Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Response to An Open Letter to My Daughter’s Stepmom

The article above is a letter a woman wrote to her daughter’s stepmother. After reading, it was more than obvious that there is a huge problem with this letter. It simply lacks truth. 

Yes, there is grace in this letter. There is forgiveness. There is acceptance. These are all noble attributes that deserve kudos. Yet, without truth, these attributes remain fuzzy and unclear. 

Let me explain.

 If I were to say to you that I forgive you for murdering my son, but you believed murder was acceptable, would my act of forgiving you really matter to you? Here is another thought…If I murdered your child, and you forgave me, would forgiveness really have any value if I believed that murdering your child was acceptable? 

This letter is much like this. A woman forgives, accepts, and befriends her daughter’s stepmom, but we never really understand why she needs to forgive her in the first place. If she believes divorce ends a marriage, and then remarried another man, why would she have a problem with her husband marrying another woman? Or why would she have a problem with her daughter’s step-mom if her daughter has a new step-dad?

This is why this letter is very deceptive and cunningly evil. 

The most significant problem with this letter is that it makes marriage insignificant. Here is a woman who can forgive and accept a woman for being a step-mom, when all the while she has ill enough feelings for her child’s father…enough so that she will not, she cannot, and she did not forgive him in marriage. Understandably, we do not have the knowledge on why and how the divorce occurred. That alone should make us question this letter. That should be everyone’s first question too. Why did they divorce in the first place?   

There is a glaringly self-righteousness tone to this letter. This woman wants to make it clear in this letter that God’s design for marriage is according to her, and not God. This letter is so full of self-centeredness, it should be blatantly obvious to the believer. This woman is “happy” in her new marriage and “content” with her daughter’s stepmom, therefore this letter is acceptable to a world that thinks just like her. Her contentment in a second marriage is the reason for this letter.

This letter has nothing to do with the love of Christ.

 If there was agape love, she would remain in singleness and write a letter telling that her husband and her daughter’s step-mom are in adultery. Should they both repent, the letter would save their souls. She would also show her daughter that divorce is not an option in a marriage covenant and that any remarriage is adultery. Instead, she glorifies sin in this letter… and teachers her child to do the same.  

This letter glorifies divorce and remarriage. 

Marriage is not something we do for a time and if it doesn’t work out, we can divorce and remarry someone else. If a woman loves her daughter’s step-mom because she thought that her marriage vow was not that big of a deal, why would we even have bitter feelings toward step-mom to begin with? It is obvious that this letter makes a conclusion that divorce is acceptable, and so are remarriages. Anyone who reads this and sympathizes with this letter needs to read the word of God. Divorce is hardheartedness and remarriage is adultery. This letter reeks of sin.

This letter sins against the children.

A child should never have to deal with two parents that do not want to be one flesh. Divorce is saying that your vows of marriage mean nothing. That has a profound impact on a child’s life. It is most likely this woman’s daughter will get married, and divorce. The odds are not in her favor. Combine this with a twisted mother who divorced and remarried and then approves and admonishes her daughter’s stepmother, and you have a classic case of causing little ones to sin.

This letter tells the story of marriage today. 

Marriage will always be one man and one woman for life. If we view this letter as nothing more than complete rubbish, we need to go back and read the word of God. This letter distorts marriage and makes a mockery of God and His word. The many responses to this letter include the many who divorced and remarried. These responses epitomize the shape of marriage today. Unfortunately, this is evident in the evangelical church and it would not surprise me if this woman would claim to be an evangelical Christian.    

This letter makes me sad.

When I first read this letter, I was angry. I was angry because this letter makes a perversion of marriage and seeks to glorify sin. Then I became sad. Sad because so many are deceived when they read this letter. The deception come in believing that marriage is anything but a one-flesh covenant until death. If I were to write a letter to this woman it would read something like this:

Dear woman of the viral letter, “An Open Letter to My Daughter’s Stepmom”,

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, please consider this exhortation. Marriage is a one-flesh covenant between one-man and one woman for life. You made that vow to your husband and God was a witness. Your divorce does not end a marriage covenant. Your vow to your husband stands in heaven, thus if you remarried, you and your unlawful husband are in adultery. Thus, your first husband is in adultery and so is your daughter’s stepmother. You all need to repent of your sin less you die in your sin. 

Repentance is turning away from your sin of adultery and reconciling with your covenant husband. The same forgiveness you offer to your daughter’s step-mom needs to be evident to your husband. By divorcing and remarrying, you only show the hardness in your own heart and the self-centeredness of your soul. The same goes for your husband and your daughter’s stepmother. They must repent.

Your selflessness and self-righteousness is evident in this letter. You are causing more harm than good. Your letter is incomplete because Christ came in grace and truth. Your letter has no truth in it. You believe that you are gracious, yet you are only confirming this grace through your acceptance of sin and self-gratification of your own remarriage. You are also causing your daughter to sin by making her believe that “remarriage” and blended families are acceptable by God.   

 Perhaps you are deceived by the false evangelical church that divorces and remarries as the world divorces and remarries. God’s word does not lie. Divorce is hardheartedness and remarriage is adultery. When you speak of God, do you know that He will hold you accountable to your vow of marriage? Please, by the mercy of God, repent of this letter. Repent of your remarriage, and repent of believing a divorce ever ends a one-flesh marriage covenant. You deserve to know the truth, your husband and your daughter’s stepmom needs to know the truth…your daughter needs to know the truth. 

In Christ’s love,



BFArris said...

Mr. Novotna, your commentary is ill advised, you are making assumptions about this woman and her purpose of writing the letter, did you truly read the original letter? The best statement you make is that you don't know the circumstances of her divorce, therefore you have no reason to morally dissect it based on a great unknown. I would encourage you to take the letter at face value, as the author intended. Now that she is a Christian she is making the most of her relationships, including living peacefully with others to the best of her ability, which allows her the opportunity to be used by GOD to reach others for Christ. Perhaps before you cut down someone sharing their journey of faith you should take some time to do some background read her blog.

Anonymous said...

Blogs like this are the reason so many people are running away from Christianity instead of running to it. Neil, you've done a poor job of being an example of God's love and forgiveness. You've done an excellent job at judging and helping Satan unleash his army.

RG said...

I couldn't even get through the first paragraph. Please no more blogging! You aren't very good at it. I will pray for your bitter soul tonight.

Courtney said...

This post is judgmental, unforgiving, ill-informed, not to mention categorically anti-Gospel. Posts like this give Christians a bad name. Please put down those stones you seem so anxious to throw, repent of your self-righteous audacity, and read Ms. Curry's letter with a heart like Jesus.

Neil Novotnak said...

There is much venom in these comments and not much truth either. If you read my other posts for the permanence of marriage, you will see that this letter not only lacks truth, it lacks the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Believers do not get divorced, nor do they ever believe a divorce ends a marriage. Where is the Gospel represented in this letter if all said parties are remarried after divorce? This letter only goes to prove that this woman is content in her new "remarriage" (which is not a marriage, it is adultery)and she is content with her daughter's step-mother. On the surface, her kind words seem so sincere, yet as I prove otherwise, there is no truth to her motives. Also, believers are to expose the sin of divorce and not encourage it. Yet, this is what many will do...

Anyone who reads this letter and approves of this action is only reading the surface and not the depth and foundation of this letter. All the adults in this letter believe divorce and remarriage is an acceptable example of the Gospel.

Also, I never claimed to be a "good" blogger. Personally attacking me without backing up your claim that this woman is not in the wrong is an ad homen. This response to this letter is based on the truth of God's word so that all parties would repent of their sin. Encouraging this letter is a shame. There is love in open rebuke and grace in repentant hearts. Failing to repent of sin brings condemnation.

As for not knowing her reasons for divorce...I do claim that marriage is a covenant that no man may break and I will defend the truth in cases just like this. Divorce is hardheartedness. If you wish to read and consider all my blogs for the permanence of marriage and then prove that this letter is not deceitful and erroneous, then I believe your comments only expose your hearts. Repent while there is still time.

In Christ's love,


Anonymous said...

Did you know that Mrs. Curry was not a believer at the time of her divorce? Did you know that Mrs. Curry was not a believer at the time of her second marriage? No? No. Because you DO NOT KNOW HER. You are making judgements where you have no place. She is showing Christ's love in the circumstances she finds herself in now.

Neil Novotnak said...

Marriage is God's design, anonymous. Are you going to tell me that she was unaware that God will not hold her to her marriage vows even though she was an unbeliever? A new life in Christ does not hide the fact that there will be consequences of past sins.

What I do know is that EVERY person knows that marriage is for life. She made a vow to God whether she wants to believe that or not. This makes no difference whether she claimed to not know God or she did know God. Read Romans 1:20. She is without excuse.

The moment the church failed to defend the covenant of marriage was the exact moment every single person made believed divorce ends a marriage.

Mrs. Curry, and many, many like her need to exit their adulterous marriages and remain single or reconcile the covenant they made before God.

Not my words, Paul's words by the Holy Spirit reiterating what he already knew the Lord had spoken on marriage...

1 Cor 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

Neil Novotnak said...

Anyone who responded to this needs to read this first. Then perhaps you can understand why I wrote this article.

Anonymous said...

Your taking this to a place of judgment. You are not to judge! Divorce is a situation many find themselves in and she showed Christ in her by having a Christ like attitude towards her daughter's step mom. Her letter shows the love of Christ...yours shows judgement of a self rigteous human!

Neil Novotnak said...

Anonymous, we are not to judge a person's motives, of which you just judged mine. As for those who claim the faith and wish to make a mockery of marriage by believing divorce and remarriage is something we should accept...then you need to go in your bible and rip out pages that wear both the Lord and Paul call us to repent from sin.

1 Cor 5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Read the letter again and tell me that this woman is not promoting the idea that we should accept and encourage the idea that divorced and remarriage is something we should embrace. That child has one father and one mother. The grace she shows is ONLY because she is content in her remarriage and she likes the woman who married HER husband. This kind of perversion should open the door for accepting multiple marriages, as if same-sex marriage is not the end of marriage redefinition.

The door is open wide for the destruction of marriage and it surely began in the garden. I, and many others have proven time and time again that divorce and remarriage is not only a shame anymore, it is encouraged, promoted, celebrated, and protected by the back-sliden arm of evangelicals who call themselves Christians. Woe to you who call evil good, and good evil.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Novotnak,

I write this as someone who killed a man last night. I write this as a man who committed adultery last week. I write this as a man who despises God’s law and lives a life of rebellion against Him. I write this as an evangelical Christian, living a lie, yet trying through the power of the Holy Spirit to merit the grace and mercy shown me by Christ.

Even this last statement is one of rebellion, because I cannot earn even the slightest iota of His favor. And yet, my life has changed, and I am slowly transforming into the image of God that I was created to be. My sins have been cleansed, white as snow. The anger I felt at another man (murder, according to Christ) is gone. The lust I felt (adultery, according to my Lord) has been wiped away. My rebellion (the very heart of sin) is forgiven. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound.

I do not know your motives, but I do not sense in them the spirit of Christ, who loved the woman at the well: “Go forth, and sin no more.” I do not hear the words of Jesus, who said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” While you castigate a woman for her sins – even while she is publicly repenting of others – you are presenting a false Gospel. In fact, I see this not as Good News, but as Pharisaical condemnation. If your heart is truly for her soul – and assuming you have good reason for suspecting its status, then you would be best served by writing a private letter to her. If you have insight into her daily life and see that she continues in that behavior (whatever you are assuming it is), then you should take two others with you and confront her again.

Of course, would you have both parties then divorce their current spouses, compounding the sin in pursuit of some ethereal righteousness that exists only in the past? Are the stones you throw hurled with sufficient accuracy to dislodge the log in your own eye, or are you not held to the same standard?

I am not in the camp that believes that we, as Christians, are not to judge. I believe that we are instructed specifically to judge the fruit of other Christians, and take the opportunity to help them avoid sin, assuming we meet the criteria specified in the Bible for doing so. (Have you sufficiently met these requirements?) And yet, the letter that I read was full of the fruit of the Spirit: remorse, forgiveness, grace, repentance, and love.

I write this as someone who cannot locate the fruit of the Spirit in your post. I write this as someone who has prayed for you, as well as the author of the original letter, because I feel we all need prayers to support us in our pursuit of God’s righteousness. And we all need the love of our brothers and sisters to remind us where the true path is. I wander off many times – sometimes I jump off with haste and aplomb, and it is the love of Christ, the working of the Holy Spirit, and the actions and words of those who truly love me that bring me back. We are to be the light, and yet – as the other comments suggest – there is mostly darkness to be found here.

This post made me sad, and I believe it has little to do with the love of Christ. Pray earnestly and honestly over your work, and determine what the Spirit has to say to you. That is where we should find our acceptance and disapproval to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is a good example as to why God gave us Matthew 22:36-40
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
And to that, why God told us what love is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things..

The omnipotent God would know in our self righteousness, we would error on the side of the law, on the side of judgment, on the side of condemning others.

Neil Novotnak said...

Dear rbdrane21,

This is a blog that defends the permanence of marriage. Not one of these comments, including yours, answers or challenges my claim that this letter is devoid of the truth for the permanence of marriage. The closest anyone attempts to defend this woman’s ( and all the adults in this letter) adultery is a rhetorical question by you.
You wrote: “Of course, would you have both parties then divorce their current spouses, compounding the sin in pursuit of some ethereal righteousness that exists only in the past?
I will answer this later. First, let us come to a realization that these comments are personal attacks on my character and have nothing to do with defending this letter. This is a classical ad homen fallacy which simply is a personal attack on me and not on my argument. Not only that, your comments in particular are illogical since you make it clear to the world (through your comment) that I would be best served by writing a private letter to her…all the while, not writing a private letter to me….If you reread my blog, I did write a letter of exhortation to her and everyone who thinks like her. It is a call to repentance. Open rebuke is better than secret love. Proverbs 27:5
Here is my argument, again. This letter is deceitful because it masquerades as a beacon of light. Deep within this letter is the truth that many choose to redefine marriage by the way they value, define, and view marriage, divorce and remarriage. I am stating by the truth of God’s word that ALL adult parties involved in this letter are in adultery because a divorce does not end a marriage. Thus, this letter proclaims a false Gospel message. Why?
Because anyone who reads this must assume that God accepts divorce and remarriage. Anyone who reads this must assume that grace is applicable to tolerance of sin. The Gospel is for those who repent of sin and believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was the propitiation of that sin. The Gospel is not cheap grace that condones and encourages sinful behavior.

This letter also seeks to redefine the family. The family is also God‘s design and not up for re-interpretation. A young woman does not need two mothers and two fathers. This young woman needs the truth. The truth is that both her mom and dad are in adulterous relationships and not marriages in the Lord. (1 Cor 7:39)
For whatever reason, this young child’s parents sought to end a marriage so they both can remarry someone else. This is a problem as the Lord Jesus Christ says:

Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

Neil Novotnak said...

Please read every blog post I have prior to this and then comment on my motives. Please read my testimony for the permanence of marriage and then comment on my motives. My motives are simply this. Adulterers do not inherit the kingdom of God. Thus, ANYONE who remains in remarriage, remains in adultery and will come under judgment if they die in adultery. This is about eternal consequences.
Thus, to answer your questions: All adults in this letter need to repent of their sin of adultery. Their “remarriages” are NOT marriages in the Lord. I don’t care what pastor, magistrate or priest said they were married in the eyes of the Lord. Thus, they need to “divorce” (to appease the eyes of the state) of their adulterous unlawful union. If they do not, they will stand accountable. We will not stand before a pastor on the last day, we will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and give an account for every word.

As for making the claim that I am only giving…”Pharisaical condemnation.” And…”If my heart is truly for her soul – and assuming you have good reason for suspecting its status”…I must remind you it was the Pharisees who created and allowed loopholes to divorce and remarry. It was the Lord Jesus Christ who said…Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female. And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
I was angry when I wrote this blog. It was righteous anger…the same kind of anger that the Lord Jesus Christ said to these very same Pharisees…Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
At the same time, there is grace beyond measure to those who repent of sin. The Lord Jesus Christ came in grace and truth. This viral letter offers cheap grace without truth, I offer both grace and truth, I have always offered both, and I will continue to offer both. Please believe me when I tell it is so.

In Christ’s love,

Anonymous said...


I apologize for any part of my comment that you felt was an ad hominem against you personally, versus the views you expressed. I read it over twice to ensure that I was focused on the ideas, not the man. I know nothing about you except what I read in the few previous posts I read, so I don’t believe I have anything to attack, in that regard. As for why I chose the “illogical” route of responding to you in public is because you posted in a public venue, and it was those very ideas I responded to. While the author of the original post also expressed her ideas in public, it was not those thoughts, but rather the circumstance of her soul that you discussed.

As for your motivation, I can only applaud your desire to maintain and promote the covenant that God established in the Garden, and there can be no question that the universal Church has followed directly behind society in turning the covenant first into a contract, then an agreement, and finally to a performance. However, it would be improper to assume those same beliefs/attitudes in people without having insight into their situations.

As for cheap grace, I would say simultaneously that there is no such thing, and there is no other kind. Christ’s grace is cheap, because it costs nothing (although it certainly engenders much in response). On the other hand, nothing could be more costly, because it cost the sinless God-Man his life. This is precisely why I refute your statement that, “Adulterers do not inherit the kingdom of God.” It denies the very reality that we are all sinners, as are all the saints who ever lived (David, Abraham, Paul, Peter, et al).

Christ said that Moses allowed the Israelites to divorce because of the hardness of their hearts. He was certainly not a Pharisee, but regardless of that fact, one of the pillars of your argument remains on very solid ground: divorce is a dissolution of one of the most wonderful and important covenants God blessed his creation with. However, when you make the preservation of that covenant of greater concern than any other, and promote it to the exclusion – and even damage – of those things that Christ expressed the importance of so clearly, then you have made it into an idol.

The Gospel is grace, pure and simple; it is God’s children receiving what they do not deserve. No amount of conformance to commandments, preservation of covenants, or devotion to calling can merit that grace. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” There is no qualifier to that statement, and it is unfortunate that you have chosen this form of witness in support of what is an otherwise admirable mission.

Neil Novotnak said...

I agree that grace is not cheap and that it comes with a high price...The blood of Christ. Yet, grace devoid of truth is simply that. It has no substance, no power. Grace without the power of Christ is hypocrisy and broadens the road of tolerance. The grace in this letter casts truth from the window and leads us to believe that marriage is not important or significant.

I will not apologize for this post because the battle for marriage is nearly lost. I read the Bible from cover to cover and know that before Christ returns, apostasy must come first. My friend, we may just see the last days in our lifetime. Marriage as we know it has succumbed to a post-modern society that is not only devoid of truth, it is devoid of logic,all the while teetering on a rickety fence of immorality and chaos. Absolute is replaced with objectivity. morality is replaced with carnality. This letter is an example of the subtle devises the enemy...who once said, " Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Let us both be clear that at its core, marriage IS a representation of Christ's love for His church. Thus, the clear picture of the Gospel is found in the spouse who will NEVER leave the covenant regardless of the actions of the other spouse. That is not unlike Christ who will never leave or forsake His bride, the church. Marriage is as absolute as the God who created it.

If marriage is anything other than a representation of Christ's love for His church, then it is safe to say that defending marriage is defending the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, if you care to read my posts, my overall point is that divorce is not and cannot have any part of the Gospel. Divorce is man's idea after the fall, permited under the Law of Moses.

Christ's resurrection and His sending the Holy Spirit enables us to view, defend, and define marriage as it it was from the beginning. A new creation in Christ is indwelled with the Holy Spirit, thus the sanctification into the image of the Son will make us see all scripture in this light.Therefore,I am safe to say that those who divorce and remarry really have to examine themselves to see if they are in the faith. 2 Cor 13:5

I think it was Warren Wiersbe who said:
“Truth without grace is brutality, and grace without truth is hypocrisy.”