Married... but not.

You have all been so very helpfull in the past with similar issues; I thought I would ask your advice on a "new" one.

A girl falls into her swimming pool and drowns. Her father sees her lifeless body floating in the pool and races out to save her. He calls for help, and begins CPR. Her heart begins to beat again, her lungs begin to work... but she remains in a coma for 6 months. Eventually, she regains consciousness, but requires life long medical care. Because of her condition, she is granted 100% disability, and at age 18 qualifies for assistance under SSI.

She meets a man with whom she wants to share her life. They want to marry and have a family. But, if she marries, the SSI will be discontinued, and there is no way both of them together could ever cover the cost of her ongoing medical care. They begin to live together. They have children together.

One day a person from a local church hangs and invitation to Vacation Bible School on their door. The children attend. They get saved. The father attends, and is saved. The mother attends, and accepts Christ as Savior. The membership welcomes them and loves them with sacrificial love. They attend more regularly than some long-time members. They grow in the Lord. They bear Spiritual fruit.

They *want* to be married. They are committed to each other, with no thought of ever disolving their family. In some states, their situation would be considered a common law marriage. There is some confusion as to if that is the case in the state in which they live. But if they do file for a marriage licence and go through with a civil marriage, they will be loose the ability to continue her the long term medical care she needs.

One of the suggestions to resolve their conundrum has been to hold a marriage ceremony for the couple in the church, officiated by the pastor, but to *not* apply for a marriage license.

If these people came to you for advice, what would you suggest?

This is an actual situation I am aware of this week. Your advice is welcomed.

6961 reads
Rev Karl's picture

I guess the *BIG* question is this:

Is a marriage that takes place in a church - held in the church, supported by the church, sanctioned by the church - a valid marriage if it is not registered (wedding license) with the local governement?

Daniel's picture

Karl, hopefully today I will have time to send something to you, but I would ask 'what constitutes marriage Biblically?' In another thread a book was mentioned, "God, Marriage, and Family." I picked it up shortly thereafter for about 10$ with shipping. It has a fairly decent chapter on this subject starting on pg 81. (You can read that chapter online through google books) Otherwise, here is his definition of marriage

Quote:
marriage is an exclusive heterosexual covenant between one man and one woman, ordained and sealed by God, preceded by a public leaving of parents, consummated in sexual union, issuing in permanent mutually supportive partnership, and normally crowned by the gift of children
Also, I would go back to Genesis 2:24-25 and work through that passage with the couple and come to a conclusion from that. And at that, I will stop and hopefully PM you later with my completed thought.

Jim's picture

Quote:
A kindly elderly couple live together but have not married. The woman lost her husband 10 years ago and the man has been a widower for 2 years. They are obviously in love and committed to each other.

One day a person from a local church hangs and invitation to church on their door. They attend and along the way get saved. The membership welcomes them and loves them with sacrificial love. They attend more regularly than some long-time members. They grow in the Lord. They bear Spiritual fruit.

They *want* to be married. They are committed to each other, but if they do file for a marriage license and go through with marriage, they will be loose substantial financial benefits including some long term medical care the woman needs.

The scenario of cohabiting seniors is common (link): http://marriage.about.com/cs/cohabitation/a/cohabseniors.htm

Answer this and you will answer the other.

(To me the answer is obvious)

Rev Karl's picture

I have personally known couples who were married 40+ years, and legally divorced, yet remained living together as husband and wife. They did this because the combined individual benefits of Medicare were much more substantial and able to meet their medical needs that if they applied as a married couple. He did not leave her, and she did not leave him. Were they wrong to continue to live together?

I have no intention on "arguing" (speaking the truth in love!:D) in favor of cohabitation outside of marriage. It's wrong. You and I will agree on that point. So will the couple mentioned in the OP.

If the couple were to come before the church, stand before God, and exchange marriage vows, but *not* apply for a marriage license with the state, would it still be a valid marriage before the Lord?

Are there other issues involved that I am not thinking about?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Rev Karl wrote:
I have personally known couples who were married 40+ years, and legally divorced, yet remained living together as husband and wife. They did this because the combined individual benefits of Medicare were much more substantial and able to meet their medical needs that if they applied as a married couple.
No, in fact they are just what you described, divorce. Now, they answered to the Lord and no one else for their decision therefore I hope it is not taken as a "judgment" against them on my part, that isn't the point. Unusual conditions may call for exceptional decisions at times and I am not saying this is one that does or does not qualify, again that is not the point. In this case their life before God in this context is what they have to answer to but as to their being married before God, no they are not.

Rev Karl's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
Rev Karl wrote:
If the couple were to come before the church, stand before God, and exchange marriage vows, but *not* apply for a marriage license with the state, would it still be a valid marriage before the Lord?

In the US, it is not a marriage without a marriage license

So, if this were another country, this would be acceptable?

Jack's picture

I guess that depends on national or local law. I know many other countries require all marriages be performed first by the state and, if desired, afterward solemnized according to religious custom.

Regardless, unless we assume a hypothetical country where the government never inquires into marital status (e.g., taxes, census), the couple referred to in the OP will always be engaging in an act of deception. That is, even if you assume the legitimacy of the church marriage, they are holding themselves out to the state to be unmarried.

I understand the desire for both the services and for marriage, but Christianity doesn't seem to allow this sort of pragmatism.

ChrisC's picture

Jim Peet wrote:
In the US, it is not a marriage without a marriage license
not exactly true… there are still 11 states that allow common-law marriages ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common-law_marriage_in_the_United_States ]wikipedia article ). i don't know how a common-law marriage would affect SSI coverage. i expect that if common-law marriage was allowed in their state, it would count just like any other marriage in the resources calculation for SSI eligibility.

the only solutions i see are:

  • getting married, forfeiting SSI, husband continues working, and having medical expenses above their means paid by the church.
  • getting married, husband stops working, couple liquidates whatever property necessary to fall below the limit and qualify for SSI, probably some living expenses paid by the church.
Rev Karl's picture

Jack wrote:
I guess that depends on national or local law. I know many other countries require all marriages be performed first by the state and, if desired, afterward solemnized according to religious custom.

Regardless, unless we assume a hypothetical country where the government never inquires into marital status (e.g., taxes, census), the couple referred to in the OP will always be engaging in an act of deception. That is, even if you assume the legitimacy of the church marriage, they are holding themselves out to the state to be unmarried.

I understand the desire for both the services and for marriage, but Christianity doesn't seem to allow this sort of pragmatism.

I think this is where I might find myself uncomfortable with the situation. Honestly, I think the church-only wedding (as a stand-alone issue) would be OK, but the deception gives me a problem.

Or maybe God will provide another solution. The couple is growing in the Lord, as evidenced by Spiritual Fruit in their lives. I know (promised in Scripture, have personally seen it happen) God honors that.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Regardless of what you think of gov't 'regulations' defining legal marriage, you can't go around telling people you are married, but then on your tax return claim you are not. Either you is or you isn't- pick one and be consistent about it.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Rev Karl wrote:
Jack wrote:
I guess that depends on national or local law. I know many other countries require all marriages be performed first by the state and, if desired, afterward solemnized according to religious custom.

Regardless, unless we assume a hypothetical country where the government never inquires into marital status (e.g., taxes, census), the couple referred to in the OP will always be engaging in an act of deception. That is, even if you assume the legitimacy of the church marriage, they are holding themselves out to the state to be unmarried.

I understand the desire for both the services and for marriage, but Christianity doesn't seem to allow this sort of pragmatism.

I think this is where I might find myself uncomfortable with the situation. Honestly, I think the church-only wedding (as a stand-alone issue) would be OK, but the deception gives me a problem.

Or maybe God will provide another solution. The couple is growing in the Lord, as evidenced by Spiritual Fruit in their lives. I know (promised in Scripture, have personally seen it happen) God honors that.

Government is a divine institution and marriage is a divine institution given for all people everywhere. Marriage nor government are uniquely Christian, they are applicable to all men everywhere. Where government sets a standard to recognized a marriage as legal or binding, the believer is obligated to observe and obey that requirement. They are not free to disregard the divine mechanism for social order and humanity's perpetuity, there is nothing honorable about that.

So, if a believer finds some illumination from God going on in their life in a context where they are in opposition to a rather clear protocol of God, it should never be read as God's validation of their insubordination in that area, rather a display of his mercy and grace that in spite of man's state where at no point can he say he obeys God on all matters (no matter how faithful you believe yourself to be), our Lord nevertheless graciously brings us along in our walk and does not deny us illumination.

But even more significantly is the mishandling of the divine institutions and the unfortunately apparent unfamiliarity that so many believers have with them (yes I know I have another post owned to Dan and it is forthcoming). First, marriage is not a Christian institution nor should it be viewed as a proprietary (the property of) feature of the church. That is to say, the church has no claim on making a marriage valid per the Bible. In fact, if a church pretends they are superior to the state in this matter or imagines they even have any such authority in this matter and attempts to usurp the authority of the state (an authority, by the way, which has been granted to the state/government by God himself,) they become a participant in a certain form of anarchy and unrighteous disobedience that is not sanctioned by God.

Marriage is for all people everywhere, Christian and non-Christian as designed by God, this cannot be repeated enough. What makes a marriage valid is not a church ceremony, otherwise no marriage outside a church is valid. Ceremonies in a church are made valid because the parties involved has taken care of the proper licensing for recognition by the state for a legal (and legal is s divine mechanism via government) status. And understand, when God ordained government as a divine institution for humanity's perpetuity, it is no light thing to say what is legal by government, what is made valid by their licensing is meaningless to God. This is a rather contrary position in which one places themselves because government is the very mechanism, the very institution God himself ordained to deal with these very matters and establish, recognize and enforce boundaries.

The protocol for marriage is established within the nation of which you reside. The only place we are given license to not acquiesce to government is where the state attempts to force us to disobey God and at that point the state is out of bounds and without any authority (though we may suffer for it) and we are free to follow our conscience before God in such matters. In the case being described above there is no place where the government appears to be attempting to force anyone to disobey God.

Rev Karl's picture

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
First, marriage is not a Christian institution nor should it be viewed as a proprietary (the property of) feature of the church. That is to say, the church has no claim on making a marriage valid per the Bible. In fact, if a church pretends they are superior to the state in this matter or imagines they even have any such authority in this matter and attempts to usurp the authority of the state (an authority, by the way, which has been granted to the state/government by God himself,)

My response here is not and argument against your position, merely questions for ongoing sharpening.

Your Comment: "That is to say, the church has no claim on making a marriage valid per the Bible."

Is there Scripture to support this position?

Your Comment: "...if a church pretends they are superior to the state in this matter or imagines they even have any such authority in this matter and attempts to usurp the authority of the state... "

How does this principle, applied broadly, stack up against Acts 5:29?

A friend and I were discussing the increase (over decades) in the number of marriages that end in divorce. His observation was that 50-60 years ago, in society in general, marriage was a religious covenant. Whereas today marriage has become merely a civil contract. (And, as we see in the news daily, contracts were made to be broken.)

So, has marriage ever been anything more than a civil contract? If not, how (and why) did the faith-based institutions of the day (temple, synagogue, church, mosque, what-have-you) become involved?

Honest questions, humbly asked.

Rev Karl's picture

If it seems that I am arguing both sides of this issue, please understand that I really don't know what the answer to this couple's issue should be. I did not put this on a thread to promote or defend one position or another. I am hoping that, by this discussion, you guys (the generic, Yankee term "guys", which includes both genders.:D ) will make me sharper.

Daniel's picture

Alex, your whole thing doesn't make all that much sense. Marriage was not given to the state to regulate. Marriage was ordained by God pre-fall and pre-government. This is why we have such a huge mess with marriage these days. We are placing marriage in the hands of the government to control. So it is no wonder that government is seeking to redefine marriage.

But if we go back to Genesis 2:24-25 we will see what is marriage: leave, cleave, form one flesh, and not be ashamed of our nakedness together. Anything else is superfluous and not needed to be considered married in God's eyes. Now, if the state says we need a marriage license, that is fine. But we need to remember that the state does not define marriage, nor does the state regulate marriage. So do we do away with marriage licenses? No. But we need to ask ourselves why we do them. My wife and I did them for tax purposes. If for whatever reason it would have been better for tax reasons to not have a marriage license, we would not have had one.(we still performed Genesis 2:24-25, leave, cleaved, formed one flesh, and were not ashamed of our nakedness together)

So I am putting it out there, where do we see marriage being defined or regulated beyond Genesis 2:24-25? Where do we see that we need a marriage license to be considered married in God's eyes? Where do we see marriage changing from a covenant between us and God to a contract between us and the state?

I think I had mentioned it earlier, but read the chapter from "God, Marriage, and Family" off of google books.(page 81)

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Rev Karl wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
First, marriage is not a Christian institution nor should it be viewed as a proprietary (the property of) feature of the church. That is to say, the church has no claim on making a marriage valid per the Bible. In fact, if a church pretends they are superior to the state in this matter or imagines they even have any such authority in this matter and attempts to usurp the authority of the state (an authority, by the way, which has been granted to the state/government by God himself,)

My response here is not and argument against your position, merely questions for ongoing sharpening.

Your Comment: "That is to say, the church has no claim on making a marriage valid per the Bible."

Is there Scripture to support this position?

I have already alluded to several doctrinal topics which seem to be absent in any recognition by you of doctrinal or biblical references. While every statement uttered is not posted with a Scripture address by me, it appears none of yours are peppered as well. Instead there seems to be an understanding of some elementary doctrinal concepts being assumed as recognized and understood and only need topical reference, hence I followed suit. But to give you more than the hen I will give you some eggs.

Yes, there is Scripture to support this position, *firstly, the doctrine of ecclesiology. As we learn in the doctrine of ecclesiology regarding its instruction within orthodox Protestantism and even Baptist fundamentalism, it specifically teaches the divine structure, authority and limits of the church and one of those specific limits is the recognition of the divine institution of government which is ordained by God for civil regulation while the church is ordained for the preservation and propagation of the gospel to the unsaved the the dissemination of Bible doctrines and spiritual Shepherding for believers. That is to say more basically, civil issues are ruled upon and regulated by the God ordained institution created for that function, government and ecclesiastical issues are ruled upon and regulated by the God ordained institution created for that function during the church age, namely the church (which by the way is where the concept of separation of church and government finds some proper exercise).

*Secondly, the doctrine of divine institutions and more specifically the doctrine of government as revealed throughout Scripture in its varying dispensations and the divine protocol of it scope and function among humanity. Marriage being a divine institution of a "civil order" is properly subject to the divine mechanism intended for its regulation, government.

(*In the matter of posting specific Scripture addresses for the entire bible doctrines of ecclesiology, divine institutions and government it is rather impractical. If you are unfamiliar with any or all of these as a doctrinal topic then tell me and I will probably say our ability to discuss the matter will be limited to where we are now seeing you would be without an adequate frame of reference for proper development. However, if you are familiar with these then it should be understandable that you know the references and the doctrines and need not have me list the specific Scriptures. Now, if you believe that any of these doctrines teach otherwise, meaning other than what I have stated regarding our topic, show me where the dispute exists.)

Rev Karl wrote:
Your Comment: "...if a church pretends they are superior to the state in this matter or imagines they even have any such authority in this matter and attempts to usurp the authority of the state... "

How does this principle, applied broadly, stack up against Acts 5:29?

Quote:
29Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!
I have already addressed this and since you may have missed it, I gladly will repost it:
Quote:
The protocol for marriage is established within the nation of which you reside. The only place we are given license to not acquiesce to government is where the state attempts to force us to disobey God and at that point the state is out of bounds and without any authority (though we may suffer for it) and we are free to follow our conscience before God in such matters. In the case being described above there is no place where the government appears to be attempting to force anyone to disobey God.

I do find a bit troubling though your pursuit seems to not be lending itself to recognizing the weight of arguments contrary to that of the status of these people to which you refer. While it might be you recognize you are not settled, you did simply not reply to a rather forceful portion of my argument which does release one too conveniently if they are weighing this matter. Tell me Karl, how do you respond to this which I stated earlier? What is your argument, specifically against it?:

Quote:
And understand, when God ordained government as a divine institution for humanity's perpetuity, it is no light thing to say what is legal by government, what is made valid by their licensing is meaningless to God. This is a rather contrary position in which one places themselves because government is the very mechanism, the very institution God himself ordained to deal with these very matters and establish, recognize and enforce boundaries.

Rev Karl wrote:
So, has marriage ever been anything more than a civil contract? If not, how (and why) did the faith-based institutions of the day (temple, synagogue, church, mosque, what-have-you) become involved?

Honest questions, humbly asked.

They are of course more than a civil contract, they are divinely recognized whether the parties know that or not and they are also a personal contract based upon personal integrity, not providential circumstances. The words "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh" are as special class and condition devised by God for the divine institution of marriage, a phenomenon which occurs in all marriages, again whether one is a believer or a non-believer and whether they are cognizant of it or not.

Pastor Harold's picture

The real problem is not how to reconcile God / Government or Church / Civil. Marriage is established by God. SSI is established by the government. Which is more important to them? A Choice should be sought, not a Compromise. This will take some time and Christian growth.

I faced this same thing about two years ago with an elderly couple. They chose marriage and God took care of ALL their financial burdens. Be patient with them and our Lord will show them the way they should go. He will also give them all the grace and faith need to fully trust Him.

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Daniel wrote:
Alex, your whole thing doesn't make all that much sense.
To you anyway, to many teachers of systematic theology from whom I have drawn my response, it is not just sensible but quite doctrinal.

Daniel wrote:
Marriage was not given to the state to regulate.
On the contrary, government was given to man by God as one of the divine institutions for humanity's perpetuity and is in fact the observable institution specifically intended for civil regulation and rule.

Daniel wrote:
But if we go back to Genesis 2:24-25 we will see what is marriage: leave, cleave, form one flesh, and not be ashamed of our nakedness together. Anything else is superfluous and not needed to be considered married in God's eyes. Now, if the state says we need a marriage license, that is fine. But we need to remember that the state does not define marriage, nor does the state regulate marriage. So do we do away with marriage licenses? No. But we need to ask ourselves why we do them. My wife and I did them for tax purposes. If for whatever reason it would have been better for tax reasons to not have a marriage license, we would not have had one.(we still performed Genesis 2:24-25, leave, cleaved, formed one flesh, and were not ashamed of our nakedness together)

So I am putting it out there, where do we see marriage being defined or regulated beyond Genesis 2:24-25? Where do we see that we need a marriage license to be considered married in God's eyes? Where do we see marriage changing from a covenant between us and God to a contract between us and the state?

I think I had mentioned it earlier, but read the chapter from "God, Marriage, and Family" off of google books.(page 81)


Your anarchical posture for marriage has often been published and soundly rejected by steady hands upon proper scrutiny. From a distance it appears noble, this taking a wife and she acquiescing and you both by-passing the social order of recognition and the divine institution God created for such proprietary functions and "doing your thing" in the name of God, love and "cleavology". But ignoring what God has placed as the institution for order and rule that you may make your own and justify it with a scant use of God's Word is perilous to say the least.

Daniel's picture

Alex, it is not anarchical as it has structure and does not produce anarchy. Marriage finds its definition and regulation within Genesis. This view does not seek to regulate or redefine marriage, but to put it in its proper place.

Second, I am not making my own order or rule, I am simply going back to Genesis to define and regulate marriage. (which is where the state should derive its powers to define marriage) What happens when government says marriage does not have to be heterosexual, but can be homosexual or incestuous, etc? We, then, as Christians go back to Genesis to define marriage. But what do we do with the government.

Third, the state does not even use marriage licenses to regulate marriage. They use them to regulate taxes and other state institutions.

Although I may sound like one of the fringe theologians on this, I am not saying these things to get rid of marriage licenses. I think they are perfectly acceptable. I just do not think we need to, nor should, place the definition and regulation of marriage within the state. For one, marriage, as I said, was prefall. Not only that, but there were many marriages that took place before government was instituted.(Genesis 9:6) So unless we are saying that they were not marriages, then there is a much more base regulation of marriage than the state.

Anne Sokol's picture

I don't really have chapter/verse for this, but I do think that there is validity for the necessity of civil marriage. It's so much dependent on the fabric of how a society works, even just considering practical things.

like, we couldn't get an american visa for my (now) husband until we had a legal marriage certificate.

i'm immigrating to ukraine now, and my golden key is our marriage certificate.

i help a lady who's also a foreigner here, and her password into getting her documents, legal status, and any type of social support is her marriage license.

i mean, at the very least, the legal license is probably the best protection fro a woman in many/most societies, since she is usually, in worst case scenario, left high and dry caring for the kids and not able to get a suffiently-paying job. The mariage license gives her certain legal rights that can be invaluable protection and provision for her. however, in a muslim country, for example, i'm not sure the same ideas hold true. also, it may not be true in the welfare system of the U.S. for example, and single women might use childbearing as a way to get govt support and cop out of marrital responsibilties.

I will acknowlege that i am just talking pragmatics here, which is actually the heart of the question of this thread b/c in this case, just the opposite pragmatics is true. The legal marriage ends the govt help b/c it presumes the husband will be sufficient to meet the need.

look at it this way: they seem to sense the need to be legally married, but they are trusting in the government to pay her medical needs. So, is God using the government to provide for them? is He arranging for their non-legally-married status as a means to provide for them?

well . . . . i seriously doubt that. but let's suppose it's in the realm of possibility. seems like in one way, the couple really wants to be married, legally.

So maybe i would approach it more from not how the Bible/God views marriage, per se. But approach it more from the angle of trusting God. is God giving them the desire to be legally married and asking them to trust Him to provide for them? They need to seek that answer themselves. I don't think God will lead them wrong. And then it will become more clear in their own hearts if God wants/requires legal marriage for them.

Becky Petersen's picture

Anne Sokol wrote:

look at it this way: they seem to sense the need to be legally married, but they are trusting in the government to pay her medical needs. So, is God using the government to provide for them? is He arranging for their non-legally-married status as a means to provide for them?

If they wait another year or two, then socialized medical care in the states should be able to take care of them--married or single.

Matthew Eastland's picture

Yes, I am very late coming into this conversation, but I was reading through it to see what people said, and I wanted to add something to the discussion.

Does the state's endorsement of a marriage make the people married? No.
Using that line of logic could lead to the point of considering those that cannot be married in God's view of marriage, like a homosexual couple, as being considered to be married.

Does the lack of a state's endorsement mean a couple is not married in the eyes of God? No.
Marriage was instituted by God before the founding of nations or civil government and was practiced throughout scripture without the role of civil government. Just look at Isaac and Rebekah; no one was involved in the matter other than the parents of the couple, the man bringing them together, themselves, and God.

However, none of those things are really the point of this discussion, though that seems to be what people have pursued while going over this.

No, there is no direct verse that says what to do in this case, but there are very strong scriptural principles that do speak on it.

1. Being honest in the sight of men (Rom 12:17, I Cor 8:21).
Not to be insulting in the least to the couple in question or the situation, but what this situation boils down to is a choice to be less than honest in an effort to avoid potentially harmful circumstances. The only reason for not pursuing a marriage license to be known as a married couple legally is because of the fear of losing the monetary aid they are getting. You haven't mentioned any moral or ethical objection to having a marriage license, so I presume that's not the case.
The fact that they want to be married in the eyes of God is wonderful, and truthfully they don't need a paper from the government to say that they are, but their deliberate choice to not notify the government of such in order to avoid the potential repercussions is a problem.
Honestly, the response that I would have to that is that it should be obvious to you, them, and everyone that they are pursuing a course that is less than totally honest and open before men, as Paul said we should be. This is not only a disobedience to scripture, but it is also a potential to slight the name of Christ publicly if they are discovered and punished for it.
For the sake of testimony before the world and the sake of total obedience to the principles of God, I would say they need to follow the full legal formalities.

2. Submitting to civil authority (Rom 13:1-7, I Pet 2:12-17)
The thing is that both of those passages speak about obeying every ordinance. Of course we know that when those commands contradict those of God, we follow God first, but up to and unless they do such, we are to obey and submit. There is no command by God that is being dishonored by obeying this command, so they should obey the proper civil laws. That means declaring themselves legally married before the government.
Also, both of those passages speak of how Christians by obeying the laws that are onerous to them show the world that they are different and give a testimony for the sake of God by doing so. The truth of the matter is that doing the opposite also provides the opposite example to the world.

 

I know it's a hard thing to say, and I know it must be difficult for them, but they need to do the legal thing and get legally married in the eyes of the state.
This poses a potential sacrifice and possible pain for them, but it is being done for the cause of Christ. I can't think of a better way to follow Him than to make a difficult choice and sacrifice for His sake. Also, He has always shown a way of rewarding and protecting those that make such steps for Him.

Rev Karl's picture

The couple involved split up. She kicked him out of the house. The reason doesn't matter. He spent many months, close to a year, trying to get back into her good graces. No success.

 

Then he ran into an old girlfriend, recently divorced. They hooked up, and he is now staying at her house. (I know this is true, because the house is across the street from my house.) 

 

How do we apply Biblical principles *now*, when our compassion lead us to ignore them 4 years ago?

 

We messed up. Big time.

JC's picture

Rev Karl,

From my reading of this thread, there seem to be many more issues to this story than whether they 'officially got married or not'.   For one, I am a little concerned that they were so desperate to retain life long government welfare, when they seemed capable of grappling with complex life issues.  

 

In terms of applying compassion:  If you have been ignoring them, stop.   Start interacting with them with the goal of discipleship.  Engaging with people does not mean you endorse their decisions.

Jeremy