Building Better Marriages

By Rob Furlong

A higher love than Television portrayals

From the GCB episode “Turn the other cheek”

At the beginning of this year Channel 7 announced that they would be screening a new program which now goes by the name of GCB. The reason for the abbreviation in the title was due to public outcry at the original name of the show with many people believing that it was demeaning to women. While there is validity in the concerns that have been expressed I believe that GCB does more damage by the way in which it seeks to portray relationships between people, striking at the heart of some core issues that can make or break friendships.

GCB is based on the book by Kim Gatlin who wrote it after experiencing much hurt and gossip at the hands of other women after she and her husband divorced. Sadly, much of this gossip came from ladies in her community who were considered to be fine, upstanding, church going Christians.

Gatlin converted her own experiences into a novel about a young woman, recently divorced, who returns to her home town with her son to live with her mother. Prior to leaving town after graduating from Senior High she had been quite a nasty girl at school. Now that she has returned home those who were on the receiving end of her nastiness have made it their aim in life to make her life miserable…it just so happens that many of these women also claim to be Christians!

Of course, if you are a TV producer your eyes light up with this type of plot premise because it provides writers with so much juicy fodder to entice their viewers back week after week. Actors on the show have praised its premise because it “…is showing the humanity of Christianity and having fun with that instead of making fun of it.”

Herein lies the problem — the show satirises the hypocrisy of people who claim to be one thing but act in another way and in doing so underlines and confirms for people that “Christians are no different to us, in fact they are worse because they are hypocrites!”

GCB is a good example of how not to do relationships. On a recent episode the father of one of the “Christian” women pleaded with his daughter to “bury the hatchet” with another person. “God Himself would not ask me to do that!” was the catty reply that she spat back.

Think of the relationships that you have in your life — with your husband or wife, your children or friends and acquaintances — how many times have they been damaged by grudge holding, un-forgiveness and bitterness?

And what of the damage caused by gossip? Solomon once said that gossip “separates intimate friends”. All of us have experienced this type of pain and hurt in our relationships at some point in time and we also know that they only ever bring relationships down, leaving people emotionally wounded and scarred in their wake. Over and over again this is the way in which the majority of people handle relationships in our world.

I am not naïve to suggest that people who follow Jesus are not guilty of this either but I do know this — there is a higher goal for us to aim for when it comes to relationships. Paul says that we are to “…love…without hypocrisy”. In other words, don’t play act with love or pretend to love; instead, with God’s help, learn to really love each other! (Yes, God does ask us to bury the hatchet!)

And what does that kind of love look like? Well, for a start, it does not gossip or spread rumours about others. It does not hold grudges or look for opportunities for revenge. And it most certainly takes the time to forgive people, genuinely and from the heart.

So while GCB may make for “good” TV it is a lousy guide for relationships. There is a higher way, a more fulfilling and life affirming way and it is called love…without hypocrisy.

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