Divorce is one of those experiences in life about which it is easy to be very judgmental until said subject comes knocking on your own family’s door. I remember many years ago (and I do mean many!) divorce was one of those subjects talked about very little. In some ways anyone who personally went through a divorce or who had a family member who did so was silently labeled as “weak or spiritually shallow” and sometimes even shunned by his/her own family. However, as most of you would agree, today’s world is very different.
My purpose today is not to defend or refute divorce and all of the “rights and wrongs” about it according to Scripture, but, to remind each of us in kids’ ministry that divorce (and I have personally never observed an exception) is always hardest on the kids of the mother and father going through the divorce. My family’s experience in the past year with my oldest daughter’s separation and impending divorce has helped heighten my awareness of this truth. I love my daughter with all my heart and pray for her best in the midst of this difficult situation, but, as I have watched my two precious granddaughters navigate the waters of their parents’ divorce, I would challenge each of you to reflect on these observations:
Kids whose parents are divorcing need:
- Extra, extra measures of unconditional love. Many children feel guilty that maybe they have been part of the cause for the divorce. They need to be reassured over and over that mom’s and dad’s issues were not caused by the child(ren)’s behavior.
- ·Room for emotional roller coaster rides. Most children never give up hope that mom and dad may get back together. They need room daily to express their emotions and guidance in dealing with the uncomfortable truth of the situation.
- Good listeners. Kids need to be able to express what they are feeling about the situation without being judged. Closeness by family and friends will mean a lot during these difficult days. Professional counseling may be needed.
- Loving encouragement to be involved in church and be surrounded with teachers and friends who will care for them and walk along side them with understanding and concern.
I challenge you right now to think of kids in your family and/or church whose parents are going through a divorce. Stop and take a few moments to pray for them and their families. Then, just be “available” to love, affirmation and security!