When I signed up for Facebook, I had a rule that I would not accept a friend request from someone I didn’t know in real life. Family got an automatic pass. In other words, if you’re family, you’re accepted on my friend list, no matter what. Over time my policy has changed so that now I only accept friend requests from people whom I feel I can trust. In other words, I’m not going to accept your friend request just because we’ve met or spent some time together, I would need to feel that we are actually friends to some extent.
In January of this year my sister called me and told me that she was having problems with her husband. They have been married for somewhere around 20 years (it’s complicated). She gave a few specifics regarding poor choices he had been making, and then she told me that the word “divorce” had come up. I told her that they both needed to go to counseling, and they needed it yesterday. She told me that they had an appointment with a counselor. I continued to pray for her, as they have had problems off and on over the years.
Fast forward to April. My sister sent me a message stating that her husband had moved out. I thought this was just a continuation of the problems they had been having. Then she informed me that he had moved in with a married woman with whom he has been committing adultery for the past several months. He has not just taken off his wedding ring, he has removed it from his finger, melted it, and thrown it into the fires of Mount Doom. It appears that he has irrevocably destroyed his marriage and his relationships with his kids.
More to the point of this post, he has destroyed his relationship with me. Don’t get me wrong: the importance of my relationship with him is insignificant when compared with the relationships that he should have preserved with his wife and children. I’m not his spouse or child, and yet his choices have still hurt me. I used to exchange texts with him about Cubs games. The first time I went to Wrigley Field, he was there with me. I used to talk to him about computers and sports and stuff. We used to joke around at family gatherings. All of that is gone forever.
I am not sure if he has truly trusted in Christ or not. While I understand that it is possible for believers to sin this badly, I still find it hard to believe that he would continually choose to sin against God in this way and destroy His family without any guilt or conviction from the indwelling Holy Spirit. And so I have been praying that he would either trust Christ or come back to Christ (whichever applies: only God knows). I have been praying that he would repent of his choices and do what is right.
While nothing is too hard for the Lord, I have advised my sister to protect herself in case he does not repent. Because of his choices, he is about to be divorced from his wife, he has hurt his family, and he continues to hurt them every day. Has my sister made mistakes? Sure she has. Everybody does. But nothing excuses abandoning your family. That’s why they say, “til death do us part.” Here is what they DON’T say:
“til one of us feels like he isn’t getting his needs met.”
“til one of us isn’t happy.”
“til we get tired of each other.”
“til one of us does something so bad it’s unforgivable.”
A variation of this vow is “…as long as we both shall live.” Certain people today have changed this to read, “…as long as we both shall love.” That invalidates the entire marriage and makes it the equivalent of a car lease (use each other for a while until something shinier comes along).
I hope my brother-in-law realizes what he has done, repents, and asks my sister for forgiveness. I hope that God convicts his heart so that he will either turn to God or return to God. No choice in his life is more important than his own personal salvation.
He has been living with this woman for over a month now. He has expressed no guilt, no remorse, and no desire to do what is right. Yesterday he posted something on Facebook that ripped open the wound he created a month ago. Here are three things he said:
- Some people are mad at him. Why is he surprised by this? If you willingly set my house on fire, destroying the foundation of my family’s living space, I would be mad at you. Certainly if you chose to destroy my family, anger is a natural reaction.
- He wonders if certain people were ever really his friends. Seriously? He is questioning people’s personal commitment to him while he is, by his daily choice to remain as he is, spitting on his own personal commitment to his wife and children? This is the definition of chutzpah.
- He has sacrificed a lot with the choice he made. Yes. He sacrificed his wife, his children, his future, his security, his relationship with God…. The list goes on. And what has he received for his “sacrifice”? Fulfillment of lust. The “happiness” gained from temporary attraction. was this sacrifice worth it? I hope he realizes soon that it isn’t worth it.
I know, some of you said “tl;dr” a long time ago, but I feel these are things that needed to be said. Since only five people read my blog anyway, I guess that’s ok. I didn’t write this post to offend anyone. This post is an open letter to my brother-in-law. He has stated in the past that he is a Christian If this is true, then I Corinthians 5:9-11 says that, because of his choices, I should not keep company with him. The goal here is that he repents and returns.
But until he does, we are no longer related in my eyes. This moves him from the “family” category to the “people I know” category. The question I now ask myself is, “Is he my friend?” When I consider his actions, I have to think, “no, he’s not. He has attacked my sister, my niece and nephews, and has caused pain to many others in my family. By this he has proven he is not my friend. And therefore I am removing him from my Facebook profile. I pray he repents and returns to his wife. However, that is up to him and God.