Eric Dishongh, PhD
Connecting others to Jesus and His church as a husband, dad, minister, counselor, professor and friend
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***The following is adapted from my recent presentation at Elevate 2013, a Spiritual Enrichment Workshop hosted by Heritage Christian University in Florence, Alabama. All of the lessons from the workshop will be available in a couple of weeks at HCU’s website (www.hcu.edu).***
I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of Elevate 2013 here at Heritage Christian University. I believe that this year’s theme, “The Spiritual and the Sexual,” is particularly relevant for the Lord’s church and for our society.
Our focus today is “Helping Family and Friends through a Divorce.” Before we get to that, I just want to make it clear that I’m a big believer in marriage and that I try everything possible to help people remain married.
Chris August’s song Restore captures the problem in today’s world about marriages falling apart:
Nobody's growing old together, we've made it easy just to quit
Love has become a negative percentage, why do we bother to commit
We've got a long list of excuses, ways we try to justify
Well, I propose to you the truth is, marriage does not have to die
I know you're feeling like it’s falling apart and it can't go on anymore
But God is a God who knows how to heal so just give it up to the Lord
And He will restore.
The Bible teaches that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16); however, the Bible also teaches that God loves those who have been divorced (John 4:1-26).
As much as we strive to restore the sanctity of marriage and as much as we strive to teach others about what the Bible says about marriage, divorce, and remarriage, the reality is that many people will still be impacted by divorce in some form or fashion.
With all of that said, I have come up with a list of 20 items that may be helpful to you or someone you know who is going through a divorce (If you have questions or comments about anything on this list, let me know.).
1. Pray, pray, and then pray some more.
2. Read the Bible every day (Ephesians, Philippians, James, etc.).
3. Keep going to church.
4. Make an appointment with a licensed, Christian counselor.
5. Go to the doctor.
6. Eat healthy (even if you have too little or too much of an appetite).
7. Exercise every day or at least 3 times a week.
8. Write in a journal every day.
9. Don’t do anything drastic (i.e. quitting your job, pulling the kids out of school, etc.).
10. Stay away from alcohol and drugs.
11. Stay away from pornography.
12. Pay close attention to bank accounts and credit cards.
13. Figure out something that you enjoy and do it.
14. Be cautious with social media.
15. Spend a lot of time with others as opposed to being by yourself all the time.
16. During the separation, don't hang out 1 on 1 with anyone of the opposite sex.
17. Get legal advice from an attorney.
18. In cases of infidelity, save everything. (You will probably need these items during the legal process, and it will help you keep a clean conscience in the future if you decide to remarry.)
19. Consider a custody mediation instead of a custody evaluation.
20. Establish a co-parenting plan with the children’s best interest in mind.
As we close, here are a few words of encouragement from the Bible…
Joshua 1:9… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Romans 12:17-18, 21… Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
My life purpose is to connect others to Jesus and His church by providing a Christian example and by reaching out on spiritual, relational, academic, and community levels. -- Eric