“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? … Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye…”
– Matthew 7:3, 5a, NLT
When I was going through my trials, I had no shortage of religious people willing to “help” me see my “sin” or “contributions” to the destruction of my marriage.
Even when my ex’s adultery became clear, some of these “helpful” individuals held fast to their positions trying to stay “neutral” or full bore blamed me for the end of my marriage. It was not pleasant.
I encourage strongly enforced boundaries with these individuals.
Keep them at a distance if they have demonstrated a critical and condemning spirit in your life. For if it was life-giving criticism from God, it would not be crushing or condemning (see post here).
Whatever you do, do not open your hearts up to them (again)!
By participating in perpetuating the “Shared Responsibilities Lie” or blaming you for the adulterous ending of your marriage, they are demonstrating a fleshly–or possibly even demonic–mindset bent on continuing lies and your destruction. It is best to shut such actors out of your life before they cause you any more damage.
Let me expose one possible way these self-righteous, religious individuals may try to penetrate your healthy boundaries:
They may come to you as a Christian brother or sister (or leader) stating you owe them access to your life’s darkest and deepest secrets.
TO BE CRYSTAL CLEAR:
You do not owe them access just because they claim the title “Christian” or even pastor.
They need to demonstrate that they are worthy of trust (or rebuild trust, if they have already broken it). After all, even Jesus did not share all His secrets with everyone–blood family included–as He walked this earth.
Now, with self-righteous, religious pricks, you might find resistance to your boundary setting in these matters. They may try to make you talk by suggesting you are a “bad” Christian (or have the “wrong” theology) for denying them access to your life.
Do not buy it!
Such accusations are manipulation techniques designed to push your buttons to get you to open up and expose your vulnerabilities to them thereby granting them power.
Do not give them that power!
My last encounter with a particularly onerous, self-righteous actor in my trial ended with me telling him that I did not recognize his authority over my life.
I gave him some pertinent Scripture and a theological article to help him address a heretical view that he held regarding the covenant of marriage. Then I walked away even as he tried to lecture me that my theology was wrong. I have not heard from him since that encounter.
As a lay person, he wanted to lecture a Yale-educated pastor about my “sin” while he, himself, was supporting his family member’s adulterous lifestyle and sinful decision to divorce me. This was a serious case of log-stuck-in-the-eye.
Set the boundaries. Some people will not like it.
Do it anyways.
You do not have to be mean about it.
Be truthful and direct.
Then walk away.
You do not need their approval when you have God’s.
*A version of this post ran previously.