Imagine a purple unicorn walked up to you right now and started staring at you. You wouldn't be able to ignore it, but you might try to - especially if no one else around you noticed the mythical creature’s presence. In your mind, it’s probably not real and doesn’t actually exist, so you shake it off; secretly hoping that the thing would just go away.
It's a strange analogy, but this is how divorce is sometimes treated in the Church. Whenever it comes into the room it’s ignored, misunderstood or bypassed. No one is willing to address it.
Divorce is like bereavement; the person who you love and prepare to spend the rest of your life with is gone...and they’re not coming back.
I’ve been divorced for four years now and I can honestly say that it's been a long, traumatic journey, one where I’d lost ridiculous amounts of weight, confidence and my sense of self-worth. At one point, I nearly lost my mind.
Thankfully I’ve had awesome family and friends around me who've been pillars of support when I felt like things were too hard to deal with. However, I haven’t had this kind of response from everyone in my life. In the past I've been reminded that the Bible says re-marriage is a sin and whoever marries a divorced woman will be committing adultery (ok…thanks). I’ve been described as ‘tainted’ by one member of the male species and I've sometimes felt as though I haven't been taken seriously when I've shared my story, because of my age.
The perception of divorce in the Church and the lack of understanding of its effects can be hugely isolating for those going through the process. It’s easy to feel like an in-betweener, a misfit or someone who is left on the shelf. No one really knows where to place you.
The Church's response needs to change. Instead of shying away from the matter or simply sweeping it under the carpet, more effort should be put in to getting alongside and supporting Christian divorcees and if that can’t be done, at least pointing people in the direction of help and support.
This is where my first mini documentary, 'The D Word' comes in (you can watch it in full below). Its made up of four candid interviews where Christian divorcees share their stories, open up about their challenges and speak out on how the Church can be better prepared to support those dealing with divorce. I hope this can be a first step toward bridging the gap and creating a space for conversation.
If you’re reading this and you’re a church leader, a divorcee, a relative or a friend of someone going through this, please don’t let your lack of understanding stunt your actions towards those in your congregation that desperately need your support right now. Are we doing what Romans 12:15 asks us to do? Are we really weeping with those who weep?