Marriage has fallen on hard times. Many of you reading this have experienced divorce, either directly or from the impact of someone close to you. When divorce is a part of your family history, your daily conversations must reflect God’s healing power and your focus on serving Him now, rather than the problems of a troubled past.
This poses a particular challenge for blended families and parents who must continue to interact with each other after a divorce. Shattered relationships may remain shattered. Hurt may grow over time, instead of fading. Because a one-flesh relationship has been ripped apart there are many rough edges and raw emotions. It seems for every situation where divorce does not cause lasting pain, there are many more where the difficulties endure.
Caught in the middle are your children. God wants you to honor marriage. True, your marriage may not have ended well. But human failure does not mean marriage is flawed and to be avoided. Ephesians 4:29 calls you to say only words that are helpful for building others up. If you are to love your children this is exactly what you must do.
If you are divorced, does your family hear that your former spouse is the cause of all or most of your problems? Is your everyday talk filled with bitterness and hurt? God is a God Who provides hope. Do not let a failed marriage continue to do damage through your daily talk. Even if the decision of the court seems unfair, you can still honor God with your words. Remember the example of Joseph. If someone has intended evil towards you God will use it for good.
Parents, listen to yourselves. Your children do. What do they hear? You must understand the powerful message you are communicating to your children. Listen to yourself. This takes courage. Your words may not be beneficial or productive. If this is the case, for the sake of God’s honor and your children’s wellbeing, your everyday talk must change.
How can your everyday talk change? This change will occur like all other biblical change—through repentance and faith. Repentance means that you will turn from your previous thoughts and words and seek God’s good ways. Faith means that you follow God’s way of talking, even when it hurts. Even if your former spouse is unkind to you now, you can obey Paul’s admonition to return good for evil. Even if your former spouse does not change, that does not have to control what you do and say. What you don’t want is to make your children the equivalent of an emotional football that gets kicked back and forth between two unhappy parents.
Speak well of marriage. Christ has the power to heal the wounds of bitterness. By God’s grace don’t pass on the pain of a failed marriage to your kids. Don’t leave a legacy of bitterness. instead, follow the path of sacrificial love and honor marriage. Love your children enough to honor God with the way you talk about marriage. Show your children that the mercy of Jesus Christ can heal the deepest wounds, even those of divorce.