Faith and Life: Dealing with divorce

Lately, I have been saddened and thankful to be part of several children’s journeys through their parents’ divorce.

Sad because it is so very painful to see children hurt. Thankful because having been around divorce myself, I know how badly children need support and a place to process their feelings.

Often, the adults in their lives are preoccupied with their own pain and depression. And while parents try the best they can during separation and divorce, there is no denying that they are not at their best during a season like this.

Children are the innocent victims of divorce. Children receiving therapy during divorce often become much healthier teens and adults later on. Why? Because they are given a voice that often grieving parents cannot offer on a consistent basis. And because they understand they are not alone.

We need to remember God is a God of redemption, and he forgives. He does not shame or criticize. Judgment from the church toward parents divorcing is not helpful to the couple suffering. And what is often forgotten is that the children do hear and feel the repercussions of judgment.

I have spent whole therapy sessions with children who share their hurt over the church being critical and judgmental. I have to process that pain with youngsters, and it is heartbreaking. This should be a reality check for many of us. To speak strong, negative opinions damage many.

There is something very interesting about being one who judges, especially if you are a Christian. God often allows us to go through something ourselves at some point that is humility-producing. The point here is to bring perspective to the way we treat those who are suffering before further pain is caused — bringing my point back to the innocent children of divorce.

If I had not suffered, I could not minister to and treat children of divorce with authenticity along with my training. As I sit and do therapy, or listen to an adolescent speak of their pain and loss, I realize I have a precious human being in my midst that has the potential for complete healing and the possibility to do something amazing with their lives.

Emotional pain stunts our possibilities at success and for reaching our full potential or call. So it is crucial that we support, listen and come alongside human beings — not slander and destroy them. None of us would want that for ourselves or our children.

A kind word or ear does amazing things for the human psyche and spirit. And we all know we do not need to be professional clinicians to be Christ’s hand extended to one in pain.

My professional and personal life has led me to come alongside those in pain. Most of us have suffered in one way or another. We simply have to pull from our experiences when others hurt and reflect, “How would I have wanted to be treated when I was suffering?”

If we pause and do this, we may help — rather than hinder — the healing of another, psychologically and spiritually. And people remember those that loved them through pain. I know I sure do!

It is an awesome thing to know we have such power as humans, to assist another in crisis. It can be an honor, and hold eternal blessings for the giver and receiver.

So if you know of someone suffering from divorce, remember this: It is not the unpardonable sin. And all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. That includes you! That includes me!

So let’s bless, not curse, our fellow humans in their pain. Because we know we may find ourselves in a similar situation one day.

And Christ is a healer, not one who brings harm in repentance, no matter what the sin.

The Rev. KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN can be reached by email at or by mail at Kimberlie Zakarian Therapy, Inc. 2233 Honolulu Ave. Ste 310, Montrose, CA 91020.

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