As most of us know by now, actors Chris Pratt and Anna Faris stunned the world with their tragic separation announcement. And while that news was certainly cause to pray for the Hollywood duo, somehow too many people — Christians included — opted instead for an entirely different response: harsh judgement.
Now, before I go any further, allow me to affirm my belief that marriage matters. Matrimony isn’t a mere legal contract. Rather, it’s a societal bedrock that can reach immeasurably profound depths when both individuals in the union deeply embed themselves in a relationship with Christ.
Perhaps Kirk Cameron said it best this week when he told me, “Our culture so badly needs strong marriages and families. It’s the DNA of a healthy country and a healthy world.” I couldn’t agree more.
Now, that brings us back to Pratt and Faris.
The response to their separation announcement — in which they said they “tried for a long time,” that they are disappointed and want privacy for their son’s sake — was a mish-mosh of encouragement and frustration.
Unfortunately, some of the most negative responses to Pratt, in particular, came after he appeared at the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday and spoke openly about Jesus.
“I would not be here with the ease and grace I have in my heart without my Lord and savior Jesus Christ,” Pratt said to cheers.
Not everyone was happy to hear him invoke Christ, as some lashed out on social media, acting as though his separation announcement a few days before somehow precluded him from speaking about Jesus. People responded by questioning Pratt’s devotion to his family, saying he was making his wife a sinner by divorcing her (again, they announced a separation, not a divorce) and taking other opportunities to critique him.
Here’s the most troubling part: some of these people — professed Christians — made these judgements with little information about why Pratt and Faris are separating. And while some might scoff at the fact that I’m writing an op-ed about a celebrity marriage, here’s why this really matters: the world is watching.
Are we going to be loving and grace-filled as we’re called to be, or are we going to opt, instead, to judge and tear down others? That’s the key question at stake here. Look, I get it: divorce is terrible, and it’s disappointing when we see Christians (especially celebrity believers who are beloved by many) ending their marriages.
But the reality is that there are some truly important things that Pratt’s critics need to think about and ponder before they continue lambasting him:
- You don’t know their marriage. You’re making judgments without knowing whether the separation is biblical in nature.
- With that in mind, is judgement with few details really what Jesus would do?
- Prayer is surely a more constructive response. Why not call for prayer for Pratt and his family instead of taking the time to tear him down?
- It’s clear that Pratt is invoking Jesus during a difficult time. Some people would go off the rails and abandon what they know. Why not give him a break and look at it as a profound encouragement that he’s turning to his savior?
- The Bible is filled with flawed people (and I’m not saying that Pratt fits this bill when it comes to his marriage, as we simply don’t know the details — and we’re all flawed, anyway) who God still used (cough, cough: King David).
Don’t get me wrong: marriage truly matters, and divorce, regardless if it is biblically justified, is never the end goal. But let’s remember: Pratt and Faris don’t feel the need to share the public details of their separation, nor should they have to. And making such harsh judgements with little to no details seems counter-productive and antithetical to what we should be doing as Christians.
The world is watching. Will we show compassion and restraint in our response and pray for them? Or will we choose judgement and rebuke instead? The choice is yours, but I know what I’ll be doing.