Divorce Chaplaincy

I’ve heard it said, that in Australia, the most unreached people group are men aged between 30-50 years of age who are divorced.

Further to that, and interestingly, suicide is the single biggest killer of men in that age group [1].

During my conversation with politicians and government officials many in health and community services remain dumbfounded as to why suicide is fast becoming our nations true epidemic. Equally, they remain somewhat incoherent on how to address it. Thinking for many years that education is the answer to this health crisis. Despite their best efforts it continues to rise.

If we know anything about grief and loss it’s that when an individual experiences the intense sense of personal loss from a deep meaningful relationship such as a partner or child they are susceptible to immediate or eventual self harm. Sadly, divorce has many ugly cousins.

Divorce irreversibly affects our community inside and outside the church.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Unquestionably, it is for these people, our community, that Jesus came to heal broken hearts, tend to wounds, bring freedom and make whole those who are suffering.

At his commissioning Jesus quoted Isaiah 61. “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor… to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

Jesus, so wants to turn people’s lives around.

This week I had an insightful conversation with a good friend in the UK who has turned his attention to providing free pastoral care chaplaincy services to men undergoing marriage separation and divorce. And as a means to sustain his free service he in turn draws a small referral fee from a range of partner law firms. It seems this cycle ensures everyone benefits.

Formal or informal chaplaincy, predicated on pastoral care (shepherding) provides our community so many opportunities to discover and respond to Christ’s grace and mercy and see those travelling the treacherous journey of divorce experience a life of joy for God’s glory.

Let’s not forget to minister the grace and mercy of Jesus to the brokenhearted.

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