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Conviction and Compassion

It takes both toughness and tenderness to rescue people from sin

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I once preached on divorce from Mark 10: "What God has joined together, let man not separate. … Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her."

"Our first reaction to Jesus' words," I said, "is to look for loopholes, to bargain, to soften the blow of his words. That's why we don't hear him speak and race to confess our failure and restore to honor God's will for marriage."

In the next breath, I said, "Many of you here are divorced. Some of you are remarried. What's done is done. It is not my responsibility or my wish to lash divorced and remarried people with Scripture and send them away feeling guilty or aggravated. I suspect all of you who have experienced divorce have had more than your share of guilty feelings. Divorce is not the unpardonable sin. But it is sin. If you have confessed and repented of that sin, then let's get on with your life."

Within hours, a woman from our congregation sat in my office. "You just don't understand what I've ...

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