No Time for Anger, Bitterness, Envy, and Hatred
“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.”
* * * * *
“I don’t know who could have done such a thing,” Bishop Akron shared with Prophet Malcolm later that evening. “I had no idea Andrea had any enemies out there, but then, I’m not surprised if she does.”
“Welcome to the real world, brother. As much as you try to live at peace with all people, you’re going to have enemies,” Prophet Malcolm said. “Look at Jesus. He had more enemies than you can count and He was perfect.”
“True, true. Well, got a word today from the Lord?”
“I tell you, Bishop, a couple I married ten years ago came to me with this crazy story about wanting to get a divorce. I asked them why and all they could come up with was ‘irreconcilable differences.’ Now you know they gave me the wrong answer then!”
Bishop Akron made himself comfortable on the couch. He knew he was in for another interesting story.
“I asked them to tell me what the ‘irreconcilable differences’ were. I got impatient at their stuttering and stammering and told them there is no such thing as ‘irreconcilable differences’ but that there is such a thing called selfishness and wanting your own way. There is such a thing as not putting your spouse before yourself. There is such a thing as rebellious husbands who refuse to lead their families and rebellious wives who refuse to submit themselves to their husbands.”
“What did they have to say to that?”
“They couldn’t say anything to that because they knew I was telling the truth. I reminded them that when I married them ten years ago I told them not to come to me later talking about wanting to get a divorce. And then I asked them what they plan on doing with the children. They went stuttering and stammering again.”
“What did you tell them?”
Bishop Akron and his wife had more than once entertained the idea of a separation during many of their not-getting-along moments, and they had started procedures for a divorce during one of those not-getting-along moments even though it never materialized. He had never shared this with Prophet Malcolm but was now curious as to what advice he would give on the matter.
“I told them that until they can come up with a biblical reason for the divorce and until they can tell me biblically what they plan on doing with the children who will be caught in the middle, then I do not want to see them in my office ever again talking about getting a divorce. I then told them to get out of my office, to drive home in silence, go make love to each other and then see if they still really want to get a divorce.”
“Whoa, now!” Bishop Akron said. “Did you really tell them that?”
“I sure did. A lot of husbands and wives don’t know this, but sex can cure a lot of marital problems. It is a tension remover. It helps you relax and removes built-up stress so you can better look at whatever you claim is causing the rift between you and your spouse,” Prophet Malcolm said. “So when women withhold sex from their husbands to so-call punish them, they are hurting themselves along the way. Many wives sometimes need that intimate assurance that their husbands love them even when they may have disappointed them. And husbands, well, that’s another story. They are just red-blooded hounds.”
Bishop Akron chuckled.
“And I speak that from experience,” Prophet Malcolm said with a chuckle.
Bishop Akron laughed. “I hear you,” he said, wishing he could say the same for he and his wife. Andrea withheld sex from him countless times when she got angry at him to so-call ‘punish’ him. Many times, out of frustration, he slept in the guest room rather then try to goad her into having intercourse.
“You know, the Bible does tell us that the love of many shall wax cold as the day of the Lord draws nigh. That love is not just between brothers and sisters in Christ; it is also between husbands and wives. I shared this with that couple. I told them they have allowed love to fly out the window. In fact, I told them I blame them for throwing their original love for each other out the window, and now, they just love themselves and no longer have natural affection for each other. I left them with this question: You trust God for everything else in your life, so why can’t you trust Him to hold your marriage together? I told them to go home and think about that, and honestly tell God they don’t believe He, the originator of marriage, can hold their marriage together.”
“What was their response?”
“They looked at me stunned. I also told them that they do not love God because if they did they would obey God when He told them not to put asunder those whom He hath joined together. I showed them the verse that says God hates putting away.”
“And what was their response to that?”
“Shock. They looked at me wide-eyed. When you tell people what the Word of God says, they cannot justifiably argue with you. Now can they?” Prophet Malcolm said. “I asked them how can they in good conscience drag their children through this? And aren’t they glad that their parents stayed together? I also told them that God will get them for mistreating the children He has given to them in this way.”
“What did they have to say to that?”
“The husband started to say they were not mistreating the children and that the children would be well-cared for as he would be sure to pay his child support and that they would work together for the sake of the children. The wife just nodded her head. I looked at them like, ‘right, really,’ and I’m the dummy. I said mistreatment does not always mean physical or sexual or verbal abuse, etc. It can also mean neglect as in this case that is what you are doing essentially—neglecting the children, depriving them of having both parents around twenty-four seven and depriving them of the protection that that provides. This back and forth: one week with the father and step-mother, and the second week with the mother and step-father is a bunch of mess, I told them, and will create a new set of problems.”
“What was their response to that?”
“I believe that shook them up some. I told them, if you go ahead and ignore my advice and proceed with the divorce, consider placing the children into another godly family where the husband and wife are together. I also told them if I was in their shoes, I would not take a chance and give God something to get started on me about. Then I told them to get out of my office before you really feel my wrath.”
Bishop Akron chuckled.
“Before I ran them out of my office, I shared with them about this marriage bond that God puts between a man and his wife. It is a bond so binding that no man can sever it. See, God made it so that the two become one body. What did He say when He created Eve? ‘They shall be one flesh.’ Divorce is like taking that one person, that one body, that one flesh and tearing it into ‘two halves of a person.’ It is never a nice smooth cut. It is one that you take with your bare hands and rip and tear apart with a fierce force. It’s like taking a piece of cloth or a newspaper and tearing it from top to bottom. Both edges at the tear are jagged, so jagged that you can’t even smoothly lay the sides together. And that is what it turns out to be: ‘two halves of a person’ walking around trying to function as a full person. That’s a monster, if you ask me. It’s worse than a two-headed monster. That will never work as that was never God’s intent for a married couple.”
Two halves of a person, Bishop Akron thought as he listened to his mentor.
“That is why divorce hurts so much. The ‘two halves of a person’ are dying a slow death. Why? Because they are walking around with a tear that is so jagged and so rough that strands are sticking off and life-giving blood is slowly dripping out of the tear and neither of the ‘two halves of a person’ have all the internal organs, if you will allow me to illustrate it biologically, because as one, they shared organs. No amount of divorce counseling can smooth that ragged edge. Marrying someone else will not smooth that ragged edge. In fact, marrying someone else is like taking a long strip of clear tape, placing it over the ragged edge to hold it in place. The jagged edge with its hanging strands will still be visible. Some of the internal organs representing the hurt and pain from within that comes from a divorce will still be seen bulging out and palpitating. Only one thing can mend that jagged edge and make it seamless.”
“And what’s that, brother?” Bishop Akron said.
“That is for the divorced couple to renew their marriage vows and get back together as husband and wife; that is if they have not already gone and married someone else. Paul even addresses that issue in First Corinthians chapter seven where he tells the wife and the husband that if they depart from each other whether through separation or divorce, to remain unmarried or be reconciled. When couples who want to get married come in for marital counseling, I take them through First Corinthians chapter seven and of course, other Scripture passages. I try to talk with those who are already married and who are seeking a divorce, and even those who have already gotten a divorce, to get back together real fast before they begin entertaining the idea of marrying someone else. I won’t go into all that remarriage stuff as we’ve already discussed it. But that is what the devil wants.”
“You got that right. That old devil wants to tear up our Christian marriages and homes,” Bishop Akron said.
“But back to the children. Why drag the poor innocent children through a bitter divorce and custody battle? You know, Bishop, even though my parents had a decent marriage, there were times when it was not all sunshine and roses, but one thing I am glad about and that is, I am glad that when I laid my head down each night both my parents were in the same house with me. They may have been fussing with each other on up into the night, but at least they were in the house,” Prophet Malcolm said.
“Now that I think about it, I am glad my parents stayed together, too. And they had some knock-down, drag-out fights during my early years, but thank God they both settled down into their roles as I got on up into my teen years. Now as I look back, the good times we did have make the bad times seem so insignificant. The bad times are pretty much a blur now, but I remember the good times that we had together very clearly and very fondly,” Bishop Akron added.
“You’re right. If we can get parents to see that it’s time out for this evil they’re bringing upon their children as well as upon themselves, and the shame that they are bringing to the name of Christ, then we would have better churches, better communities, and a better world as they would choose to stay together no matter what. God says He hates divorce.”