Isn’t the idea of “choosing” the husband or wife in a domestic dispute unbiblical? A friend, pastor, church, or family member should be on both teams, shouldn’t they? Loving both. Caring for both. Doing what is best for both. It just feels wrong to have to choose one over the other–how do you make sense of it?
Let’s say questions arise about Jim being unkind, oppressive, and demanding so you talk to Jim and “address his fault.” The next thing you know, you feel disloyal. After all, have you talked to Carol about nagging, gossiping or withdrawing? He feels she is intentionally distant and less committed to the relationship than he is. Isn’t someone going to talk to her about that?
If this is your experience, you’ve just been played. You went to him with good intentions. You may have addressed him after talking to Carol, but you leave feeling like you were just put on the defensive and maybe you’ve got it wrong. Guess who determined there’s a Team Jim and a Team Carol? Jim did.
The reason there is division, the reason you can’t cheer for both at the same time, is because one person has decided the relationship is mutually exclusive. He has to win. Everything is a competition. It’s him vs. her in decisions, conversations, and relationships. According to him, you can’t have his back and hers too. In order to live up to his demands or have a relationship with him, you must let go of supporting and believing her.
Jesus said, “the one who is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40). In other words, if they’re not opposed, don’t waste energy and time. This is a stance that trusts God with the outcome. People are not necessary to God accomplishing His work. God will use all of it–even the things that seem contrary–to glorify Himself and meet the needs of His people (Romans 8:28-29; Philippians 4:19).
An individual who wields power and control says the opposite. “the one who is not with us is against us.” He is possessive of other’s approval, accolades, and endorsements. It’s a clear indication that he’s not trusting God with the outcome, he’s trusting himself and others for an outcome of his making. He is at work manipulating conversations, circumstances, and rewriting reality to fit his desires.
Maybe you’ve been blaming it on feminists in your congregation, on secular methods that have crept in, or your own sinful tendency to practice partiality. The truth? A manipulative individual set you up against his partner, his wife. This is one more way to know you’re in a very different realm of sinful behavior. He is not loving, supporting, and encouraging his wife. He’s competing against her–more than that, he is constantly threatened by failure and pushes her face in the mud so he can succeed. And you? He will use you to keep her in check. You will support, “help,” and do his bidding. If you don’t, he’ll kick you off the team.
Then, when you don’t want to be controlled by that individual, you are by default, on Team Carol. You haven’t done anything wrong, unbiblical, or heretical. You simply didn’t join Team Jim. It has nothing at all to do with you. Welcome. You now have a small taste of life with Jim.
The beautiful thing is that we can choose to be on God’s team. God desires good for both. God desires life, transformation, and grace for both. The bad news? You will be misunderstood and accused of being on the wrong side–which, ironically, is God’s side.