Marcy S., age 62, North Carolina

Long letter from Mark on Saturday asking me once again to accept the reality of his relationship with Sandra W. and the termination of his marriage with Sandra S. I had already been convicted by something Brother Oscar said last Sunday night: “My responsibility is to pray for the unsaved person, not to convict him — this is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. I am to be loving, kind, and tolerant.” I realized that I had been trying to convict Mark of his sinful behavior by refusing to accept his relationship with Sandra W. In my heart I had been judging and condemning him. As Brother Oscar said, I must release Mark unto God through prayer and then just simply love him. So I wrote Mark yesterday and confessed my sin and asked his forgiveness. A burden has been lifted! I feel free now to love and accept Mark and Sandra W. — thank You, Holy Spirit, for convicting me and giving me the gift of repentance.

Now I must write Sandra S. For some time now I’ve had the feeling that I shouldn’t keep encouraging her to have faith that Mark would come back into their marriage, but rather begin to make a new life for herself without him. Mark says she is beginning to do this so now I must encourage her in that direction. I do pray, Lord, that Sandra will find real happiness and fulfillment in a Christian marriage. May Your perfect will be done for her.

Mark asked me to try to understand that he did not share my beliefs (about sin, etc.) and that to his way of thinking, his present lifestyle is much less “sinful” than before he left Sandra S. He has stopped lying and smoking (pot) and is being faithful to one woman. His life must really have been a mess!

Of course, Lord, I know You can still work a miracle and restore Mark and Sandra’s marriage, but I know, too, that You never force anyone to do something against his will. The future is in Your hands. For now, I believe You want me to accept reality and pour out Your love on all involved in this situation.