Monday, 16 June 2014

The Truth is Always in the Middle – Part I

One of the most valuable counseling lessons I learned, I learned early in my counseling career.  Simply, there are two sides to every story and the truth is somewhere in the middle.  In most cases the people who are sharing their story with me believe everything they are telling me is true.  It is their perception of reality and that makes it real to them.  In my “formative years” I found that if the person I was talking with was particularly persuasive, emotional, and/or articulate I would tend to accept their story as fact.  Then I would meet the ogre/witch that had been described and got a totally different picture.  I heard similar “facts” from a different perspective.  At times I still get trapped by someone who is particularly convincing, at least for a brief period.

I cite this experience for two reasons.  The first reason has to do with seeking Godly counsel.  I am aware of too many cases of women who have sought counsel from well meaning, Godly women regarding their marriage, have been told by those women to seek a divorce.  We should always check to see if the advice we are given lines up with Scripture.  In the cases that I am familiar with there were no Biblical grounds for divorce.  Equally important those who gave the advice heard only one side of the story.  One Biblical ground is unfaithfulness.  This can get dicey.  If a spouse has committed adultery, Scripture permits divorce, it doesn’t command it.  God hates divorce and would expect the couple to work through the pain and broken relationship.  Is pornography the same as adultery?  I’m certain it feels like it to the one who has been lied to and betrayed but pornography is an addiction and should be treated as such. That is not to minimize the pain and hurt it causes.  Certainly strong boundaries would have to be set, a commitment to taking all the necessary steps to gain victory over the addiction would have to be in place and the very real prospect of having to re-build trust over a long period of time is very real.

The second Biblical basis for divorce is if a non- believing spouse wants to leave a spouse who professes to be a believer, only if initiated by the non-believing spouse.  We need to be careful with this one.  It is not too unusual for the now potential non-believing spouse to have looked an awful lot like one who believes over a period of time and may have acknowledged being a believer.  Is it for convenience sake that the person is no longer considered a believer?

See Part II.

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