Social media is all abuzz after award-winning Gospel writer and artist, James Fortune, posted an Instagram picture of he in a tuxedo and a woman in a wedding dress with the caption, Mr & Mrs. Fortune ?. The overwhelming response was a mixture of shock and celebration. There was no public notice of his engagement, hence the shock at the marriage. Considering the fallout of his legal issues centered around domestic violence, there was celebration and congratulation at his new beginning. Everyone loves a comeback story, right? Not everyone.
Throughout social media and the intermittent gospel music, water cooler conversations were the shadow comments questioning if anyone who would plead guilty and admitted on national television, I was an abuser, should ever marry again, not to mention, continue to produce Gospel music.
â€œWhat type of woman would marry an abuserâ€ one Gospel music lover questioned me. â€œI donâ€™t know. What type of woman would marry someone who was once homosexual, or who once lied, or who once had sex before marriage, or who once anything? No one comes into a marriage a blank slate. You get what you get and you seek and make the decision if that is who God has for you.â€
It is interesting the parameters we place on others lives, each judgment opening ourselves up to the very criticism we place on others. I do not condone violence of any type in any relationship. I detest domestic violence and the effect it has on the very core of individuals and families souls.
However, I would hope if I did something horrific and made an effort to rebuild my life and express how I have learned from my mistakes, someone would show grace and compassion to who I am now; not who I was then. To that end, I celebrate James Fortune’s recent nuptials and say, Congratulations. I also pray he uses his voice and platform for ongoing, public work with young men and families, in the area of anger and domestic violence.