On one hand, my divorce set me free; on the other hand, my divorce caged me.
It was a Catch-22 to say the least: release from the suffocating environment of abuse and suppression (and I didn’t regret the divorce for those reasons), but I questioned my salvation.
I was young in my faith, and divorce wasn’t as common as it is today. I felt like Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter. My first in-depth Biblical teaching came from people who focused heavily on rules. It would be years before I learned that they didn’t understand the grace of salvation, either.
Some of my friends (from church) told me I could never remarry because my divorce wasn’t on the grounds of adultery. Yes, they agreed a woman shouldn’t stay with a man who hit her, but they said it didn’t change the fact that I couldn’t remarry. This remained an issue for me for a long time. I found it hard to believe that God meant for me to stay alone for the rest of my life.
These restrictions made me feel like damaged goods, and I gave up on my faith. I still attended church, for my children’s sake more than mine. But many times I sat in church on Sunday, head bowed, praying for God to forgive me for the sins I committed on Saturday night, asking him to help me steer clear of this lost lifestyle.
I didn’t think he could forgive me.
I wrestled with this issue for the first year of my divorce. I knew I probably would remarry, but I still felt soiled. And no one made me feel more soiled than fellow Christians.
I didn’t understand that God was greater than my sins, that Christ’s salvation and grace cleansed me.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
This simple truth hadn’t been taught to me, so I floundered. All of those years, I lived of the flesh because I didn’t think I could be saved.
There is no sin that God can not forgive. Christ died as the perfect sacrifice to forgive our sins. All of them, past, present, and future.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”Romans 8:14-15
Well-meaning Christians gave me the spirit of slavery. They worried I would sin through remarriage. What they didn’t understand was their condemnation caused me to sin through my lifestyle because I felt unworthy.
We must put away the sinful nature, that is true. But no matter how we sin, there is forgiveness. We must ask and turn from the sins. This doesn’t mean we’ll live perfectly. Only Christ lived a perfect life without sin. But we do, through the Spirit, seek to live a righteous life and turn away from our sins.
Are you hurting? Do you feel unworthy? Soiled? Unlovable? Christ sets us free, releases us from our cage.
What do you need to let go of?