Article of the Month

Making life difficult for the child of divorce?
Aug 26, 2014

By Linda Jacobs

Many times as adults we make life difficult for children. This is especially true for children of divorce. We try to comfort the child with adult-isms. You know:
  • Clich├ęs
  • Favorite Scriptures
  • Kind words
  • Encouraging words
Many times we miss the mark because we can’t get down to the child’s level.
 
There is a great lesson we can learn from the story of David and Goliath in 1stSamuel 17:38–46. Let’s pick up where King Saul tried to dress David in his adult clothes.
 
The Scriptures say:
“Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a   bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around. ‘I cannot go in these,’ he said to Saul, ‘because I am not used to   them.’ So he took them off.”
 
David tried walking around in this garb but the “garb” did not fit David. Of course it didn’t fit. David was a young shepherd boy. The outfit was not made for him. It was made for King Saul.
 
Parents, church leaders, and other adults try to fit kids of divorce into inappropriate “outfits.”
 
Divorcing parents load the kids down with all their issues:
  • They dress the kids in a coat of ugliness and bitterness.
  • They put on the tunic of resentment and shame.
  • Then they plop on the helmet of aloneness and add on many other decorations.
The children come to church and we try to make our ideas, our experiences, fit them, and we want them to do battle with our weapons:
  • We give them the sword of Scripture and religious jargon.
  • Our adult perceptions and religious jargon are many times too confusing to a child who is only concerned with his or her family situation.
  • Children can’t make the connections between the Scripture and what is happening in their own lives.
Just like the sword David was to carry into battle was too heavy for him, the Scriptures don’t seem to fit the child’s situation. Unchurched children don’t understand this foreign language. Even if they have been raised in church, all of sudden to them the meanings behind the words are confusing.
 
They may think things such as, “If God loves me, why doesn’t He make my mom move back home?”
 
They have to have simple explanations given to them so they can find their own way just as David did when he had to fight Goliath. His way was something foreign to Saul, for it was five smooth stones and a sling.
 
We can only facilitate the healing process for these children. We can’t make the kids heal, but we can show them and make it easier for them to find their way to the Lord, to Christ, and where they will find true healing.
 
When David faced Goliath, he said:
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (v. 45).
 
We have to come against the giant of divorce with not only God’s Word, but also God’s love. These children may come to us with large amounts of baggage and bitterness.
 
We have to make it easy for them to pick up the smooth simple words of Christ and use those words to put in their slings. Then we can send them out into the world to do battle with what they are comfortable with and what works for each child.
 
Love, relationships, acceptance, understanding, and connections are paramount with the children who attend our churches.