When my church announced they would be kicking off the fall with a sermon series on marriage, yes, I rolled my eyes.
Because “Don’t we talk about marriage enough?” and “Isn’t the Church idolizing marriage?” And perhaps the answer to these questions is yes, but I was opporating out of a blind spot in my judgment. And isn’t that always the case with our sin?
One of our pastors who has been a long suffering mentor of mine told me he would be using a recent blog post of mine in his first sermon in the series, which was touching and humbling and blah, blah, blah.
Yeah, I was more concerned that my writing was being shared for the sake of showing all those married people that we’re here too! Singleness is just as relevant! (Hear the bitter demand for retribution?)
We’re living in a very devisive landscape these days. You can’t get on any social media site without reading something that demands you pick a side (preferably their own).
We stand on our soapboxes trying to out-yell one another into submitting to our own brand of justice. The noise is so loud and our justification so blinding that we don’t see the man on the soapbox across from us as human any longer. We just see him as wrong.
But scripture (not Abraham Lincoln!) tells us that a house divided cannot stand.
Here I was last Sunday waiting to hear that I as a single was a valued and necessary part of my community and I was annoyed when there was no application that applied to me specifically. I was too caught up in the us-and-them mentality that permeates my weekdays that I brought that into Sunday. I was operating out of defensiveness after not getting my way rather than thinking of my neighbor.
Jesus’ ministry was about laying down his right for the sake of the other and that is what he calls us to. Yes, the Church may idolize marriage, but trying to swing the pendulum to singleness helps no one.
“There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (If Paul was writing not to Galatia, but to the church in in America, I think he’d include “married or single, right or left”.)
Perhaps I need to get off my soapbox and interact with those I disagree with out of compassion rather than judgement. Perhaps I should seek unity and love before I seek being right only. This is the freedom my salvation bought.
We mourn division in the church, but what are we actually doing to heal it? Because if we think just screaming what we’re right about until those who disagree change their minds, that gap just continues to widen. What does it look like for us to climb down from being justified and give up my right in order to love my neighbor well?
4 thoughts on “Sweating Like A Single in a Marriage Series”
Having read your post in which you concentrated on embracing your role as Bride of Christ while awaiting being a bride of some man, I have thought of you often in this sermon series. I sit there wishing that our pastor wouldn’t just say, “There’s material for the single people here, too,” but that he’d also show WHY it applies to everyone in the room. Sigh. Because the crux of the material being presented is RELATING. Relating in our fallen, broken states with other broken, fallen people: spouses, yes, but also friends, parents, siblings, co-workers… I heartily wish we could stop making these series so specifically about marriage and make it about relating so half the congregation doesn’t feel alienated and automatically tune out or have such a hard time finding how tremendously applicable it is to their current state – and for everyone to apply it to every relationship they have. Busy Bees, Gracious Hostesses and Tough Girls happen everywhere, not just in a marriage. Hang in there!
Thanks for reading and commenting, Jen! I have felt very sensitive for my peers as well as those divorced or widowed.
I listened to yesterday’s sermon today (because with the magic of scheduling, I wasn’t there) and felt like this had some more universal takeaways.
It’s hard. Yes, I think those who are married need support for their stage in life, but we all do. It’s a hard line to walk and I don’t know if there is a good way to walk that tension.
I appreciate you reading, so thank you!