A Snowflake’s Chance in Hell

There is a type of conversation that I keep having over and over in the comments of various blogs of Christians. They immediately irritate me and I often respond before I remember that this is the Internet, and that I can just leave…

Perhaps I should go about this differently.

There are a lot of people–a lot of people–out there (and especially in the Men’s Sphere) who have been really mistreated by others in our modern exercise of marriage. They are the reason I still persevere to write this blog. Not because I’m going to fix them, but so that they know they are not forgotten; so that they know they are not alone in their misery; to help them keep in mind that we are not hopeless.

But I can’t keep up hope for them on my own. They have grasp it for themselves. Others can be a light, and others can help carry their load, but but we can’t walk for them. We can’t will their spiritual legs to put one foot in front of the other. People get divorced, or cheated on, and they lose their faith. They say haven’t because they still believe in Jesus…but what do they mean by the word believe? Belief without action–faith without works–is dead.

Sometimes the most painful work is just accepting that what we have been taught by Christ and the prophets–through the Bible, and upheld by the Church–is actually true, and measuring our thoughts and behaviors against those truths. Doing so reveals that one thought after another behavior falls pathetically short of the goal. That beats us down.

When you add to that our imperfect and compassionless perception of others who seem so much worse than ourselves, then we are lulled into a miserable self-righteousness that we’re not that bad, or that for those few people we for whom we can find a smidgen of compassion because we sympathize or empathize with their suffering…well they’re not so bad. The really bad people are those other perpetrators out there; the ones who did what we pretend we could never do.

What ends up happening is, because of that self-righteousness, we drop our standards; we abandon those truths and begin to make excuse for what we have done on the basis of another’s sin. An example would be: “In the real world, sometimes people deserve to be divorced. It’s not my fault she had an affair, and I see no reason why I should be punished by not being allowed to remarry.” Another would be: “I know the Bible says divorce is wrong, but really our marriage was over long ago. In our hearts we been divorced for years. This is just a formality.”

That’s where I reflexively argue that, no, we do not get to do whatever makes us feel better just because someone has wronged us; and if you do then you’re as bad as they are.

They respond poorly to this because often times the truth was not in their excuses for their behavior. If they said what they wanted to say it would sound more like: “That bitch ripped my guts out and I’m supposed to forgive her for being a giant slut; for ruining our marriage? I know I should be sorry for divorcing her, but I’m not.” Or: “For the last ten years he’s taken me for granted. He has no concern except that he’s comfortable, and shows the barest concern about me, his supposed wife! He can go to Hell for all I care.”

Unless they’re in the likeminded company they don’t say that because they know it’s wrong, and they don’t want to confront it. But, man, it would be so much better if they did. Such people can be forgiven, comforted, encouraged, and aided. That’s the business we Christians are supposed to be about. That’s the difference of bitter darkness from salt and light.

People who make excuse and justify their own actions against the faith as merely reactions to other’s evil…there’s no help for them.

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27 thoughts on “A Snowflake’s Chance in Hell

  1. Indeed. One of the things that makes the ‘sphere look weak is the equivocating. Being angry at the “bitch who cheated” is fine. She, or in sadly more rare cases he, harmed us all. Marriage is the relationship out of which all others form. But you can’t use it as an excuse for evil.

  2. our imperfect and compassionless perception of others who seem so much worse than ourselves, then we are lulled into a miserable self-righteousness that we’re not that bad

    This is one reason I distanced myself from MRA’s soon after I found out about them. They can act in ways that aren’t dissimilar from feminists once you reverse the genders. In fact, many are “true feminists” in that they advocate for equality better than actual feminists. I think the only thing that holds MRA types from falling into the moral traps of feminism to the same extent is the fact that our culture has become so feminized and gynocentric.

    While this may not be the goal of your blog, you’ve also been one of the influences in revitalizing my faith. As a single man that bought into feminist cultural values (and modern values in general) that helped to feed my self-deceptions and poor decisions, I found myself reading lots of anti-feminist blogs, which lead to anti-feminist blogs authored by Christians (such as Dalrock), to even more Christ-centered blogs such as yours and Empath’s.

    Also, is it not OK, to remarry after a divorce due to infidelity? I thought that was the only circumstance.

  3. Agreed. I’m 2.5 years out from a divorce that she initiated without biblical grounds, blowing up the lives of our 4 kids (at the time, ages 22, 19, 17, and 15) as well as mine. Then she compounded the sin by remarrying just a year later (to a twice-divorced man) and relocating 400 miles away, greatly complicating custody/visitation for the two kids still at home. So the first part of one of your imagined quotes above could have come from me: “That bitch ripped my guts out and I’m supposed to forgive her for being a giant slut [or at least a selfish, narcissistic idiot]; for ruining our marriage?” I frequently rage/seethe/simmer/cuss to myself; I occasionally upbraid her when it seems called for in response to one of her bitchy emails. But . . . I don’t run her down to our kids (though I won’t be dishonest with them about her, either); I don’t sleep around (I won’t even date again until the youngest graduates high school next year — he doesn’t need yet another complication in his life); I paid my court-ordered child support; I’m civil about occasions when we have to be in the same vicinity (two kids’ graduations next month); and I’m determined to hang on to God and for my kids to see me doing so. Though I have had plenty of sinful reactions to her behavior, I have tried to keep them private and I know full well that her behavior is not an excuse or a license for me to sin.

    I have been astonished and dismayed at the majority response to my mistreatment (calling it mistreatment isn’t whining, it’s simple truth). But the majority response has made the minority response that much sweeter when I find it — here, at Dalrock, and a few other places. Kudos to you, Cane, for persevering “so that they know they are not forgotten; so that they know they are not alone in their misery; to help them keep in mind that we are not hopeless.” I appreciate it.

  4. @Kilrud

    While this may not be the goal of your blog, you’ve also been one of the influences in revitalizing my faith.

    Excellent! That is always my hope. I appreciate you saying so.

    @David

    But the majority response has made the minority response that much sweeter when I find it — here, at Dalrock, and a few other places.

    Man, I am glad to be of service. By the grace of God my marriage has turned out better than I expected or deserve, but my dad was put through the wringer and he could have used a lot more support and encouragement. If the Men’s Sphere has a use: That is it.

  5. So, I have a question about one of your examples. In the example concerning the marriage that has been over for a long time you accuse the speaker of rationalizing divorce. My understanding of biblical divorce is that it implied permission to remarry. That is why it is allowed only under the one exception of infidelity. I would maintain that two Christians (or a Christian and a non Christian spouse) who legally divorce in their later years with no intention of remarriage, or having sexual relations with anyone else, may be divorced in the secular legal system, but have not scripturally “divorced”. In God’s eyes these two would remain married (one flesh) and any sexual relations with a person not their first spouse would be sin, even if they had legally married that person. By society’s laws, however, they have been legally divorced. As long as the Christian “legally” divorcing spouse never had sexual relations with another, he would not be in sin. My understanding of scripture indicates that this can be a biblically correct solution for the Christian “dead marriage”. What is your opinion?

  6. @Bradford

    Welcome.

    My opinion is that if two people legally divorce, yet keep their vows of chastity (no sex outside of their marriage) then they ought to be able to find a way to forgive each other and they should strive to work it out.

  7. @ Bradford

    As long as the Christian “legally” divorcing spouse never had sexual relations with another, he would not be in sin.

    But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him. And the husband must not leave his wife. –1 Corinthians 7:10-11

    You have acknowledged that the couple that obtains a legal divorce is still married in the eyes of God. How then can you argue that for them to abdicate their various responsibilities as husband and wife is “not sin.” Legal divorce is not ” a biblically correct solution for the Christian ‘dead marriage.’” The Biblically correct solution for the Christian dead marriage is to resurrect it, even if it is so dead as to be nothing but dry bones.

    The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.’ Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.’”
    So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. –Ezekiel 37:1-10

    Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” –Mark 10:27

    [CC: Not sure why this was in moderation.]

  8. @Bradford,

    The position you voice is not universal in Christianity. It didn’t even become the majority Protestant opinion until I believe the 1920’s after an Anglican Lambeth conference. The RC’s officially disallow divorce and Orthodoxy, my tradition, disallows sacramental remarriage but does allow a kind of penitential you’re-going-to-screw-around-anyway second marriage acknowledgement.

  9. There are a lot of people–a lot of people–out there (and especially in the Men’s Sphere) who have been really mistreated by others in our modern exercise of marriage. They are the reason I still persevere to write this blog. Not because I’m going to fix them, but so that they know they are not forgotten; so that they know they are not alone in their misery; to help them keep in mind that we are not hopeless.

    I had written you, Cane, a very long email a few days back and in the end deleted it. When reading this post of yours it was as if I had gone ahead and sent it…especially the above pasted. Ive been saying that a lot lately that I persist because of the succor I found by reading a blog like this when I was in marital pergatory. Its true.

    More and more daily I feel less and less like just pointing at womens proclivities. still needs to be done because of its dearth, but men dont heal by being confirmed in who they blame. I will seperate it like this. If I am wroting to a man or some men, men who are part of a group that is suffering similarly, I more focus on their persaverence, longsuffering, etc. If to just the folks , those random folks men and women who read, I can be more pointed at women.

    they feel forgotten. i sure did. and silly as it seems men are helped by words on a page. Men write to and at men boldly. We dont say what is soothing for its sake. We just say our beliefs and why and invite others to check it out. Men are so different than women in this there is zero overlap.

  10. I don’t know about you two but I also note a vast difference between the ‘sphere’s bloggers (that I read anyway) and the commenters. For example I somewhat like Spearhead and read there from time to time but I now never read the comments. And Spearhead is often labeled as part of the “whinier” side of things and I think that is because of the comments. I can read he articles and feel informed but if I read the comments I’ll just feel depressed.

    It seems blogs that also discuss other things like here, Pathologist, and Vox to some extent have less of that problem.

  11. @GKC

    It seems blogs that also discuss other things like here, Pathologist, and Vox to some extent have less of that problem.

    We’re also fairly boorish.

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  13. I do not see a drawback in being boorish if that means well rounded and well written. Speaking of which for that reason I will miss SSM, and really wish women would learn to lay off the cat fights.

  14. I have often heard people complain of the “feminization” of society without much explanation and having thought about for about a year now I would say that the problem described here is the evidence I would point to.

    I was raised in a completely female dominated home and can remember very early on being stunned at women’s abilities to evade the truth, rationalize poor decisions/reactions and shirk responsibility. Those tendencies have historically been beaten out of boys in one form or another. Somehow I gleaned that all of those things were incompatible with masculinity itself and now I know why.

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  17. As a lurker for quite some time here – and most of the other usual places – I finally feel compelled to post, although I was sure my first would be on SSM’s page, I hope you find it a compliment, instead of an insult, Cane, that you came in a close second (you are what lead me to her!) Disappointing (SSM) certainly but unavoidable these days for those of our ilk. I hope the reception here will not be too harsh as my leisure is attributed to an extremely indulgent Mother’s Day and I’d be remiss to admit how many bourbon and lemonades I was privileged to enjoy while my beautiful little family prepared us dinner. That beautiful family includes my husband of 16 years who in the past year admitted multiple infidelities over the entire course of our marriage, a porn addiction, suffered 2 job losses, and even more, if you can imagine. I love this man. He has not loved me well or kept our vows. He is father to my precious daughters. Thank God for the Catholic Church for keeping me from gutting him like a fish, tossing him into the depths of hell, collecting lifetime alimony, destroying our lives and our potential future. Yes, I mean that. And my church sucks, just like most of the others. I have no support or camaraderie there. I’m not here to talk about that (yet 😉 or ‘testify’ for Catholicism, just to comment that my life has SUCKED for a while. Bad. And I’ve essentially been alone – maybe that’s a good thing. But I am not going to let the open and outright attack on marriage, family, men, women, and children destroy what I have worked hard for my whole life without a fight and I credit the Catholic Church and God’s truth as maintained by her (I didn’t say well). I am a sinner. I am not perfect by ANY stretch. I have been wronged. I have a college degree and an honorable discharge and am not ‘afraid’ of or intimidated by ‘going it alone’. I could have a grand old time, I assure you. But that is not what I signed up for. I have not been the most devout – or even good, really – Catholic. But when the rubber hit the road, God has come through for me, and given me such suffering, and insight, and capacity for understanding and forgiveness and more. I’m struggling every day. I’m fighting for my marriage, my family, and my husband, whom I vowed to love, honor, and cherish – and I do. Ya know what a blessing it is that I found you twisted folks 😉 instead of the feminist set?? I cursed being geographically isolated for a while during this trial. I went to a BIG, liberal, university – the ‘Womyn’s’ division no less. I was fully indoc’d – I assure you. How grateful I am I wasn’t surrounded by my ‘friends’ during this debacle and found another subset of the truth instead. Just understand righteous women DO exist. And we are terribly alone and persecuted worse than u can imagine. I’ve still got a lot to do to get my life reordered. Could I get an annulment according to my church? Probably. Not gonna happen. I have faith. And love. And grace. And I am so grateful. And my fight won’t end with me and mine. No way.

  18. @NautiGal

    Welcome.

    I was sure my first would be on SSM’s page, I hope you find it a compliment, instead of an insult, Cane, that you came in a close second (you are what lead me to her!)

    In the immortal words of Guy, Crewman #6: “I’m just jazzed about being on the show, man.” While I often find people’s preferences bizarre, I always try to keep in mind that I have nothing original to say. Whatever is good is just a reminder of something someone else said; and probably not as good.

    Just understand righteous women DO exist. And we are terribly alone and persecuted worse than u can imagine.

    One way I do imagine is that in this time of easy and celebrated divorce, women who keep their vows are often considered weak and stupid. So, on top of the personal pain and effort, you have to deal with the general public’s perverted criticism of you and your honor. It’s sometimes hard to remember that the perversion is their problem.

  19. If someone is unfaithful to you in your marriage, yes, you Biblically have the right to divorce them. (Mt 5: 31-32)

  20. @Red

    Welcome.

    If someone is unfaithful to you in your marriage, yes, you Biblically have the right to divorce them. (Mt 5: 31-32)

    But what does that mean?

    People focus on that verse (and teach others to make it a focus too) because they are looking for an excuse for divorce. In Mark 10 and Luke 16 Jesus rebukes all divorce for any reason, and says all subsequent marriages or sex outside that marriage is adultery. That means the marriage isn’t over. In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul says that we should not divorce, and that anyone who divorces should not remarry; especially a divorced woman. In other words: Don’t commit adultery. Adultery is impossible outside of marriage, and so we know that legal dissolution of a marriage is not full dissolution of a marriage.

    Divorce does not put a person back to square one. It does not make them unmarried and therefore free to marry. It makes them divorced from the one to whom they are married.

  21. Granted. The Bible does not give you permission to get a divorce if your wife had an affair. But what if your wife had a long term affair and even after it is over, still declines to have sex with you? (Going on several years now.) It sounds that Biblically the husband just has to accept having a sexless marriage. Am I correct? Paul says that the husband and wife should not deprive each other, but does not give such deprivation as an “out” from the marriage.

    [CC: Fixed]

  22. @Robert

    I would say that the time is long past due to bring your church into it. That is a woman who needs to be disciplined, or even ex-communicated.

    15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

    It will come out whether she was actually even a Christian to start with. If it is found she’s not, then it’s a whole different ball of wax.

    I definitely would not fault a man in that specific situation who changed the locks, changed his bank accounts, moved out, etc. and generally removed all support from a rebellious wife until she repented. Paul says if an unbeliever divorces the believer, then the believer is under no bond, and I think “no bond” mean “no bond”. This would be the one proper time for annulment. The church has to establish that, though.

  23. I thought it was cautioned to not leave widows unmarried, so that they aren’t tempted? The primary function of marriage is to protect people from lust. Otherwise, “it is better to remain single.” For the same reason, I think people should remarry after their Biblical divorce.

  24. @Robert, that is marital unfaithfulness. It’s not even just a one-time occurrence, it’s consistent unfaithfulness. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s up to you what you want to do with your marriage at this point.

  25. @Red

    I thought it was cautioned to not leave widows unmarried, so that they aren’t tempted?

    Yes, widows. Divorcees are not widows. People should be tempted to return to those whom they have divorced; circumstances providing. That’s called reconciliation.

    The primary function of marriage is to protect people from lust.

    That’s not what the Bible says. The primary function of marriage is to make two people one. One reason to do this is love. Another reason to do this is to protect people from lust. Most of the instructions we are given in the Bible is not for one thing in particular, but cover a multitude of sins and weaknesses. The only singular purpose is God’s glorification.

    Otherwise, “it is better to remain single.”

    Said Paul, and Paul says it is himself speaking, and not a word from the Lord. I agree with Paul (which I feel foolish even saying; as if it were my place to judge an apostle), but we have to be careful not to place undue burdens on one another. In this case by exaggerating the burden of avoiding lust into a justification of remarriage while the other spouse lives. We should not do evil even to make good come of it.

    @Red

    It most certainly is marital unfaithfulness.

    It’s up to you what you want to do with your marriage at this point.

    No, it’s up to God. If anyone is a Christian then they are a slave to Christ. That slavery grants freedom from the world, but it does not grant freedom from Christ or His word. It’s certainly not up to me, but that does not mean that it is every man for himself. It seems like Robert gets that. A man in that situation has a tough row to hoe, emotionally, but God is faithful. We do not take things into our own hands.

  26. Still a little afraid to stick my head up here but as a faithful Catholic in a valid marriage I may be free to divorce but I am NOT free to remarry. The prospect of NO SEX in my foreseeable future plays a big role in my decision to stay. I’m smoking hot for a 41-yr-old and would have no problem finding someone else. Without properly knowing how, I’d like to reference Zippy’s post regarding the proposed pastoral exception being vicious cruelty – which it IS. My husband was separated from God and it was my duty to snatch him back from the precipice of hell. If God thinks using sex as an incentive to save souls is ok, who are we to argue? For the church to encourage husbands or wives to damn both their souls to hell is beyond cruel.
    Robert – pray for your wife at the very least. He does work in mysterious and wonderful ways.
    Mr. Caldo – just for the record, I meant Elspeth, not SSM. No offense meant to anyone.

    [CC: How’s that?]

  27. Or in other words, “The very wondrous and extraordinary protection which God gives us (because we are foolish!) is taken as a curse by we faithless.”

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