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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

21 November 2008

Healing Broken Homes and Broken Lives

Pot LeafQ: I am married to a man from whom I’ve been separated from for 8 years. We have one daughter. I married him when I was 20 because I was carrying his child. He was 32 and a drug addicted alcoholic. He abused both me and our baby and not made contact with us since the separation.

The second year we were apart I met a man and conceived twins by him. I love him and he wants to marry me and adopt my daughter. I know this is a horrible situation and feel certain I am doomed for hell. I know the importance of instilling religious values in my children and have tried to do so. I have taken them to several churches only to be shunned away because of my current situation.

Is there any way I can marry the father of my twins and be forgiven by God for my mistakes? I have never been saved in a church but did ask Jesus into my life many years ago. Please help. The regret has gnawed at me for a long time.

A: Dear friend, this is a longer, more complicated set of problems than we can resolve with one brief reply. However, I hope that we can get you moving in a God-pleasing direction. This means that you first need to realize that God has already moved in your direction. Through Jesus’ suffering and death, He has already forgiven your sins. This means that you’re not guilty of anything you’ve said, thought, or done.

If you believe this, you are already saved, whether you realize it or not. It seems, however, that you keep running into churches that aren’t willing to share this wonderful news with you. Along with this public reply, I’m going to talk with you privately, in hopes of helping you find a church that realizes that it is full of sinners and would gladly welcome another into its midst.

RingsWhen this happens, you’ll be in a congregation whose pastor can counsel you, assure you of God’s forgiveness, and help you to do what the Lord has already been moving to do — that is, to amend your sinful life and seek to do His will. Likely, this will include a marriage, an adoption, and some baptisms. It will also mean dissolving a marriage that, in reality, ended years ago due to his abuse and abandonment.

You already know of the sins that led up to this point and also realize that divorce is, itself, sinful. However, your faithless husband has already, by his actions, divorced you and of this, Saint Paul wrote, “But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. (1 Corinthians 7:15)” Even if you’re the one who files the paperwork, you shouldn’t fear ending a marriage that no longer exists.

So give God your regrets along with your sins and discover how He gives you forgiveness, peace, and a full, wonderful life in Christ.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

Send email to Ask the Pastor.

Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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