I’ll never forget when I learned how God writes straight on crooked lines. A few years ago, I had coffee with a middle-aged man in our church. Henry was gifted and full of potential. However, I noticed that he’d stayed in the shadows and refused to get involved. When I asked him why, he replied, “Oh, I wish I could serve, but I’m divorced.”
I was flabbergasted. “Who told you divorced means disqualified?”
He took the next twenty or so minutes to tell me his story. He and his first wife married young. Neither one of them was a Christ-follower during their marriage, and they both came from broken and dysfunctional homes deeply bound by sexual sins. Sadly, during their ten-year marriage, both of them had multiple affairs. The fact that their marriage had survived beyond a year or two surprised everybody who knew them. Eventually, they “fell out of love” and went their separate ways.
After another failed marriage and two DUIs, Henry hit rock bottom and ended up in AA a few years later. His sponsor was the first person ever to tell Henry about Jesus. Eventually, he became a devout follower of Christ, and within another year or so, he married a godly woman who loved Jesus with all her heart.
He was Lutheran when they got married, and she was active in the Church of Christ. Neither one felt comfortable in the other’s denomination, so they decided to start fresh at a new church in their neighborhood. After just a few months, their pastor told them, “You are welcome to attend our church, but you can’t serve here since you are living in sin.” According to this pastor’s theology, anyone who divorces for anything other than adultery and remarries another lives in an unforgivable state of sin. They ended up leaving that church in humiliation.
With tears in his eyes, Henry said to me, “We had no idea that God saw our marriage as a mistake and sinful, but we couldn’t divorce each other. If that means we can’t serve God, so be it.”
How God Writes Straight on Crooked Lines
As Henry told me his story, I went from dumbfounded to mad (not at him, but at the pastor who broke his heart). How could anyone say to this man he was disqualified because of sin that had happened before he was a Christ-follower?