract? What advice are you giving? What are you keeping silent about? Do your actions demonstrate that you see marriage as a covenant or a contract? What are you modeling? How are you helping? Do not buy into the enemy’s lies; do not succumb to the belief that there is nothing you can do. In Christ, you have been adopted into a family. And family helps family, even when it’s messy. Let today be the day that your changed belief ignites new behavior!