Last week, Pat Robertson of the 700 Club made some controversial comments about divorce. Here’s a clip:
Here’s the thing. I don’t disagree with Pat, at least not with his intention. He’s TRYING to be compassionate and empathetic, which is something he has certainly not often been throughout his career. Here’s evidence of that:
The poor guy just can’t get it right. I mean, its not that I always disagree with the basic themes in his message. I subscribe to what most would call Conservative Christian morality and ethics; but the difference between Pat and I is that I spend my day with people who are suffering and don’t need any more negative energy heaped upon them. Sin is sin and while I believe we each have to make a decision based on our studies as to what we believe is right for us and the world around us it is not our job to go around telling everyone else what our opinion is. We can discuss it, we can share our views, but unfortunately most people do so in a way that mirrors that of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and other out-of-touch public figures.
Now, if a man or woman came to my office seeking counseling to deal with their guilt over having a new companion while their spouse suffers with Alzheimer’s, I think my response may be quite similar to Pat’s here. I wouldn’t be able to say with all certainty that God doesn’t frown on their decision but I can certainly understand the case being made using the idea that a person is “dead” when they suffer from a disease like Alzheimer’s. I know I have often helped people who leave abusive marriages think outside the box when looking for justification and new ways of understanding the violation of the covenant idea. I can totally empathize with someone in that situation and can understand the motives behind their choices. They are already suffering; the last thing they need from me is judgment and preaching. This does not mean I endorse their decisions but it does mean I understand why they have come to the conclusions and choices they’ve made.
See, the morality of the situation is not really the point of my work as a counselor and I think Pat’s actually trying to be compassionate and understanding here, too. Unfortunately, his previous track record makes that effort null and void. He’s a confusing man and I’m glad I don’t follow him as a pastoral leader.
Poor Pat; he just can’t seem to get it right.
What do you think? Post your comments below!
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