There Are Always Headlines...

which we can't seem to avoid, no matter how "family friendly" a line the stores offer. They're everywhere and it seems to be human nature to take absolute joy in watching someone who was successful fail. Most of us seem to want to have what we consider "success" but boy oh boy do we turn green at those who get it.

I can't begin to imagine the pressures of living my life in a fish bowl. I know I wouldn't want it and for those who do, their reasoning belongs to them. For some it just happens to them and figuring out how to manage it can be another success - or abject failure.

I'm referring to worldly success here. God defines success differently than we do and people a lot smarter than I am in the Biblical department have covered that. For some of us God's idea of success for us looks a lot like wordly success and for them... well... to whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12:48 - I've paraphrased it a bit).

Recently the headlines we see involve a couple who are Christian and who have become quite successful as far as the world is concerned. Plenty of people are willing to toss around criticisms, harsh words and even some "come-uppance" talk about this couple. Before I go any further - I'll be bluntly honest here. When I watched part of an interview recently (after the mess hit the fan), my first thought was "Wow - she does not understand submission and he has NO idea how to be the spiritual head - or any kind of head - of his household." Within seconds of having that thought (and voicing it to my husband), the Holy Spirit started convicting me. There I sat - my husband and I are in a good place in our marriage, our life is going along pretty well - what do I know about what is going on with the two of them? Until a few weeks ago, I didn't even know they existed and now I'm passing judgement on their marriage... Who, exactly, do I think I am?

Fact is...we're all sinners. Our sin may look different from one another's as far as the details are concerned but we're all sinners. We can trace our sin back to one of two basic sins, too - unbelief or idolatry. Whatever it is - we're all guilty of them at one time or another. When we sin it's either because we don't believe and trust God is who He says He is or because we have placed something before Him as being more important to us (even if that something is ourself - after all, most of us want to BE God at one time or another, don't we?).

To vilify this couple because their sin is now public is cruel and wrong. To say that they deserve this heartache because they talked as if they were above this type of problem is ludicrous. Do we really want to stray into the sanctimonious "I would never..." conversation because it's very dangerous ground. We do not know what tomorrow will bring to us.

This couple has to take a long, hard and serious look at themselves as individuals and as a couple AND they have to figure out how to put themselves back together without hurting their children too much. And they get to do it while America watches. Are those shoes you'd want to wear? I wouldn't. Even with God's help every step of the way it is going to be intensely painful and if either of them gives up and doesn't do whatever God wants them to do as an individual, they will have an even more difficult time staying together as a couple. Therein lies a whole new heartache.

I refuse to hang on every word of this story but its been difficult to avoid it. From what I have heard, though, I know this couple needs our prayers - not judgment. They need to know their brothers and sisters in Christ are standing behind them, next to them and in front of them as they go through this trial - whatever kind of "discipline" it may be. They need to be reminded over and over and over again that God loves them - deeply, overwhelmingly and desires nothing less for them than His perfection. Sanctification and however He brings that to them, that is God's picture. Not ours. We have no right to create it for them, to impose our beliefs of what it should look like upon them. They have to stand before God and answer for their words, their actions - we have our own answers to give.

A teacher of mine once said that Christians are the only group of people on this planet who shoot their own wounded. I'm not sure we're the only group but one thing is for sure - we're definitely one group who shouldn't be shooting anybody. We are to speak to our brothers and sisters about the sin in their life but that is the sin we KNOW about - not what is reported to us, assumed or inferred. What we KNOW. Firsthand. To scream "sinner" without knowing the truth puts us pretty even with the Pharisees were who threw the adulteress in front of Christ. And who threw the first stone there?

My first, gut reaction was a wake-up call for me. I have my own work to do and my sanctification continues. I had to repent of those thoughts and throw myself on God's mercy. I also have to take a good, long, hard look at why my mind went there first. Where is my relationship with Christ right now if I don't react Christ-like? How am I doing as a wife? Where is my relationship with my husband - really? What do I need to do to make it better and what do I need to do to draw closer to God? How do I pray for those around me? Why do I care more for myself than others? How am I serving God and how do I truly feel about those people around me - people He loves just as deeply as He loves me?

That's what I need to be paying attention to - not the headlines in the grocery store.

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