Is the Legal Profession Hurting Marriages? A Lawyer's Perspective
- Thursday, August 20, 2009
Your marriage is in trouble. You know God hates divorce, but… should you call a lawyer just in case? Or perhaps you're getting married and blissfully in love, but … should you draft that prenuptial agreement to make sure your bases are covered? Or, your friends' marriage is hurting... should you hand over your lawyer's contact information or suggest another kind of counsel?
As Christians, we often face difficult personal decisions that have legal implications. How can we maintain our fidelity to Christ and his Word while protecting our legal interests? Lawyer Stephen Bloom recognizes this tension between faith and the law. In response to his own struggles to reconcile his faith with his profession, Bloom wrote an easy-to-read guide for fellow Christians called The Believer's Guide to Legal Issues (Living Ink). Stephen sat down with Crosswalk to discuss his book and to answer some specific questions on family law and the culture of divorce.
CW: What inspired you to write about legal issues from a Christian perspective, and what do you hope to offer readers with this book?
SB: Well, I started practicing law before I became a born-again believer in Christ. So, I graduated law school, and I had totally bought into this secular mindset that is taught in law school.
A couple years out of law school, I had an experience where I understood for the first time what grace was. I understood what the Cross was about, and I understood what it meant for me to confess that I was a sinner, repent, believe in Christ, and be born again. When that happened, I found myself in an awkward spot. I was in the middle of a profession that has values that tend to be very contrary to the values that Christ teaches in the Bible. So, I began a personal journey of reconciling. How can I even continue to be a lawyer and still actually claim to be a Christian? I struggled for years.
The book is really the fruit of my struggle, in that I found so much biblical wisdom on the legal issues that people confront everyday. I was amazed, and I came to a conclusion that I could stay in the profession. I could be an attorney and simply bring in the counsel of Christ on these issues.
The world is selling a destructive, hurtful, damaging view of the law. "It's all about ME. It's all about getting what I deserve, and who cares about the other guy?" It's essentially the opposite of what Christ would teach, and I feel like there is a place for the kind of peace that can come from following God's wishes and God's ideals for us.
CW: You cover a lot of topics in this book - bankruptcy, Medicaid, living wills - offering scriptural examples as well as professional insights. I would like to focus on marriage and family law today. A significant chunk of the legal industry is dedicated to helping couples divorce. Can you give your professional perspective on divorce?
SB: Divorce, first of all, is being sold by the legal profession as a quick, easy, simple, life-improving alternative. I have an ad that a client handed to me recently, just in the last couple of weeks. It is a typical attorney's ad for divorce. It says, "Divorce. Simple. No Fault. No Office Visit Necessary." That's the kind of idea that the legal profession is selling people.
There is a billboard that was on all the news channels a couple months back that advertised divorce, and it had a picture of a scantily clad woman, [saying] "Life is short. Get a divorce." It had the law firm telephone number. It's so disrespectful of the holy covenant that God intended marriage to be.
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