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Handling the Hard Side of the Gospel

People fail in their obedience not because we make the gospel too good but because we don't make it good enough.
— Steve Brown

Years ago I preached a strong sermon on the subject of divorce. I held no punches, and to drive home my passion about the sinfulness of divorce, I said, "I, for one, will never get a divorce!"

Later that week, the wife of the chairman of the church board came to my office. Both she and her husband had been previously divorced, though in each case, I learned in retrospect, they had biblical justification. She was hurt and angry about the sermon, "You shouldn't be so judgmental," she said.

I didn't understand what she was talking about, and I wasn't about to "wimp out" on what I thought were clear biblical principles. So I defended myself.

What she said stuck with me, however. Years later, I looked back on that message and realized she was essentially right. Not that the teaching was wrong, but my attitude was. When I said, "I will never get a divorce!" I was acting ...

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