Here in Decatur, I am preaching through the Sermon on the Mount. It's like sitting at the feet of our King as He tells us what He expects of His subjects. The last two weeks have been difficult, as we have heard Jesus' words on sexual sin and divorce. I especially wanted to be sensitive yesterday, because historically we have been so hard on divorced people in the church. Instead of being a place of healing for the divorced, we have often been the source of even greater pain. God forgive us for that!
I'm not sure if I have ever had as much affirmation over two lessons in all my preaching life. This church is so incredible! It is a family who loves each other and cares for one another. And there is such a hunger for the Word! The last time I preached on divorce (before coming here, and I presented it in a very redemptive way), I was scolded by an elder. "Don't you care that you might hurt so-and-so's feelings?" Sure I do! So which pages of the words of Jesus do we begin tearing out? I hope that -- as a preacher -- I never hurt anyone's feelings. But don't you imagine there were people in Jesus' audience who were made uncomfortable by His words? And His words are just as forceful today. Further, as a servant of the Word, I would be dishonest to my calling to gloss over anything Jesus said.
I was especially touched by the couple who came to me last night. They had both undergone divorces over 30 years ago. In fact, they have been married to each other now for 31 years. They both thanked me for the lesson. And they encouraged me to continue to be proactive in attempting to prevent others from going through the pain of divorce. That seems to me to be a more spiritual response to Jesus' words on divorce.