I think separating the question between the divorce and the remarriage is a good thing. Lots of people in my family have gotten divorced. Several have asked me about it. I remind them that even on the harshest interpretation, divorce is not the unpardonable sin. And to really push it, I think a lot of people get divorced long before they get a judge to sign a legal piece of paper. What, do we think that just because people don't get the paper signed that they have not "put asunder what God has joined together"? I tend to think the legal divorce is just a "natural" consequences of the spiritual divorce that happened long before.
I absolutely agree. Just as a legality, in terms of the state, isn't what makes someone married, the legality, in terms of the state, isn't what constitutes being divorced.
So whatever the case with your BIL's difficult marriage, you don't have to judge. He was clearly hurting a long time, as was the ex-wife. You can feel compassion for him. You can also feel compassion for his longing for companionship. Someone once said that it isn't good for a man to be alone. And I hear that. So there's no need to judge or condemn his desire to remarry. Having said all that, does it justify his actual remarriage?
Agree with all you said here, as well. And whether or not it justifies his remarriage, that's what I'm struggling with. And, where he is spiritually, affects my decision too. If he's not a believer, I can't hold him to the standards of what a believer should do.
Strictly, of course not. Is it, again, the unpardonable sin? Of course not. And there's no need not to wish him happiness. There's no reason to make it an issue of fellowship. But do you need to celebrate the remarriage? I wouldn't think so, and perhaps you and your son can grow closer through this. Maybe sharing in his pain would let him see that what he's feeling is normal, that he's not weird. Maybe his own pain is rooted in something a lot deeper than just "Uncle Bob got divorced and that sucks." I'd encourage you to remember your obligation to your own wife and kids and their well-being just as much if not more than that of your BIL. But yeah, definitely not simple. This is tough stuff. You get emotions and relationships involved, it's always tough, and often there's no good answer at all. Just least bad answers. We humans tend to be complicated things, and sometimes, I think our desire to simply stuff into easy black and white answers is more about an attempt to soothe our own anxieties than it is about anything else.
One problem is that my wife is pretty close to her brother. So, this whole thing effects my relationship with her.
I understand the not judging part. I understand the not an unpardonable sin part. But is this an issue that I feel is strong enough to take a stand on? And if I decide it is, do I take that stand at risk of alienating my wife's family, and my wife?
And if I decide that I want to take a stand, but decide later on that it really wasn't something that I should've done, I can't take it back.