“As a Christian, is divorce okay then remarry?” A divorce solicitor in the Nashville area, W, for the third year in a row. On Valentine’s Day, Scott Kimberly arranged a “giveaway” for free coverage of the divorce.
Scott said that Valentine’s Day is’ another sign for many people that they are stuck in a relationship that they can not leave due to financial problems, because of a spouse who refuses to agree to a divorce or for some other reason. “God gives us a far different perspective in our society where we see multiple marriages and billboards promising” quick and easy divorce.
“Marriage is to be honoured among everyone, and the bed undefiled. But God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers” (Heb.13:4).
If you are dating, planning a single or divorce, read on. So please don’t hesitate because of misleading figures through the seduction of working together (lifestyle fornication) or terror of dating.
Evite trauma truckload. God wants to have a fruitful marital relationship for us, but it is true that divorce times are required. Our responsibility is to reject any casual approach to the painful shattering of a marriage covenant with its lifelong consequences for multiple lives.
While millions trivialize marriage and minimize divorce, Netflix recently dared to release Marriage Story, which a reviewer says jolts audiences with a gut-wrenching reality check of the emotional devastation that comes from divorce.
A Time of Recovery
Jesus calls upon His men to recapture the sacredness and resilience of the marriage covenant. The Bible reports the exploits of Esdras and Nehemiah, who served in this mission together. He became rightly angry when Nehemiah returned to find some in marital unfaithfulness and in intermarriage with pagan men!
He ordered the people to get back to the precepts of Christ (Deut. 7:3-6). He had reminded them of Solomon’s tragedy. He stigmatized the obstinate ones (Deut. 25:2-3) in a passionate display of righteous indignation openly confronting, cursing, expelling, pummeling and even plucking out the hairs of the rebellious (Neh.13)!
The scripture is not revelling in the intensity of Nehemiah but simply recording it. This illustrates the necessary healing and regeneration of what is sacred. Today’s lesson to us, particularly pastors, is not to avoid addressing hot-button issues out of human fear and a desire to appear cohesive and unjudgmental. Cohabitation, casual divorce, pornography, homosexuality and gay’ marriage’
Most partners devote more time to planning for a wedding than to getting married. I really encourage you to take care of and benefit from my two Charisma Podcast Network commentaries and interviews over the next two weeks, called How Do I Discover the Guy or Girl I am to Marry?
‘Help! I Need Hope.’
To experience His blessings and fulfilment in marriage it is important to embrace God’s precepts and perspective. If you are heading in the direction of marital breakup, or someone you know, press the pause button and consider any important things. Humility is required but remember: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6b).
Having been through a divorce when you are reading this, do not resort to endless guilt and blame but rather to contemplation. Are you incredulous? Have you been in a backslidden state and been back to God ever since? If you had no legal grounds for divorce, have you repented deeply, learned lessons and consecrated yourself to unreservedly worship God?
If you are a woman in long-standing marital tension with an unbeliever, the Word of God says that “if any man do not obey the word, by the conduct of his wives they may be won without a word, seeing the purity and reverence of your life” (1 Peter 3:1-2).
Don’t despair! I’ve seen miracles in marriage recover in my 50 years of ministry— even couples remarrying after divorce!
The Biblical Basis for Divorce and Remarriage
Here are three commonly accepted biblical grounds for divorce and remarriage:
1. Ongoing and unrepentant adultery (Matt.19:9). Also, was it a one-time incident or ongoing pattern of behavior? Remember recently deceased Kobe Bryant admitting to adultery and how his wife, who once before filed for divorce, reversed course when he sincerely repented.
2. Abandonment by an unbeliever (1 Cor. 7:15); physical desertion (and some would add ongoing physical violence that reveals “breaking faith”—abandonment of any semblance of true faith—as grounds for separation and possible divorce after all attempts to avert it have failed). God says in Malachi 2:16 that He “hates divorce” and strongly rebukes and exposes those dealing treacherously with a spouse as well as marrying outside the faith.
3. Marriage with subsequent divorce as a non-Christian: “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
A Cautionary Word
There are biblical grounds for a divorce. Yet this does not mean it’s the first recourse when God is endeavoring to mature character through submitting to a season of biblical counseling, accountability and possibly a temporary separation. People must yield to Holy Spirit-empowered obedience rather than fleshly convenience. Mature character demonstrating humility, perseverance and meekness (strength under control) are essential as pressure reveals the person.
Someone once asked Ruth Graham if she ever thought about divorce with Billy. She responded, “Divorce? No. Murder? Well …” she winked.
Again, “God hates divorce” (Mal. 2:16) but there is something He hates even more: adultery. This is why he allows it as grounds to nullify a sacred marriage covenant. God hates divorce (not divorced people) because of what divorce does to everyone involved. It’s like hating cancer, not people with cancer.
In our culture, people tend to think divorce is no “big deal,” simply a “conscious uncoupling” as actress Gwyneth Paltrow called hers. It’s a sad reality that it has become an acceptable solution to inevitable conflicts in marriage. What God is calling us to is to change our mind about divorce plus stop advising it as a quick way out of problems that all couples face.
A Christian marriage is different than what the world puts forth regarding marriage which, if difficulties mount or sexual attraction wanes, makes it normal to “bail”. Then instead of taking personal responsibility, folks often blame-shift and excuse it as just a “bad marriage.”
Christian marriage is not high school dating! God ordained marriage as a covenant—a sacred and binding vow for life between one man and one woman. It is not a 50-50 proposition but giving of oneself 100% for one’s spouse based not on fleeting emotion but an unselfish choice for the greatest good of one’s mate. My wife and I admit we’ve fallen short many times in almost 44 years of marriage, but we made a vow that “divorce is not an option,” and we’ve enjoyed the fruit of God’s favour from honouring covenantal commitment even as her parents did for almost 70 years.
Progress Through Perseverance
A study “Does Divorce Make People Happy?” conducted by the Institute for American Values encourages us. The findings were noteworthy because they “debunked the modern myth that someone in a troubled marriage is faced with a choice between either staying in a miserable relationship or getting a divorce to be happier.”
This study revealed “a full 2/3 of the unhappily married spouses who persevered were actually happier five years later. Among those who initially rated their marriages as ‘very unhappy’ but remain together, nearly 80% considered themselves ‘happily married’ and ‘much happier’ five years later.”
“Surprisingly, the opposite was found to be true for those who divorced. The study confirmed that divorce frequently fails to make people happy because while it might provide a respite from the pain associated with a bad marriage, it also introduces a host of complex new emotional and physiological difficulties over which the parties involved have little control. They include child custody battles, emotionally scarred children and economic hardships.”
Here’s the deal: When Pharisees tried to trick Jesus regarding divorce, He told them Mosaic Law permitted it for the “hardness of their hearts,” but He renewed God’s original standard saying, “from the beginning, it was not so” (Matt.19:8).
In this day of “free divorce” and “conscious uncoupling,” may we return to our roots, showing the world a better way under the benevolent reign of good King Jesus.
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