Not long ago, my social media exploded with the news that a high-profile couple had announced their divorce. This power couple had established a following as “relationship gurus,” with books, websites, videos, podcasts, numerous guest appearances and endorsements, and a very expensive “couple’s conference.” People who had bought into their empire felt betrayed, lied to, and confused.
The idea that “if this couple, who did date night, counseling, regular couple getaways, had a strong friend group, nary a financial worry, an army of trainers, house staff, and yet all their relationship ‘wisdom’ failed at marriage, why should the rest of us even try?” was expressed in many different forms of social media comments.
But when I heard the news, I wasn’t surprised. Not because “I could see it coming,” but because I’ve learned how easy it is for anyone to fail, even (or maybe especially) in their area of expertise.
For most of my adult life, I’ve been the person who just wanted to be handed the formula or the program for success. I wanted to be told “do this, that, and the other; and don’t do this other stuff, and you will have a great [marriage, financial situation, family, relationship with God, career, etc.].” I didn’t want the responsibility of doing my own research, making my own mistakes, and working out my own faith/path.
As you can imagine, this is a great recipe for disappointment. More than once, the gurus have failed. So let me summarize my learning here for you:
– The Bible puts a very personal responsibility on each of us when it tells us to be “careful to do the good things that result from being saved, obeying God with deep reverence, shrinking back from all that might displease him.”1
– We’re not meant to put our faith in anyone, no matter how qualified they seem. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t good advice out there. It simply means that our confidence is in God. We build our house on the rock of God’s truth precisely so that it doesn’t get swept away with every storm or disappointment.2
– Give people permission to fail. We’re all just trying our best here. My security doesn’t come from someone else’s perfection or infallibility; it comes from knowing that God is in control and that nothing can separate me from His love.3
This may seem like spiritual advice for practical matters, and it is—because even practical matters involve faith, and in order for faith to endure, it needs to be rooted in truth.