By / Sep 9

Advice on achieving wedded bliss likely began when Adam and Eve passed their hard-won wisdom about the first marriage down to their children. But since then the quality of marital advice has varied considerably. Too often, recommendations about what is necessary to create and maintain stable and happy marriages are based more on old wives tales than on supportable evidence. 

Here, for example, are three myths about marriage that Americans continue to believe and pass on to young people.

Myth #1: Marriage is inherently unstable, and about half of marriages end in divorce.

Although this claim has been debunked for decades, the idea that close to half of all marriages end in divorce remains all too common. A related belief is that while the statistic is no longer true, it was the reality at an earlier time in American history. The truth, though, is that there has never been a time when half of marriages even came close to ending in divorce. 

The most common metric for measuring divorce is the divorce rate, a measure of the tendency for divorce to occur within a specific population. The divorce rate is calculated in any given year by dividing the number of divorces occurring within a population over the year, by the average or mid-year population for that year, expressed times 1000. For example, in 2019 there were 14.9 divorces for every thousand marriages. This was the lowest rate in nearly 50 years. 

A low divorce rate means that people are staying married longer. Census data reveals that the median duration of current marriages in the U.S. in 2019 was 19.8, which means about half of marriage lasted longer than that, and half lasted less. 

Where did the myth originate? It’s likely a result of people calculating the marriage to divorce ratio. In 2020, the rate was 2.2 marriages for every divorce. That’s almost 1 divorce per every 2 marriages—close to 50%. But as Dan Hurley of The New York Times explains:

[R]esearchers say that [using the marriage ratio] is misleading because the people who are divorcing in any given year are not the same as those who are marrying, and that the statistic is virtually useless in understanding divorce rates. In fact, they say, studies find that the divorce rate in the United States has never reached one in every two marriages, and new research suggests that, with rates now declining, it probably never will.

Myth #2: If you want to stay married, wait to get married until you are in your 30s.

A common view in America is that to have a successful marriage a person should marry later in life, presumably when they are more mature and have established some stability. That is almost always a reliable truth if the person is considering marriage in their teens. Research has shown that delaying marriage from the teens until the early 20s produces the largest declines in divorce risk.

And it also used to be true of people who waited to marry until after age 30. But that seems to have changed in the past 20 years. Recent analysis (since 2002) shows that prior to age 32 or so, each additional year of age at marriage reduces the odds of divorce by 11%. However, after age 32 the odds of divorce increase by 5% per year.

Myth #3: If you want to stay married, live together first. 

One of the most persistent myths about developing a stable marriage is the idea that a couple should live together—cohabitate—before tying the knot. A study by Barna Group found that a majority of Americans believe in cohabitation (65%) and 84% of that group  do so because they believe it provides a test of compatibility prior to marrying. 

The reality, though, is that there is almost no greater predictor of divorce than cohabitation. Living together before marriage increases the probability a couple will split up. For example, a 2018 study found that cohabitation before marriage was associated with a lower risk of divorce in the first year of marriage but a higher risk thereafter

One of the reasons may be that the experience of cohabitation makes people more open to divorce. A study from Europe found ​​that once people married, they were less tolerant of divorce. That was true only for those who had not lived together first. If a couple had cohabited prior to marriage, they were more tolerant of divorce than they had been when they were single. The experience of being in a less-than-committed living arrangement carried over in attitudes even after the wedding. 

Even for those who do not divorce, cohabitation can reduce marital satisfaction. One study found that almost half of people who cohabited before engagement (43.1%) reported lower marital satisfaction, dedication, and confidence as well as more negative communication with their spouse. 

Some actual good advice 

What contributes to ​a successful marriage? Here are three pieces of advice that actually help couples create a happy marriage: 

Share faith in Christ: When asked about what kinds of things are important for a successful marriage, 44% of adults surveyed by Pew Research said shared religious beliefs are “very important.” By this metric, notes Pew, shared religion is “seen as more important for a good marriage than shared political attitudes, but substantially less important than shared interests, good sex and a fair division of household labor.” Follow the Apostle Paul’s advice and “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14)—especially in marriage. 

Share a pew: Spouses should have a shared faith in Christ and then share a pew in church. Research has found that couples are substantially more likely to report being happy in their relationship when both partners attend church regularly than when neither partner does. Couples who attend religious services together are also happier in their relationships than are their peers who don’t regularly attend church.

Share prayer and Christian friends: Evidence shows that couples who attend church together enjoy significantly happier relationships, in large part, says ​​family researcher W. Bradford Wilcox, because they socialize with friends who share their faith and especially because they pray with one another. “In other words,” adds Wilcox, “those couples who pray together are happiest together.”

By / Jul 28

I’ve been in the business of helping save marriages for nearly seven years now and in the business of keeping families together much longer. The amount of similarities between the families I work with and our current cultural climate is striking. We are all seeking to navigate these choppy waters, and some of us are drowning in the process. 

In reality, there’s not much difference between a bickering and resentful family and a bickering and resentful society. In fact, you would have to work hard to convince me the two are not a byproduct of one another. We’re living in a time promulgated with self-derived truth. We find our version of events, enter into the fray, and are unwilling to yield and unable to find solutions. American families have been brutalizing one another in this way for the last 50 years due to dramatic cultural shifts in family philosophy and belief systems. So, it is no surprise to me this chaos has poured onto our streets.  

It is why you’ve heard it said the art of compromise has been lost on our society. There are days this certainly feels the case. But hope is not lost. It cannot be. The alternative is too grim. How we handle the contentious conversations of our day has an immediate impact on our culture in the present, not some distant day in the future. We can no longer kick the can down the road on our relationships in this American family.

I took it upon myself to think through the images and clichés I often use in couples therapy—the things I find myself saying from memory again and again that resonate with the families I work with. My hope is that you can take these principles and work toward compromise in your homes and spheres of influence. The time to act is now. Step out and have meaningful conversations with your neighbors. Show your support for the people who make up our nation by being kind wherever you are. Put others first above your own needs, and never cease to advocate for truth and justice above all things.  And seek to apply these ideas along the way in order to live at peace with those around you.

5 ways to approach tough relationships

You can both be right. There are times in life when we should stand our ground in the face of injustice and evil. Murder, rape, and other criminal activities are just a few examples. When it comes to these things, we should never compromise, never back down, and seek swift and righteous justice. But in most conflict situations, there is a lot of room for compromise. Believing there is some validity to what the other person is saying is a good first step. You may not agree with all of what they are saying, and you may completely disagree with their emotional reactions. However, people can almost always find common ground. 

And it always starts with seeing how the other side could be right. Because when you can see the shoreline from the other person’s point of view, you can begin to swim in that direction. When you can accept this, tension is relieved from the pressure cooker, and the two sides can begin to converse. The trick is talking in the right way. The communication of compromise is hard to do, especially when you’re used to fighting for your side.   

Make “the thing” the thing. This is conflict resolution 101. When I was in seminary there was a fun saying all the preaching students would recite: “A mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pews.” This goes for conflict as well. It’s impossible to see the shoreline if there’s fog in the air. The antidote is clear communication, which leads to clear understanding. Understanding leads to empathy. Empathy leads to compromise. But if two people are talking about two related but different topics, the communication breaks down at the “understanding” phase. 

I can’t tell you how many people are such bad communicators that they’re actually fighting over two completely different topics most of the time. This is why you have to make sure the thing you’re fighting about is actually the same thing. If not, we get mixed up, confusion reigns, we don’t listen, and we become defensive. Our current cultural climate is a perfect example of this. There’s a lot of talk going on and a lot of emotionally charged ideas and opinions with layers of variations. That’s because problems are never just one thing; they are complex. Thankfully, solutions are often simple, though not painless (more on this later).

So what’s the key to knowing when you’re not talking about the same thing? When your conversation goes round and round, and both sides end up repeating the same thing while just varying the terminology. The reason people repeat the same thing over and over is because they feel like they’re not being heard. If the conversation is cycling into oblivion, you have two options: the person you’re speaking with does not understand, or the person you’re speaking with does understand but does not care. 

More often than not, if it’s a legitimate relationship (basically anything outside of Facebook, Twitter, or social media), the person you’re speaking with does care. This means you have to pause the conversation and move into what I call reflection mode. Reflection mode is a simplified version of the speaker/listener technique, where one person repeats back what they hear the speaker saying until the speaker agrees that the listener comprehends what they’re saying. So, if my friend says, “I like cats.” I say, “What I hear you saying is you like cats, is that right?” They say, “Yes.” If I say, “What I hear you saying is you like rats, is that correct?” They say “No. I said cats not rats.” The conversation remains emotionally low, and we keep going in an attempt to understand whoever is speaking in that moment.  

Work to understand, instead of working to be right.  What happens when the speaker responds, “I said cats not rats, you piece of trash. You’re so dumb”? Remember when I said it’s possible the person you’re talking to doesn’t care? If compromise is going to happen, you have to work to understand instead of working to be right. Things get volatile really quick when you have a person who only cares about being right. And that’s when you need to start looking for the nearest exit. Don’t feel bad about leaving. Express your concern and love for the people, your passion for the topic, and then politely excuse yourself.

We currently have a number of differing worldviews waging war in the hearts and minds of American society. Diversity of thought is a good thing, but you have to be open to other people’s experiences and feelings about an issue in order to understand one another. That’s how civilized conversations work. Discounting your spouse’s experiences will only lead to further frustration. Shaming your neighbor for speaking his or her mind about a topic will not win them over to seeing things from your point of view. In fact, it is guaranteed to escalate the conversation to a bad place. So if you find yourself using manipulative words or shouting another person down, go ahead and quit. Because even if you get the other person to be quiet, you most certainly have not won over their heart or mind.

Living justly leads to making sacrifices. Fairness and justice are not synonymous. Life is not fair, and no one should ever expect it to be. Before I was married my grandmother doled out some serious wisdom. She said, “There’s no such thing as 50/50 in marriage. Just focus on giving it your 100, and the rest will come together.” She was right. I’ve tried my best to give my marriage 100%. And I’d say it’s paid off really well. Furthermore, I’ve worked hard to not concern myself with what I’m doing versus what my wife is doing or not doing. This really makes a difference. Saying something is not fair is not grounds for compromise; it’s the foundation for entitlement.

Justice, on the other hand, is something completely different. And unfortunately, it is often deferred. It should make us sick when this happens. Despite this, we should never stop living righteous lives in the face of injustice. And we should never cease to implement justice when we have the ability.

So let me bring these two together for you. Because life is not fair, and because justice must be done, sacrifices will have to be made. Adequate solutions are never pain-free. The path to healing and living together under one roof will come at a cost. There is no other option. You will have to die to yourself on multiple occasions. You will have to give ground in exchange for peace and harmony. This is how marriages work. This is how families find peace.

One last piece of this “just sacrifice” puzzle is important for you to understand. You cannot find peace with a person who is not willing to live justly. You cannot burn down the house in order to save the family. I would never advise a friend or a family member to make a deal with the devil. And neither should you.

Don’t give up. All is not lost. Hope is still the best medicine. Your marriage is not over. Our society can move forward. There are greater days ahead if we want them. Show me a man without hope, and I’ll show you a man without a future. And as Christians, we of all people have the greatest reason to persevere in the midst of difficulty because we have a living hope (1 Pet. 1:3). 

Don’t allow the news cycle to tank your aspirations. Step out of your home and build relationships. Step out from behind your keyboard. Ask people how they’re doing. Go out of your way to acknowledge someone while you’re walking through the grocery store or standing in the checkout line. Live a righteous life, and look for the best in others. But don’t just stop there; work for the best of others. If we give up now, we leave a vacuum, and there is no telling what will fill it. As Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” While we’re in this contentious society, let’s affirm the dignity of everyone we encounter by showing them the same grace we’ve been shown in Christ. 

By / Dec 10

Life in ministry is often rich and rewarding. But there are challenges and season of struggle, as well. These struggles can take a toll on marriages in particular. At our National Conference, Phillip Bethancourt moderated a panel with Christine Hoover, Nicole Lino, Chris Osborne, and Kevin Ueckert as they discussed strengthening marriage in ministry by overcoming jealousy, resentment, discouragement, and loneliness.

By / Oct 18

It might surprise you to learn that one of the most consistent questions I get emails about at the ERLC is whether it is ethical or biblical for pastors to officiate religious wedding ceremonies or “commitment ceremonies” for widowed or widower church members who do not want to get legally remarried for fear it would jeopardize their Social Security survivor benefit. 

The answer, I believe, is an easy “no” to this question, which I’ll explain more below. This isn’t actually an ethical dilemma inasmuch as it is a painful circumstance with monetary implications.

I cannot speak to the specifics of Social Security, as I’m not an expert in that area. It may be the case that remarriage might have no effect at all. I would advise consulting the Social Security Administration’s website on how remarriage can impact individuals’ SSI benefit.

Without getting into the weeds of what triggers particular situations, the larger ethical question, stated more bluntly, is this: If Social Security is negatively impacted by remarriage, would it be okay to get remarried only in the eyes of God and not the state so that I can protect my income? 

Two ethical horizons

There are at least two ways to answer this question. 

The first ethical horizon is to acknowledge one of the motives underneath this scenario: Deceit. While a couple may have positive intentions to rightly marry in the eyes of God, as our laws in the United States now dictate, marriages are to be brought before the jurisdiction of the state. Marriage does not belong to the state. Rather, marriage is an institution the state believes is necessary to protect the safety and well-being of its citizens. Government, for example, needs to know who to hold accountable for the well-being of children that result from a marriage. I believe Christians are to obey just laws, which I believe this is, even if some do not like the implications of it (Matt. 22:15-22; Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17).

The second ethical horizon to discuss is how marriage is understood in this scenario, which I think is a mistaken one. I referenced above that marriage does not belong to the state; it does not come into existence or find its legitimacy just because the government says so. Marriage is a creation ordinance ordered by God, but belonging to both the creational order and sacred order (Gen. 2:18-24). Marriage exists within the architecture of creation necessary for human civilization. Marriage simply reflects the reality of male-female complementarity. 

Seen from this perspective, government necessarily has an interest in it because it serves the common good by uniting man and woman in a bond of permanence, sealed by procreative potential. At the same time, marriage is ultimately understood, not as just a male-female creational relationship, but as a shadow of the Christ-Church union (Eph. 5:22-23). Marriage is something more than an institution that exists under the canopy of the state and the common good, but it is never less than that.

Render unto Caesar

A reader might respond, “Okay, but marriage ultimately belongs to God, not the state, so I can have my spiritual marriage legitimately authorized by God without it needing authorized by the state. In this case, I am rendering marriage to its highest authority, God.”

The problem is that the “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's” statement of Matthew 22:21 does not mean that Christians can give to God what belongs to God while forgoing the legitimate areas that also belong to Caesar. It simply means that marriage has dual and legitimate overlapping interests that impact it as both a sacred and legal institution.

So, to make this clear: Pastors should not facilitate deceit, which is what is happening if a couple desires to be married in the eyes of God but refuses to submit to the laws of the state.

By / Oct 15

Marriage is designed by God. And it can be both beautiful and difficult. Many Christian couples might feel as though their marriage is unredeemable. But John McGee and Scott Kedersha encouraged struggling marriages with the redemptive work of the gospel at our National Conference. Check out their ministry here

By / Jul 16

A mentor once told us that in life, “There are things that you know, things that you don’t know, and there are things that you don’t know that you don’t know.” Twenty-five years of marriage has proven this adage to be true. When we entered the covenant of marriage we were young, naive, and gullible. Oh yes, we did premarital counseling and talked with older, more experienced married couples. But we were confident our love was potent enough to fill in any gaps that might arise. However, just like seminary can’t fully prepare a pastor for ministry, nothing can fully prepare a couple for the challenges of marriage. There are some things in life that can only be learned through experience. 

Marriage is one of the instruments God uses for our sanctification. After reflecting on a quarter century of sanctification through marriage, here are some insights we have learned so far. 

3 things we did wrong

Lack of foresight

It might be hard to imagine, but the kids grow up and move out. At the onset of our marriage, we envisioned a family. We dreamed about vacations, ball games, and being called “Mom” and “Dad.” And then God blessed us with twin sons. 

Those early years with children were fast and furious. We held on for dear life. In the chaos of diapers and disarray, we desperately wanted to steal time away for just the two of us.  And then suddenly, without much warning, it happened. They grew up. And we found ourselves back where we began. We didn’t know that one day we would be asking, “What did we do before children?”  

Marriage is a tool of sanctification and an instrument for mission. It’s vital to envision a plan for your second half of marriage before it arrives. As empty nesters, we are learning that we have a unique opportunity to serve the Lord; with more time and disposable income, we have flexibility to use our marriage for something bigger than ourselves. Moreover, in an age where so many marriages end after the children move out, couples that have a vision to serve the Lord in the second half of life provide a striking witness to the power of Christ. 

Sloppy scheduling

No. That’s our first answer to anything that wants to earn a spot on our calendars now. It takes some convincing to turn that no into a yes. Ungenerous? Perhaps. But that’s because for the first couple of decades of marriage, we tried real hard to squeeze everything in. And that came at a cost: physically, spiritually, and emotionally. If you get heart palpitations when you look at your calendar or fantasize about running away, you understand. 

When we started Restoration Church, we valued building relationships and serving the community. These are good things. But we burned ourselves out and harmed some of our most important relationships. Day in and day out we opened up our home to strangers, friends, and neighbors. And when we said yes to them, we had to say no to others. The people we said no to were those dearest to us: spouse, kids, and parents. No, we don’t have time for a date night this week, or month. No, we can’t watch your ball game. And no, we can’t make family dinner this weekend. We have learned that before we say yes, we evaluate, scrutinize, and then schedule.

Let the little things consume us

Along with thinning hair and thickening waistlines, middle age has also ushered in some welcome changes—like more calm and relaxed demeanors. Looking back, we were too uptight over little things. Gas gauges left on empty, mismatched socks, and mystery meatloaf once served as a source of tension in our marriage. But now we have learned to appreciate the humor in it all.  

God made the marriage covenant to reflect a multitude of things. And one aspect of marriage that is often missed is the daily joy of laughing with (and sometimes at) each other. Looking back, we wish we had not allowed little annoyances to siphon off our laugher. But maybe that’s part of the vision for the next 25! 

3 things we did right

Prepared before the storm

Suffering will come to your marriage—so plan ahead. In the span of 36 months our marriage endured the death of two parents, a staff member who gave himself to sin, and our church plant that was teetering on the verge of financial collapse—all while managing the emotional stress of sending our twin sons off to college. One thing we learned in that season was that you cannot prepare for a storm in the middle of a tempest. 

Jesus told his disciples, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” None of us ought to be shocked that troubles will touch our marriage. But the time to prepare for turbulence is in the days of stillness, not on the fly. Make spiritual and emotional investments in your marriage when life is settled and clear. Hold hands and pray, steal away and read Scripture, and celebrate God’s deliverance when your life is quiet. You will need it when chaos comes. 

Invested our money

In our years of ministry, we have seen money weaponized as an instrument of vengeance by many. Often couples declare one spouse to be the CFO—the one who controls the checkbook. And when the CFO is offended, there is a strong temptation to shut down all funding. Money can easily become a subtle way to act on unspoken grievances.  

On the other hand, money has the potential to become an investment vehicle to strengthen our marriages. We have tried (although imperfectly) to use money to bless one another. An unexpected treat from her favorite coffee shop or a spontaneous gift card to his favorite golf course has helped to reinforce the idea that we want to bless one another. Money has a unique way of revealing the activity of the heart; therefore, we have enjoyed setting some aside to creatively show love to one another.

Used discretion

In a culture that lacks discretion, we have decided to use more of it with how we speak to and about each other publically. We have found ourselves in the midst of peer groups or couples get-togethers that have quickly descended into people airing their frustrations about their spouses. This undermines your spouse while leaving the perception of discontentment in your marriage. Seeking wise counsel about your marital challenges is good and helpful, but we don’t need to publicly air our spouse’s faults at the church picnic. That can open the doors to a multitude of problems and temptations.

It is good to affirm each other publicly because not only does it build up our spouse, it also gives grace to those who hear (Eph. 4:29). This has helped reinforce our covenant as well as ward off unwanted admirers. 

These are just a few of the lessons learned from the first 25 years. We still don’t know what we don’t know, but we look forward to learning more in the next 25.

By / Dec 25

We live in a world where issues arise in the news and culture daily. Behind every issue, however, is a person—a person made in the image of God. This new ERLC Podcast series, “How to Handle,” will tackle tough issues for today with the hopes of equipping the church on how to handle the topic, care for those struggling with sin and temptation, and care for those who have been hurt. 

Subscribe here

 iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | Tune in

By / Dec 5

We live in a world where issues arise in the news and culture daily. Behind every issue, however, is a person—a person made in the image of God. This new ERLC Podcast series, “How to Handle,” will tackle tough issues for today with the hopes of equipping the church on how to handle the topic, care for those struggling with sin and temptation, and care for those who have been hurt. 

Subscribe here

 iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | Tune in

By / Aug 1

The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword and will often bring about division when the truth is taught. One of these areas we see this most prominently in our culture is when it comes to marriage. Jim Daly, in his talk “Reconcilable Differences: Building Bridges with Those Who Disagree About Marriage,” helps us see how we can lovingly interact with people who take stances that are opposite than ours.

Subscribe here

 iTunes | Google Play | Stitcher | Tune in

By / May 7

QUESTION: To help the pastors in the room think through when they are dealing with the topic of divorce and remarriage in their churches, what are some framework principles that they can have in terms of whom they should marry, whom they should remarry, what people are qualified for divorce, those types of things? Help them think through that.

RUSSELL MOORE: Well, a pastor has to work through what do I think are the biblically acceptable grounds for divorce and for remarriage, if he thinks there are any. He has got to work that through. And I think the time to work that through isn’t when you are sitting there with Bob and Martha. The time to work this through is at the very beginning of your ministry. It is something I always ask in ordination councils because that is the time to talk about this is at the ordination council when you are not dealing with specific faces. You are not dealing with specific power dynamics in the congregation. You are saying what does the Bible say, and are you going to commit your life to that? So he has got to have that understanding.

Secondly, he has got to preach about this: To stand up and say this is what the scripture says about divorce and about remarriage so that he can not only prevent some people by the power of God’s Holy Spirit from divorcing, but also so that he can give people who have divorced and perhaps have remarried unbiblically the opportunity to have the liberating power of repentance. If you don’t address it—and what we think is I don’t want to address this issue because I have people who are in this situation, and I don’t want to hurt them. So I am not going to address it because I am going to bring up something. The only way that the scripture gives us to actually be free of something is to confess it, to repent of it, and to reconcile. So if you don’t address it, all you are doing is leaving people under the condemnation of their own consciences or perhaps the accusation of Satan. You have to give people the ability to say what must we do now and then to be able to walk them through that.

So I have dealt with this many times where I have had a couple who have come up and they have said you know we both divorced unbiblically other people. We are now married to each other. We were wrong. We were sinning when we divorced our previous spouses. We didn’t have biblical grounds to do that. So what do we do now? I had a couple who said should we divorce and then go and try to reconcile with our spouses? And I said so you are asking me if the way you repent of divorce is by divorcing each other, abandoning each other and going and splitting up the marriages that have now happened with those previous spouses. No. That is not the answer. The answer to that is to confess—If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us of sin and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness—and then to live faithfully from that point forward. But that means having that sense of recognizing my sin against God and repenting of that. I think that has to happen.

And I think we have to have people who are willing to acknowledge that including publically in our own congregations. And one of the things I think that we have lost and it is really bad that we’ve lost it, is in a lot of congregations anyway that sense of public testimony. I understand why we’ve lost it. I mean I grew up in a church where for a little while there it became a competition between people who were trying to show just how bad they were before they met Christ. So the one guys stands up, I was drunk every single weekend; then I met Jesus. The next guy, you know Ronnie said he was drunk every weekend, I wish that I had just been drunk. I was on horse tranquilizers, and that didn’t even do anything. You know it comes to the point where this isn’t healthy or right.

But there is something really important about a gospel-driven sort of testimony, not where someone stands up and says the verbal equivalent of “It was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day,” but when that person stands up and says this is who I was. I was crucified with Christ, and the Spirit is at work in me in seeking to fight and to war against this in my own life right now. That is a word of hope that we need to give to other people. And I think having people to stand up and say I was wrong when I left my wife. I was wrong when I left my children. I was wrong when I walked away from my husband. I sinned against God and I sinned against them. And there is nothing I can do to go back and to rectify that, but I want you to know that I stand here as someone who confesses and agrees with God that that was wrong. But the blood of Christ is able to cleanse every sin including this one. I t