Broken and Homeless

Divorce is cruel. Scripture describes it in Malachi 2:16 (NLT) – “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”

But I think that is only the beginning of the struggle, because divorce affects more than just the one with whom you pledged fidelity to and with whom you made children. Divorce effects the vulnerable offspring more than the capable adult. If it overwhelms the one who can take care of themselves with cruelty, what does it do to those young ones who are reliant upon those very adults? The children will bear the brunt of that selfishness for the rest of their lives, and into their own parenting.

It is more than just dividing their home into two physical homes – it is dividing the heart of the children into homelessness; into no stable place. Twice the love? Oh no. The math of a fractured home is half a home.

It’s upside down when the children can choose which parent in which home to listen to – the choice between an easy lie and a difficult truth is the same as a choice between jumping off a ledge and gravity.   There is no choice; there is only the inevitable. A broken home isn’t building children on a foundation of rock, nor even on that of sand, but out on the waves.

Scripture identified it first though, in 2 Timothy 3:1-9 (NLT) –

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.)  These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres.

Where is the love there? Children are wired to trust their parents for safety, and isn’t truth verbal safety? It’s hard enough for any child in the best of circumstances to navigate the lies of this world when they come from outside the protection of the home – but when the home is split and the lies come from within, from the very mom or dad who is supposedly wired to protect them – well, that sounds like Jannes and Jambres are in the home.

And so, when children hear the lies of this world coming from their own mother or father, how do they navigate the removal of their safety?   They have two choices, from what I am guessing.

First, they can rebel against absolutely everything. As in, they will reject all truth as well as all lies – these are the ultra-cynical kids who have no hope for the future. And yet, I personally see hope for them because they are equal-opportunity with their middle-finger. They may eventually wake up to the truth of the Gospel and develop trust in the One who is trustworthy.  By God’s grace, they may develop discernment – and recognize the lies for what they are, where they are, and sift out the truth from where it lay hidden. Not easy, but possible. Hard-fought, but within sight.

But I’m guessing the second option will be the more common one; the less hopeful one. I expect that the vast majority of children will instead pull close to the parent who feeds their child-like wants, rather than the parent who offers the difficult-to-swallow needs.

Teaching truth is difficult for all parents who strive to do so, even when they have a supportive helpmate. Yet when the family structure is split, the children are now flipped into the role of the one who chooses which home, which parent, to listen to. They are homeless because the mother and father are not united, and so the children choose their parenting.  The children are unstable because they are the ones in charge, and they feel it in their bones.

It is natural for all, especially the immature or traumatized child, to gravitate toward what Is easier. Wisdom is learned by practicing what is right, and what is right is usually hard. Proverbs 14:1 (NIV) – “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Choosing foolishness is as easy as letting gravity take over.

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent. Accepting lies develops a hard-heart. The more a child, trusting as they are, gets indoctrinated into the lies of this world, the more they will believe those lies. Scripture speaks directly to this in Mark 9:42 (NLT) – “But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone hung around your neck.”

We can cause our children to fall into sin. We need to stand in the truth. We need to stand in Christ. We need to put our trust in Christ for our eternal souls, yes – but if we have any love for our children, we ourselves need to grow in Christ, in order to offer them that which is the most true. It is hard, in and of itself, being a parent. It is harder still, dare I say impossible, to be a Christian – that takes the work of the Holy Spirit. We are to train our children into righteousness; not into twisted justifications.

Going back to Moses, he reminded the people of Israel how God miraculously moved to protect them in Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV) – “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”  It is fruitless to try and find peace and rest in the lies of this world.  Look back to verses 3-8 for the results of that effort.

For those children who, in spite of their parents’ lies, choose God’s Truth – may He bless them with a true home, on earth as it is in heaven. Perhaps they will be able to teach Truth to their deceived parents by the power of His grace, into the blessing of repentance, and into the joy of faith in Christ. May we all find their home in Him.