The Lies We Believe

Selected highlights from this sermon.

The same story happens over and over. A husband or a wife grows tired with their spouse and abandons the marriage in order to find better prospects. But the hope of a fresh relationship oasis inevitably turns into a poisoned well. But you can’t escape the consequences of a broken marriage.

The Bible shows us a better way by teaching us the true meaning of love and encouraging us to value faithfulness more than happiness.

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Just look over my shoulder for a moment and let me read you this letter.

“We’ve been married for 20 years with small children. In the past few years we fell into debt. I spent a great deal of time away from home making money. Now that we are doing better my wife wants out of the marriage because she feels that I neglected her emotionally, which I have because I was so focused on work. What troubles me is that she wants to put space between us. She wants to get out of the home to ‘find herself.’ I am afraid of what this might mean because she is on the Internet a lot of her time corresponding with a man she dated before we were married. She’s helping him with his issues. I am afraid that the old relationship might be revived. She doesn’t want to go for marriage counseling, and she’s quite defensive about this in her decision to leave.”

Change some of the details and it’s a story that could be told a thousand times. A man leaves a marriage because he finds someone else because he is looking for a connection, and he’s in a marriage that he doesn’t enjoy. And wives, apparently – mothers, if you please - are leaving their marriages just as much as the men.

A number of years ago we had a marriage counselor here by the name of J. Allan Peterson who wrote a book entitled The Myth of the Greener Grass. I’m not sure if that book is still in print but if it is, it would be a good read. It’s a good book to read and I have borrowed his title for two messages that I am preaching on the Myth of the Greener Grass, and the intention of the message is to discuss the issue of marriage, but in such a way that, believe me, it will apply to those of you who are single for sure. But it most assuredly will apply to all of us who are married or who are thinking about being married.

I’d like to begin today by giving you five myths that I think we believe. These are myths that I’ve come up with. I’m sure that they exist elsewhere, but this is how I see it - five myths that we believe that really are devastating our homes and our marriages as people walk out of relationships.

First of all, my happiness is number one. “I am miserable in this desert,” a man told me, “and now I found an oasis; I found another woman with whom I have this connection, and you are telling me to go back into the desert. My happiness is more important than faithfulness.” By the way, let me simply say this, that according to God, faithfulness is more important than happiness. And if you happen to be happy while you are being faithful so much the better, but can you imagine Jesus saying to himself, “Well, I’m interested in my happiness.” The Bible says that he did not please himself. Faithfulness is more important than my happiness. “More important than God, my husband and my precious children is my happiness! I need fulfillment.” It’s a myth.

Second, finding the right person will give me real fulfillment. “Finally I found somebody I can connect with. It’s as if there was a piece of the puzzle that was missing and now I have found the missing piece. It’s not sexual. We could just talk for hours, and somehow he is tapping within me something that I never even knew existed. I need to think about this. I need to leave the marriage to get my act together,” which in reality is usually step number one for the divorce that is being contemplated.

It’s no wonder that we need people that we connect with, but the way. David Carter who has written a couple of books and spends his life counseling couples and getting them back together after infidelity, said that the average marriage is like a person who is on the earth (world) and when he looks at the moon he always see the same side of the moon. Sometimes he sees part of it; sometimes he sees all of it, but always the same side. There’s a back part of the moon that we never see.

In the very same way, there are many marriages that never tap into the other side of their partner. Here’s a man who is very busy. He doesn’t give his wife the time of day. She can’t talk to him. When she’s talking he’s not listening anyway. And suddenly she meets a man who just adores her and who loves to listen to her and enjoys her accent, and takes care of so many details. “Finally I have found the man of my dreams. I have found my soul mate,” she says. Of course, after she divorces and remarries, she discovers something very, very bitter. If it is true that forty percent of all marriages today end in divorce, it is also true that more than sixty percent of second marriages end in divorce. And suddenly this wonderful connection turns ugly.

A man who used to be at Moody Church 20 or 30 years ago told me, “I’m leaving my wife because I am in a desert and I found an oasis.” He wrote me a ten-page letter years later. What a letter. I still have it to this day. He detailed the fact that his oasis turned out not only to be worse than the desert but it was actually a poisoned oasis, and many of these relationships that begin so well, when you get to know the person they turn ugly and spiteful, but you can’t see it at the moment because that person is meeting your needs in a way that your needs have never been met before. It’s a myth.

There’s a third myth and that is “I can still be a caring person even though I’ve got this thing going on, on the side.” This week I read a letter in a newspaper where a man said that his brother confided in him that he was having an affair, and said, “Whatever you do, don’t tell my wife, because I just love my wife and children.” How many lies can you talk yourself into? I received another letter sometime ago from someone who said, “You know, the guy I want to marry is a wonderful Christian, but he continues to keep in touch with other women, and always talks about how beautiful they are, and he knows that it hurts me but he keeps doing it and tells me that he adores me alone.” Oh, isn’t that sweet! Listen, if he adores you, he’d be glad to say no to those other women I would think. It’s a myth, but we love these myths – these lies.

Another myth is, “I can manage the consequences. God will forgive me (I John 1:9).” It’s like some students who say, “You can (First John 1:9) one nine it. God will forgive you.” I remember talking to a pastor many, many years ago, who left his wife for another woman, and I’ll never forget these words. He said to me, “Oh sure, I’m doing wrong. I’m sinning, but remember even David got his Bathsheba.” Yes, that’s true. David did get his Bathsheba, and along with it he got grief for his family and grief for his whole kingdom. Yes, God did forgive him because God is gracious, but I’ll tell you. Do you know how long the consequences of a broken marriage go on? They go on not just on earth but the consequences have ripples for all eternity. You can manage it? God won’t let you manage it. There are certain built-in consequences that are way beyond your control in the lives of your children, in the life of your wife, in the life of your husband – whatever – and those boomerang forever. Wow!

Another one is, “Nothing will ever change.” David Carter says that many marriages are like windshield wipers. Each of the partners plays their dance. They never are really intimate. They never are really on the same page. They argue about the same things year after year after year. The same issues come up. They are never resolved, and everybody knows what the rules of the game are. “I stay on my side, and you stay on your side. I push your buttons, you push my buttons,” and like windshield wipers they just keep going on and on and on. And “he will never change, and she will never change.” It’s a myth. People have changed. If I have time today when I get to the end of this message I’m going to tell you about a couple for whom I had given up all hope, and they changed. God does change people. It costs something though. It costs a sense of honesty and humility and it’s a price most people are not willing to pay, but because they don’t pay it they miss a tremendous blessing.

That’s why there are two parts to this message. Next time when I preach on the topic I’m going to talk about the rewards people miss because they don’t work through a difficult marriage. If you are in a difficult marriage today, God has rewards for you that you are going to miss if you bail out. That’s why it’s absolutely necessary that you be here next time to hear part two of this very brief series of messages.

Now, you say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, what are you going to speak on today?” I’m going to speak about the common termites that destroy marriages, and we’re going to be turning to the Word of God to see this. You know, whenever you hear of a tire that blew out, you say, “Well, you know the tire just blew out.” Well, the experts will tell us that there have been cracks in that tire for years, and then suddenly there was a blowout. When a wife leaves a marriage – when a husband leaves a marriage, there have already been a series of sins that have been committed, and a series of sins that have been justified before it gets to that point. So we’re going to talk about those termites today, those sins that lead to the dissolution of a marriage.

You say, “Aren’t there times when somebody should divorce?” Well, you know one could say that there are times when divorce is allowed. One could even say that perhaps sometimes in extreme cases it’s a necessity, but there are two things that should never be done prematurely. One is embalming and the other is to get a divorce. All right?

Now what I want you to do today is to take your Bibles and turn to Ephesians 5 where we have some words from the Apostle Paul. Like everything else there are answers in God’s Word. In Ephesians 5 Paul says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.”

First of all, number one, we should live a life of love. Write that down. Live a life of love. That’s what we should do. And you say, “How do we do that?” We should be imitators of God. Mimesus is the Greek word for mimic. We should mimic God. Godliness is to mimic God. It’s to be like him in those attributes of his that are communicable, as theologians tell us. Now, we should imitate God, and how do we do that? We do it as beloved children and walk in love. You say, “How do you walk in love?” Two things. First of all notice it says, “Therefore be imitators of God.” The “therefore” is there for a purpose. You look back and it says in verse 30 through 32 of the previous chapter, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Notice if you want to be like God it says, “Therefore be imitators of God.” You have to learn the lesson first of all of undeserved forgiveness.

About two weeks ago Rebecca and I were in the airport in Minneapolis. We had flown to Canada to visit my parents and we were sitting there at the gate in the terminal lounge and we were eating together, and a woman came, and she never sat beside us but she kind of sat opposite of us. In fact, I don’t even know if she was sitting on a seat. She may have been sitting on a radiator along the window. She looked at us and she said, “I can tell the two of you have been married for a long time.” I said, “Well, that’s interesting. What makes you say that?” She said, “Well, I can see that your wife knew exactly what you needed in the way in which the two of you are relating,” and we said, “Yeah, it’s 39 years, and after 39 comes 40, and we’ve been around awhile,” and so we began to talk. And she said, “You know I’m older and I’m getting married for the first time, and she said, “What advice do you give me for a happy marriage?” You know I’m so glad that when I married I married up because I wouldn’t know exactly how to answer that. Quick as a whistle, Rebecca said, “Learn the art of forgiveness.” And I thought, “Well, thank you very much, Rebecca. (laughter) That’s really a wonderful word of advice, and you ought to thank me for giving you the opportunity of implementing that so many times in our relationship.” But you know, she was right. If you want to be like God you have to learn the lesson of forgiveness.

We talked to that woman and we discovered that she and her husband-to-be, though they never attended Moody Church, attended our premarital counseling here at the church, and absolutely loved it and praised it and talked about Pastor Bill Bertsche who did such a good job of leading it, and I thought, “Well, what do you know?” And when she recognized my voice she gave me a hug and she said, “I just can’t believe this,” and when we got on the plane she said she had already phoned her husband-to-be to tell him about the experience.

Why do we have premarital counseling here at the Moody Church? It’s because we as a staff know something, and what we know is that many divorces already are in process before the wedding. You can see it. Have I ever told you this story? You know when you’ve been around as long as I have you’ve got stories, and I’ll tell you one. Twenty years ago here at the Moody Church an Asian woman came to me on Wednesday, and she was to get married on Saturday, and she began to tell me about her husband-to-be, and that he was cruel. And I looked at her with a smile and said, “Guess what! You’re not marrying him.” She said, “What do you mean?” I said, “I’m ending the wedding right here. It’s all over,” and I called the person who was going to marry them. He was not a member of our pastoral staff. He was someone else in the community, and I said, “You know what? This is happening,” and he said, “On the basis of your word I won’t do it.” So I told her and she said, “I already have gifts and people are coming. In my culture there’s so much shame,” and I said, “That’s okay. Here’s what you tell them. You say, ‘This is all Pastor Lutzer’s fault.’ (laughter) I said, “Just blame me. Let me take the rap for this, but do you know what? You’re not marrying this guy.” Two or three weeks later she met me in the lobby. She came to me with outstretched arms and said, “Pastor Lutzer, how will I ever thank you enough for ending that marriage? I knew it was going to be bad but I didn’t have the strength to say no.” And ever since that time I’ve told our staff that we have the responsibility of performing weddings, and we also have the responsibility of stopping them when we can foresee that it’s bad news. (applause)

That’s not the only wedding that we’ve stopped here, so just be warned. (laughter) Listen, the divorce is already evident, and if you are sleeping together, that’s a whole other thing. Now the sexual relationship becomes the predominant thing. All of the other issues about the personality of the person - you’ve stopped growing in those areas. You’ve stopped understanding, and that’s why it is, for many other reasons, that you are headed for a lot of trouble. When will we know that God’s way is best? It really is.

So, first of all we need to learn to forgive. And second of all we need to learn to love, and I’ll talk about this more clearly in the next message, and so we have to skip it for lack of time except to say, how did Christ love us? What if Jesus had said, “You know I’ve come to this earth and they reject me and my needs are unfulfilled. Gethsemane? What about my needs? The cross? What about my needs? Where do I fit into this?” No, the Bible says here very clearly that we are to love as Christ loved, and marriage gives you a wonderful opportunity to die to yourself and to love someone else selflessly, and that’s the lesson that you and I resist with everything that is within us.

So, first of all, what we need to do is to live a life of love. Secondly we need to live a life of purity. Notice what Paul says in verses 3 and 4, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Now the reason that this is important and the reason that Paul puts it here is very clear. True love is entirely different than the perversion of love that comes to us from the world. The world uses the word love repeatedly and it’s the most misunderstood word you could possibly have because today love is immorality. When people get married today they don’t marry a person. They marry a body, and when the body begins to deteriorate, as it does, it ends the relationship because everything is based on sexuality. And by the way, these crazy reality shows imply that you can somehow meet somebody and just there you can tell whether or not they are right for you and they have a connection for you. This type of stuff is being funneled into our young people today. It’s no wonder they don’t have a clue whether or not they are making a good choice when they get married, and that’s why we as a staff have to help them along the way. It is a very confused world.

Now notice Satan mimics God and says, “This is love.” Paul says, “Let us put aside immorality and let us live with purity.” You’ll notice that the Greek word for immorality is porniea from which we get the word pornography – impurity and anything that is unclean and filthy. It’s been used about eleven times. The word is used in the New Testament, and Jesus once uses it to refer to dead men’s bones – impurity. I received a letter this past week from concerned parents. What they are concerned about is that their daughter is dating a young Christian man who confessed to their daughter that sometimes he’s been attending gentlemen’s clubs, and you know what goes on there. And the question is, “You know we want to extend grace, but also what are the risk factors?” I mean these are difficult issues, but I would say that something like that is a good example of “dead men’s bones,” and you can put there pornography, you can put the Internet if that’s what you do on the Internet, you can put many television programs, many, many movies, and all impurity. Paul just really lays it out there. He doesn’t even have an exception clause. I mean how can you say this? This is the Word of God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness – why covetousness? Isn’t that where it all begins? Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife. That’s what happens at the water cooler at work. That’s what makes the man leave his wife and his children because he’s found this other connection. That’s what makes a wife leave her husband and think that she can do this and take their children because of covetousness. They coveted the world. The novels that she has read have put into her mind the idea, to quote the words of one woman who fell into immorality, “that there was a whole world out there that was unexplored that I had never had the opportunity to participate in, and my curiosity made me wonder what it would be like.” There you go. Pornography tells men that you aren’t really satisfied with your wife who doesn’t look as good as so-and-so looks, and so what you have is all of this dissatisfaction that is created, and Paul says in verse 5 covetousness is idolatry. It’s idolatry because what you are saying is that “I need this more than I need God’s will, more than I need to please God. I need somebody else’s wife or somebody else’s girlfriend, somebody who doesn’t belong to me,” and God says, “That’s idolatry.” [That’s putting me above all of your needs(?)], God says, and so that’s why the Apostle Paul says what we need is to live a pure life, and then he includes filthiness, course jesting, vulgarities. That’s the idea – laughing at dirty jokes, innuendos, and then he says, “Live a life of honor.” And I don’t know how to soften these words, so I’m not going to. I’m just going to give it to you in the way in which God inspired that it be written, and let the Spirit of God do the rest.

Notice what it ways in verse 5. “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is idolatry), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” There it is folks. Do you think it’s not serious to walk away from your marriage because you found someone else who fulfills and arouses within you needs and desires that you didn’t even know you had? Wow! Do I have to read this again? If you are a Christian, you are to be a part of another kingdom. “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure…” Hey, by the way, did you notice in verse 5 that it says, “You may be sure of this”? Somebody here today says, “You know, there’s very little that you can be sure about in life.” All right I grant that, but here’s one thing you can be sure of. Paul wrote that because he knew that we love to be deceived in this area. We want to believe these lies so badly that in order to get our attention he says, “Be sure about this. Everyone who is sexually immoral or impure or is covetous (that is an idolater) you have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”

You say, “Well, can’t a Christian commit these sins?” Yes, of course a Christian can commit these sins, but a true Christian will always fight against them. A true Christian will never be content with immorality, with pornography. He may hate what he is doing. He may find that these powers have a hold of him, but he will therefore struggle with them. He will fight against them because he knows that this impurity mitigates against the blessed Holy Spirit of God who is holy, who has taken up residence in our hearts and in our bodies. Paul says, “Do you not know that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” How can the temple of the Holy Spirit be within you and you are content with sexual immorality of all kinds, whether heterosexual or homosexual, or impurity or covetousness (that is idolatry)? The Bible says if you live that way contentedly you have no inheritance. You almost certainly are not a Christian.

Now notice he says to also live with discernment. I mean Paul is just giving it to us here with a sense of clarity that is overwhelming. You’ll notice in verse 6 he says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” Live with discernment. Why are we so easily deceived with empty words? It’s because we want to be. This message is as countercultural as you could possibly get. What do you mean impurity? That’s where I have my sense of pleasure, and now you are telling me that I can’t? Notice that it says, “Don’t be deceived with empty words.” There are tons of empty words out there. Why does Paul say that? In my pastoral experience from time to time I have talked to those who are involved in sexual immorality and those who are walking away from their marriages in order to quote “find themselves,” and one of the things I’ve discovered is that they are not thinking clearly at all. It’s almost as if they are in a trance. They are in another world. Have you ever noticed this? You try to talk sense to them and you say to the woman, “What about your children?” or you talk to the man and you say, “What about your kids?” and you might as well be talking to some stones in a graveyard. He can’t hear you because he’s in this state of euphoria. “What do you mean? I’ll handle it.”

I remember calling a man, at the instigation of his wife, over the phone because he was involved with someone else, and he was saying to me, “What do you mean? We’ll connect.” I said, “Look at what you are doing to your wife. Look at what you are doing to those precious children God has given you. Think of the implications of this as it goes on in this life all the way to eternity. Think about it and then realize what it is you are going to do,” but he can’t get it. Why? He’s in a state of euphoria.

You know the letter that began with about the man who said his wife was on the Internet with a former lover, and now she wants to leave? There’s no way that he is going to convince her to do otherwise. Because of all the water that has gone under the bridge he probably has forfeited any authority that he has over her. Somebody else is going to have to do it though, and that’s what I recommend. Somebody has to bring these people down. It’s almost like an alcoholic who doesn’t get the message until he wakes up some day in his own squalor and beings to realize he needs to change. When it comes to immorality it is almost impossible for us to see with clarity because we are so desirous to be self-deceived.

You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, I hear what you are saying, but I just can’t go back because I’ve invested so much in this divorce that I’m contemplating.” Well, I understand it may cost you something to go back but it’ll cost you a whole lot more, almost certainly, if you keep moving ahead. Sin is so costly. It’s the most expensive thing in the universe.

You know, you think about this. I knew a man who was in Christian ministry and he left his wife of 30-some years to find his dream, and he had found his dream, and three months after they were married he actually dropped dead. You know, I’ve often thought about that. It’s been a sermon to me. I’ve thought, “If he had known that he had only three months to live, he might have stuck out an unfulfilled marriage, knowing that he was going to have to explain all this to Jesus someday very shortly. I think he would have said, ‘You know, life is tough, but I can take it for another three months.’” You never know how much time you have. I often wonder, too, at the wake as he is there, who is at the head of the casket greeting the mourners? Is it the wife with whom he had lived for 30 years, with whom he had children, or the new wife? Very interesting! Oh what a web we weave when once we practice to deceive.

Now, you say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, my husband can’t change.” All right, now before you say that, my wife and I met a couple that we got to know through my speaking engagements and we’ve kept in touch with them. She’s a wonderful woman, who came through some difficult situations with her dad, and there’s been abuse, and you take all of that, all that whole cartload that she’s been working through (like many of you having to work through this kind of a past), but she has a real genuine heart for God. On the part of her husband, if I could describe him, he just didn’t get it. Do those words mean anything to you? Have you ever met somebody like that, who just doesn’t get it? That’s the way I describe him. And then, you know if you are in this marriage relationship, and you, without your wife’s knowledge, go and take all of your retirement account and you lay all that money out because you’ve come across a scheme that’s going to earn you a lot of money on the Internet and you blow it all, that’s tough to explain. It’s even tough to explain if you told her you were going to do it. It’s a little tougher when she finds out later that your retirement is gone. I mean we’re talking about water under the bridge here.

So anyway, about six weeks ago I got this e-mail. It said, “About ten months ago after a counseling session I simply asked our counselor in front of Bill (That isn’t his real name but these folks live out of state anyway and they’ve never been to Moody Church. You wouldn’t have a clue who they are, but they wouldn’t mind if you did at this point.) to get me out of this marriage. I have a deep relationship with Christ, a loving relationship with my sons and daughter-in-law. Just please help me to live in peace so that I don’t have to live with this man who has been so cruel to me. (All right.) Bill left the meeting, agreeing that he was ready to be free also. About an hour down the road he said the Lord almost spoke audibly to him, and started bringing to his mind all that he had in a wife. He said it was so overwhelming that he had to pull to the side of the road because he couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. That took place last July. We spent about four months completely isolated from each other. I still didn’t believe a word he said, but I began to see changes. In fact, our counselor said he saw changes too. After eight months of being very, very cautious we decided to have a private ceremony with our sons and daughter-in-law to reunite. Our counselor is an ordained minister so he performed the event. Bill is a different man. Ninety percent of everything that comes out of his mouth is completely different. He’s humble but confident for the first time in our lives. He is moved to tears often (and remember this is the man who never cried). He thanks me over and over again for giving him a second chance. I just return the compliment with ‘I am so thankful you chose us’ (because when you choose the wife you choose the kids, you understand, and the grandchildren).” We can laugh, talk constantly, pray spontaneously and spend as much time together as possible. Thank you for your prayers and for speaking truth to me.”

At any rate, I e-mailed her back a couple of weeks later and said, “You know, this is so wonderful. Is it still happening?” She said, “Absolutely.” She said she never knew that she and her husband could have a marriage like this.

You never know what God will do, but I’ll tell you what the price is. The price is honesty, and when there are things in your life that you are hiding from your spouse, when there are issues that are huge, would you go to a counselor? That’s not a confession of need. It’s just that there is so much water under the bridge in terms of relationships that people don’t even know where to begin, and you can’t look at anything objectively anymore. There’s just too much pain, too much hurt, too many tries and failures. Go for help, but it’s going to take a sense of honesty, and you know what you are going to have is the “other side of the moon” illustration that I gave you. That’s going to have to come into the picture until you have a better understanding of who it is you married – what her needs are, what his need is, and that’s what we’re going to talk about also next time in the message, and you begin there and begin to let God do what only God can do.

The Bible does say that through Jesus Christ our Lord we have forgiveness with God - thankfully. And by the way, if you are here and have never trusted Christ as Savior, this would be a good opportunity for you to do that. If you have a sense of sin because of what I’ve preached on, and you know that you need a Savior, Jesus is the place to go - the one to go to. He’s the “go to” man, but if you’re here as a believer and all of this stuff is in your life, and your marriage is in trouble, get on your knees and stay there until God shows you the way, and if honesty can prevail on both sides of the equation, God can heal a very difficult, meaningless marriage. And if you agree, can we pray?

Father, I want to ask in the name of Jesus for those who are here today, for those who are listening by way of the Internet, radio. I pray today, Father, that wherever this seed has fallen that you’ll give men and women the grace and the strength to respond. Grant that to them, Father God, because our needs are great. Save the marriages of Moody Church. Save the marriages of all who have listened, and beyond. Help us, Lord, because we are so weak, and we are so prone to deception. Bring us to reality.

And now before I close this prayer, what is it that you need to say to God today? If you were to say, “God, what do I do about my situation?” what would God say? And whatever he says to you, tell him you are going to do it.

Oh Father, please help us because we are so needy. And those marriages that are in trouble – I think about the marriage I heard about a week ago about a man who is leaving his wife for greener pastures and two precious children left behind. God, please would you shake him into reality? And he represents women who are leaving. God, come to us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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