Divorce has changed my view. Completely. I used to believe that if one partner just tried really hard and took all the right steps, their spouse would respond, and the problems would be solved. I used to believe “it takes two.” Only I thought that meant it takes two to cause a divorce, now I see that it takes two to make a marriage. It only takes one to break it.
Through mine, I’ve discovered most divorces happen because of adultery and/or abuse. And the worst part? Just when a person’s been severely traumatized and victimized the typical reaction is to offer blame and judgement. It used to be my reaction too (even if I didn’t say it out loud). I’ve always believed those were legitimate reasons for divorce. I just had no idea how often that was the case. Because guess what people don’t typically do…they don’t go around announcing that they’ve been abused or been cheated on. Instead they hang their head and try to keep living, hoping you’ll give them a chance; hoping you’ll believe they aren’t eternally flawed, irreparably broken.
I’ve discovered that my primal reaction when I see someone suffering severely is to figure out how I can prevent that same suffering for myself. Putting the blame on the one hurting is my quickest means to dismissing the chance that it could happen to me. If I can figure out what mistakes they made and just not make those mistakes then I can protect myself. The problem is when I replace care and support with blame and judgement, I waste my time evaluating the person rather than supporting the person. In the long run, it protects me from nothing and adds pain to the already injured. It’s ugly and it’s wrong. It comes from a place of fear and self-preservation. And nothing good ever comes from acting in fear.
I’m not saying there is never a place to confront someone who’s making poor choices that you clearly see are going to lead to pain and suffering for them and their loved ones. I think that’s usually fairly obvious. I’m talking about when there has been clear sin and abuse and we place blame on the victim. That is also not to say that both people were not guilty of making mistakes, but that’s true of all marriage. No one is perfect. But this isn’t a post about when divorce is ok, it’s about caring for the hurting, which Jesus was the best at.
Whether it be divorce, sexual assault, sickness, even the loss of a child, it’s so much easier to make it the victim’s fault. We can blissfully move on, free of responsibility to care for the injured, free of worry that we might suffer the same fate. But oh the damage we do. Can you fathom being publicly picked apart? All your mistakes, all your faults, now dinner conversation for the world while you lay bleeding out on the floor? If you know someone. A victim. Yes a victim. Move past your fear, lift up the judgement blinders, and start applying pressure. Don’t leave their side. Feed them and care for their wounds. I know I wouldn’t have made it if it weren’t for the people in my life who came to my rescue. Let go of the fear. Drop the blame. Go rescue.