Single Moms: Disqualified or Qualified?

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” Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  Matthew 7: 1-4 NIV

Today’s word is going to be a challenge to the church to go the extra mile and overextend themselves in loving and embracing manner to the single mom no matter the reason for their singleness.  There are approximately 15 million single moms raising 22 million children across the United States and many of them are unchurched.  There are many reasons one can be a single mom.  They could be a widow, they could have been in a marriage of hardship whereby their husband was abusive and or cheated on them or they could have had a child or children out of wedlock.

I was watching Fox and Friends recently and they stated that more than half of Americans say that religion’s loss of influence in America is a “bad” thing.  Over 70% percent of those polled say that this is a negative thing.  On Sunday mornings my family and I watch Andy Stanley, a Christian pastor in the heart of Atlanta, GA.  He was talking about how Christians often judge people harshly outside the church.  He said this catchy phrase “Believers don’t need to judge the heathen but the believen.”  Really he is right.  However, even people in the church who make a mistake and sin, whether it is a petty offense or rather sin horribly should be forgiven because that is what the word of God teaches.  Church is a hospital for sinners, Jesus came to redeem, forgive, love and restore the sinner.  That was his whole deal while he was on earth, and even then the Religious Sect judged him for that, not understanding what God’s mission and will is for humanity.  Today’s church really does not understand true love and forgiveness.  But His word is clear- the greatest commandment is to love him with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength, and the second is to love the neighbor as ourselves.  Most people want to know that they are forgiven and loved.  We are loved by a risen Savior, and He desires we love one another same within the church body too and outside the church body.  When we do this we will recognized as His children, because we love and forgive unconditionally.

Over the last couple of weeks the Lord has placed five women in my pathway who are or were single moms and I have had the opportunity to listen to their stories and to hear their brokenness in regards to the church and to hear their struggles in their every day lives.  Each circumstance is different.  One is a young woman who married young and had just given birth to a daughter when her husband was tragically killed in a tractor accident.  The second was an older lady who had been a single mom for several decades.  Her husband was abusive to her and cheated on her repeatedly.  She sought counseling to try to work out for the kid’s sakes.  She eventually made the decision to divorce when he deserted them.  She went to church to find a home, a church family to love her.  Instead, she was shunned and judged because she was divorced. The third young lady got pregnant and married while in college.  She was “burned” by the church she was raised in because of her mistakes and has not returned back there.  The fourth young lady has made the same type of mistakes and is trying to put her life back together but believes before she can return to church or feel comfortable in the church, her life must be completely perfect before she even attend church.  The last person, is a friend of mine,  who loves the Lord and worships, prays and reads her Bible daily, but she too was in a marriage where her husband committed adultery and left her for another woman.  She has been ridiculed by church after church simply because she is divorced. She feels she can no longer go to a place where she is judged and mistreated by naysayers who seem to always end up where she goes to have a new start to bring condemnation on her.

As Christians it is our responsibility to ensure people in general are loved and embraced.  Just because someone has made mistakes or are divorced due to no fault of their own or say they were to blame, we are not to judge. If they are attending church we should love them and help them get back on track with God.     In the case above there are two instances where single moms were shunned, condemned and judged in the church by a sect within the church and in one case by the leadership which trickled down to the rest of the membership there.  Single moms and dads who have been abused and/ or were cheated on by their  spouses should have a place of support and love within their church family where they can go to in their time of need.  We are to be a refuge, a safe haven, a resource and most definitely a place of love where they can feel embraced and find a home where they can heal and be restored from the hardship they have endured.

In two of the other cases above, the single moms have made some bad life choices but are doing everything they can to get back where they need to be in their lives.  The church needs to have an open door to them to help restore them and mentor them.  We can be a resource, a help , and a support to them a place where they can find love not rejection.  We have all fallen short of the glory of God, church is a place for sinners to become reconciled unto their savior Jesus Christ not to each one of us because we are sinners too.  The church is often a hindrance to the walk of young people who are trying to find themselves and get their right footing. When we pre-judge, condemn and disqualify a person for their past mistakes we do an injustice in God’s eyes.  Jesus came for the sinners so that they could find salvation in Him, be redeemed and restored to REAL life in Him.

I love the story of Jesus and the woman at the well because his full intention was to approach her one on one and to bring about redemption.  Now gets this: Jesus was a Jew and it was not the cultural thing to speak let alone associate with a Samaritan especially one with the background of the Samaritan woman at the well who had her reputation.  While no one was around, including his disciples, he took the opportunity to have a one on one conversation with the Samaritan woman.  I believe because even the disciples might have ridiculed him and not understood why he was choosing to have a conversation with the likes of her.  Jesus goes up to her and he asks her for a drink of water.  She is taken aback and says why are you asking me to do this you know this is not the custom.  He says, if you knew the gift of God that is being offered in me asking for a drink, you would ask him instead for a drink and he would give you living water.   Her interest is peaked and she entertains the conversation.  She asks if He is greater than Jacob who built the well and all his ancestors and livestock.   He answers that whoever drinks of this well with become thirsty again but whoever drinks the water He gives never will be thirsty again.   Jesus explains that his water will cause spring water to well up inside them to eternal life.  So she asks for some of that water where she would never have to return to that well again for more water.  Then Jesus tells her to go get her husband and then return.  She admits she doesn’t have a husband.  Then he confronts the sin outright, and says your right you actually have had five and the one you are with now is not your husband at all.  She realized at that point he was something special, that he must be a prophet.  Then as they continue to speaking he mentions that up until now salvation was for the Jews but a new day is coming when it will be for anyone, everyone who desires a Savior.  I love how he ties it together in John 4:23-24 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  She then references that she knows that the Messiah will be coming one day in response to his teaching.  “Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.'” John 4:26

When I think about this interaction I see three things from this.  First Jesus sought her out.  Second,  his goal was to bring her to repentance. Thirdly,  he was not condemning, he knew her and he made it known that her Savior knew who she was and knew how she had lived her life.  God sees everything, even the secret and hidden things. Yet, his desire was to give her the “living water” eternal life.  Jesus came for the sinner, his heart is for the sinner to choose life in Him.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8 NIV

We have an obligation as Christians to embrace the sinner to love them as Christ does.  For who are we to think we are better than someone else?  Most every one has a past, the word of God is clear throughout the Bible- ALL have fallen short of the glory of God.   In today’s world there are many in church who have an R-rated testimony.  Let’s remember who we are, where we came from, but where we are going one day and live our lives in the manner worthy of the Gospel.

Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength by loving others as yourselves.  When we get this right as Christians then our religion will have great influence again in this new society and culture we live in today. 

So I leave you with my answer to the first question within the title of today’s blog- Single Moms- Qualified!! Most Definitely. Open your hearts and be a part of a church and community that is a help and not hindrance.  Single moms and dads have a hard road these days bringing their kids up.  It is hard even with two parent households, so we know it is doubly hard with just one trying to bring their family up in this world. Set up a ministry and outreach program in your church and community to these who really need us to help them and love them in a role that is hard and difficult on a day to day basis.

Thanks for reading!

Love & Blessings!,

Dawn

 

 

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