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bragelina-split-the-end-of-love

Brangelina split: The end of Love?

Or so that is what some news reports have been saying, after news emerged yesterday that Hollywood’s golden couple, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, are ending a two-year marriage—after 12 years and six children together.

According to documents obtained by various news agencies, A-lister actress and director Jolie is pulling the plug on her marriage to actor Brad Pitt because of “irreconcilable differences”. Other news media suggest that Jolie’s decision—which her attorney described vaguely as being made “for the health of the family”—could have been triggered by differences in parenting style or Pitt’s anger problems and substance abuse issues.

Jolie has reportedly asked for custody of their six children and visitation rights to be granted to Pitt; she did not ask for spousal support. What about Pitt? Well, reports have noted that he is “very saddened” by the divorce and is most concerned about the “well-being of kids”.

News of their split has sent shockwaves all over the world, with many expressing sadness over the end of Brangelina, as they have been dubbed by the media. But why should they? After all, if we’re being honest, Hollywood marriages and divorces are, well, a dime a dozen.

Perhaps it’s because for once, we believed that Brangelina would be different. Throughout their 12-year relationship, we’ve seen the couple’s commitment to their professional work, humanitarian work, each other, and their children. As one Independent article put it, “Despite being astronomically wealthy and living thousands of miles away from the average Brit, Brangelina’s relationship was perhaps the most aspirational of all – no tantrums, no screaming matches, no huge betrayals, just getting on with life, even with the stresses and strains of illness, operations and six children to boot.” In short, they appeared to be the exemplary Hollywood couple.

That’s probably why many millennials have been reacting to the news of Brangelina’s divorce with the idea that “If they can’t do it, no one can”. And that’s perhaps why many news outlets have chosen to accompany their headlines on the split with lines like “Love is officially dead” and “Love ends today”.

But not everyone agrees. As Mashable’s writer Martha Tesema writes, “Love is far from dead. It’s very much alive, blossoming within the thousands of other high-profile power couples in the world we can look up to in awe.”

Tesema is right on one thing—love is far from dead. The end of Brangelina does not mean that love has ceased to exist. As much as we are in awe of everything they’ve achieved, they’re mere mortals—just like every one of us. They make mistakes. They fight. They break up.

But to take comfort in the fact that love continues to be “alive” because the marriages of other high-profile power couples are still thriving is downright naïve—and, may I add, foolish. If not for anything else, Brangelina’s split should sound the alarm bells in our minds that nobody is immune to broken relationships. Regardless of whether we’re the President of America or Britain’s most well-known footballer, we’re all fallible. By our own strength, we can never guarantee the constancy of our love for our partners—and vice versa.

Who then should we look to? It’s obvious enough, isn’t it?

Christ.

Love is far from dead—because of Christ. It’s very much alive, blossoming within those who have received Christ’s love.

So let’s take heart, not in ourselves, but in the One whose love will never fail. Because He first loved us, we can keep on loving (1 John 4:19).

Photo credit: Filmstiftung via Foter.com / CC BY

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ODJ: forgive and forget?


Sergei said to his pastor, “It’s been 2 years since Danica cheated on me, and I still can’t get past the hurt. Some days I think I’ve moved on, but the pain is always lurking beneath the surface, ready to explode in the most unexpected moments. We can be having dinner in a restaurant, and sorrow and anger washes over me and I feel that I despise her. How can I forgive if I can’t forget?”
The pastor stated that it’s impossible to forget what Danica did, because she mattered to Sergei. “Have you ever apologised to someone,” he said, “only to learn that the person didn’t remember you or what you had done? There is nothing worse than realising you are so inconsequential that your sin didn’t even register. So it’s a good sign that Danica’s affair bothers you.”
Sergei pressed, “But doesn’t the Bible say that forgiveness requires forgetting? Doesn’t God forget our sins?”
“If by forgetting you mean that God no longer knows what we have done, then No!” responded his pastor. “It is impossible for God not to know everything that has happened or will happen. When God says He “will never again remember their sins” or that “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12), He means He no longer holds our sins against us. He remembers what we have done, and His forgiveness is the richer for it. Because you love Danica and her sin cuts so deep, your forgiveness won’t be a one off event. Every time you remember what she did, you will need to release her moral debt. But as you fight for forgiveness, you will realise that you are fighting for her, and she will become more precious to you.
 “Forgiveness requires that we remember and release. We can’t forgive what we forget.” —Mike Wittmer

February 16, 2013 

READ: Jeremiah 31:31-40 


I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins (v.34).
 

Sergei said to his pastor, “It’s been 2 years since Danica cheated on me, and I still can’t get past the hurt. Some days I think I’ve moved on, but the pain is always lurking beneath the surface, ready to explode in the most unexpected moments. We can be having dinner in a restaurant, and sorrow and anger washes over me and I feel that I despise her. How can I forgive if I can’t forget?”
The pastor stated that it’s impossible to forget what Danica did, because she mattered to Sergei. “Have you ever apologised to someone,” he said, “only to learn that the person didn’t remember you or what you had done? There is nothing worse than realising you are so inconsequential that your sin didn’t even register. So it’s a good sign that Danica’s affair bothers you.”
Sergei pressed, “But doesn’t the Bible say that forgiveness requires forgetting? Doesn’t God forget our sins?”
“If by forgetting you mean that God no longer knows what we have done, then No!” responded his pastor. “It is impossible for God not to know everything that has happened or will happen. When God says He “will never again remember their sins” or that “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12), He means He no longer holds our sins against us. He remembers what we have done, and His forgiveness is the richer for it. Because you love Danica and her sin cuts so deep, your forgiveness won’t be a one off event. Every time you remember what she did, you will need to release her moral debt. But as you fight for forgiveness, you will realise that you are fighting for her, and she will become more precious to you.
 “Forgiveness requires that we remember and release. We can’t forgive what we forget.” —Mike Wittmer


MORE
Read Psalm 103 to discover how God has forgiven us. How can we apply this to the forgiving of others?
 
NEXT
While forgetting is an obstacle to forgiveness, is there an opposite danger in dwelling on the offence? How can you tell if remembering a sin has morphed into unhealthy brooding?

 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

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ODJ: Jesus’ Father


I was recently reading through the book of John when my eyes fell on these words: “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God” (John 20:17). This is the amazing declaration Jesus made to Mary Magdalene, just moments after she came to the stunning realisation that He had risen from the dead. 
Jesus’ words are truly good news that speak to a deep need we all have inside of us. Every last one of us needs a father. 
God didn’t flip a coin to decide whether or not to relate to us as a father or a mother. I believe it was intentional. God knew that once mankind got off track and fell into the brokenness of sin, the number of godly fathers serving their families would be severely lacking. 
And the results have been devastating.
In America, for instance, research shows that children from fatherless homes are 32 times more likely to run away from home, 20 times more likely to have behavioural disorders, 9 times more likely to drop out of secondary school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
In his book Faith of the Fatherless, Paul Vitz points out the connection between atheism and the lack of a father figure. He argues that one of the major sources of the world’s prominent militant atheists is ”the absence of a good father”. 
Part of the good news of Jesus is that God doesn’t want us to go through our lives lacking the presence and love of a father. Our heavenly Father wants to fill those places where our earthly fathers (even the good ones) fall short. 
He wants us to know Him as our Father, just as Jesus does. —Jeff Olson
Exodus 3:1-22 ‹365-day plan |

February 2, 2013 

READ: Matthew 18:10-14 


In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish (v.14).

 

I was recently reading through the book of John when my eyes fell on these words: “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God” (John 20:17). This is the amazing declaration Jesus made to Mary Magdalene, just moments after she came to the stunning realisation that He had risen from the dead.

Jesus’ words are truly good news that speak to a deep need we all have inside of us. Every last one of us needs a father.

God didn’t flip a coin to decide whether or not to relate to us as a father or a mother. I believe it was intentional. God knew that once mankind got off track and fell into the brokenness of sin, the number of godly fathers serving their families would be severely lacking.

And the results have been devastating.
In America, for instance, research shows that children from fatherless homes are 32 times more likely to run away from home, 20 times more likely to have behavioural disorders, 9 times more likely to drop out of secondary school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
In his book Faith of the Fatherless, Paul Vitz points out the connection between atheism and the lack of a father figure. He argues that one of the major sources of the world’s prominent militant atheists is ”the absence of a good father”.

Part of the good news of Jesus is that God doesn’t want us to go through our lives lacking the presence and love of a father. Our heavenly Father wants to fill those places where our earthly fathers (even the good ones) fall short.

He wants us to know Him as our Father, just as Jesus does. —Jeff Olson
Exodus 3:1-22 ‹365-day plan |

MORE
Read Matthew 18:10-14 to see how serious God takes His role as our heavenly Father.
 
NEXT
Where do you need God to be a father to you? What are the characteristics of God the Father that mean the most to you?
 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)

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ODJ: let go


I spent the summer of 1992 tumbling, somersaulting and crashing over the waters of a nearby lake. To avoid a grand impression, I was simply trying to learn how to water-ski. The painful endeavor revealed the deep level of determination I carry within me. One of my greatest errors lay in my refusal to let go of the rope and admit defeat when I had fallen. It was not a pretty sight.
 Twenty years later, far from the roar of the boat’s motor and the cool water of a hot summer day, I find myself tumbling, somersaulting and crashing through the waters of a particular relationship to find reconciliation. Like Samuel, I have mourned over what could have been (1 Samuel 15:35). Believing the call of God was on this individual’s life to lead others into His truth, I am left confused and grieved over the events that have transpired. I’ve tried through my own determination to understand, but instead hit the water with a fierce smack. The message is clear: Let go. 
Samuel could have continued to insist that he was bound to see Saul get it right, but God had appointed otherwise (16:1). The option was no longer whether Saul would obey what God had commanded, but whether Samuel would heed the voice of God in releasing Saul. 
In Romans 12:18 Paul writes, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Because Jesus has set within us the message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19), we’re to do all we can to keep our relationships in right accord with the Word. There are also occasions, however, when the right choice is separation—but only through biblical means and measures. —Regina Franklin
 | 365-day plan› Exodus 1:8

January 31, 2013 

READ: 1 Samuel 15:35-16:13 


“You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, . . . Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be My king” (16:1).
 

I spent the summer of 1992 tumbling, somersaulting and crashing over the waters of a nearby lake. To avoid a grand impression, I was simply trying to learn how to water-ski. The painful endeavor revealed the deep level of determination I carry within me. One of my greatest errors lay in my refusal to let go of the rope and admit defeat when I had fallen. It was not a pretty sight.
 Twenty years later, far from the roar of the boat’s motor and the cool water of a hot summer day, I find myself tumbling, somersaulting and crashing through the waters of a particular relationship to find reconciliation. Like Samuel, I have mourned over what could have been (1 Samuel 15:35). Believing the call of God was on this individual’s life to lead others into His truth, I am left confused and grieved over the events that have transpired. I’ve tried through my own determination to understand, but instead hit the water with a fierce smack. The message is clear: Let go. 


Samuel could have continued to insist that he was bound to see Saul get it right, but God had appointed otherwise (16:1). The option was no longer whether Saul would obey what God had commanded, but whether Samuel would heed the voice of God in releasing Saul. 


In Romans 12:18 Paul writes, “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” Because Jesus has set within us the message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19), we’re to do all we can to keep our relationships in right accord with the Word. There are also occasions, however, when the right choice is separation—but only through biblical means and measures. —Regina Franklin


MORE
Read Genesis 13:6-18 and consider how Abraham’s decision to separate from Lot revealed the inner motivations of each man and opened the door for God’s blessing in Abraham’s life.
 
NEXT
What are the biblical markers to indicate when a relationship is no longer healthy? How must our response to the marriage covenant be different from our response to other relationships in our lives?
 

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)