Imagine if you were married to someone whose singular focus was on how far they could push the envelope and still be married to you. What would be crossing the line, they would ask incessantly. Can I hold someone else’s hand and still be okay with you? Can I kiss them on the cheek? What about on the lips? Is heavy petting still okay? What constitutes cheating, really?
Also imagine that this selfsame life mate, only told you they loved you when they needed something from you, then seemed to forget you even exist the rest of the time and spent more time with strangers and odd people than they did with you.
Eventually, given the many years that transpired since you both pledged your lives to each other, you start to realize that it’s not love that is keeping your partner married to you if only in a legal fashion, it’s fear of divorce.
They are terrified of the prospect of divorce, and even though they show you no affection, attention, love, intimacy, or everything else that would constitute a healthy marriage, fear of the unknown compels them to keep up the charade. It’s not fear of losing you that keeps them; it’s fear of losing the life to which they have become accustomed.
Even though they don’t want to be reminded of it, they remember where they came from, that they were found in the gutter, half out of their minds with sin, and grief, hopelessness, and desperation, that you took pity on them and brought them into your home, tended to them, fed them, and made them whole again.
They want to keep living in the new home, wear nice clothes, and eat the abundant food; they just don’t want to have anything to do with you.
They’ve come to realize that you are longsuffering, and forgiving, and rather than correct their actions, they’ve come to abuse your inherent goodness, to the point that they flaunt their betrayal in full view of you, and the rest of the world.
At some point it even becomes difficult for them to admit that they are married, obfuscating and begging off the question whenever it arises because they feel as though it would be embarrassing somehow to admit that you are their betrothed. That is unless they happen to be among a group of individuals who know you, then they will readily puff out their chest and say, yes, I am married to this individual you so admire.
This, in my mind, is the perfect portrait of much of today’s church. They do not resemble the bride, resplendent in white without spot or wrinkle, but an abusive partner, who takes advantage of their mate, disregards them, belittles them, ignores them, betrays them, sullies their reputation, and still expects to be embraced and rewarded, unconditionally accepted, simply because they took a vow which they did not uphold or live up to.
It’s an odd thing that of the countless letters and e-mails I’ve gotten over the years inquiring as to whether drinking was okay, or gambling was okay, or premarital sex was okay, or addiction to porn was okay, not one inquired as to whether more prayer was okay, or more fasting, or more reading of the Word.
Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? An open-ended question if ever there was one.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.