The reaction you have to that word depends so much on who you are, on what you believe, and on what you’ve lived through. So when we react to and talk about the Russel Wilson situation that came out in the news, what should we think as believers?
1. Most people don’t go into marriage with divorce in mind. I’d even dare to say that the Christian view of marriage would orient you in such a way that you are planning to be with that person for the rest of your life. A wise friend, Jim Gernatt, once told me that before marriage… Satan will do everything he can to push you too close to your significant other. He wants you to make sexual mistakes and leaps of intimacy that God designed for marriage. But when you are married? Satan flips the switch. He wants to do everything in his power to pull those two people away from each other, and from God’s design. If that’s the case, remember that the two people involved in this story were probably attacked from every direction. In Ephesians 6:16, Satan’s attacks are compared to flaming arrows. You can assume that both of these people were under fire.
2. There are no “heroes”. We make this mistake with the Bible, too. We want to teach kids to read the stories in the Old Testament and find heroes with qualities to aspire toward. David’s bravery and Sampson’s strength and Moses’ success. Those are great qualities, but they have to be described and explained truthfully. The issue that pops up with teaching our kids to revere these Biblical heroes? Well… adultery… and weakness… and cowardice. From all I’ve seen, Russell is a great guy that strives to live for the Lord. But this definitely points to the necessary caution we should take when idolizing a person. Any time you put someone up as a paradigm of the “Christian man”, he’s not going to really fit the bill. Jesus already did that.
3. I’m telling you your story, not hers. Now, Wilson is in a unique position for our society because he plays football and has millions of people tuned into his “story”. I love the bolded quote from “The Horse and His Boy”. When Shasta asks Aslan to tell him a part of Aravis’ story, Aslan pulls him back to worrying about his own story. This doesn’t mean we ignore lessons from other’s lives or stay secluded in our walk with God. But it always reminds me that I don’t know their story. I don’t know that marriage or that home, I don’t know those two people well enough to speak to what this divorce means or what it says. I can only trust that God is guiding their story as he has guided mine.
4. Pray first? The tempting thing is to say, “That’s a shame.” or “I guess he’s not all he said he was.” What if we prayed first? I’ll never forget a Christian comedian that described the almost-divorce between his wife and he. He said that it was like his skin being ripped completely apart. He explained that the Bible is right. Marriage makes two people one. To pull them apart through divorce is immensely painful. I’d say they need prayer, if that’s the case. Your judgments on the situation are probably gongs if they aren’t paired with thoughtful prayer for a fellow believer.
5. But for the grace of God– Geoff Bradford did Katie and I’s wedding. One of the coolest parts of it? We had to admit, right then and there, that we don’t have what it takes. But for the grace of God, Katie and I would have never met! But for the grace of God, we would never survive a lifetime together. But God is good. I think it’s hard to look at a situation like Russell’s and understand the purpose behind it. What’s going on there? How will He use this for His kingdom? Those questions rattle my brain, too. I wish I was content in knowing and trusting that God has a good, and righteous answer (because he’s good, and he’s righteous). But often I think my questions are too deep for God to answer. They really aren’t.
Prayer can go in two ways I think. We hear something and we pray for damage already done. It’d be cool to hear about believers praying for Russell and his wife. But prayer can also be hopeful for the future. I know that my first thought when I read that story was that I hope Katie and I never, ever have to go through something like that. Thankfully, God’s grace is sufficient and effective.