Divorce is something that is extremely common. One cannot go anywhere without meeting someone who is divorced, in the process of divorce, or thinking about getting a divorce.
Statistics of America state that about 41-50% of all marriages will end in divorce. The average length of a marriage in the United States is seven years.
In the church, the statistics may be slightly lower. Their average can be found at about 38% get divorced or are divorced already.
These statistics are just with first time divorce rates. There are many people who have been divorced more than one time.
The reason for divorce are numerous, but usually stem around the following: infidelity, lack of commitment, conflict or arguing. Many finish with reasons of infidelity, domestic violence, or substance abuse.
With these types of statistics, divorce is a reality in this world. It is something that is found outside and inside the church. Very few people are not touched by divorce in some way or another, either they have been through a divorce or they know someone who has.
Knowing this, I want us to take a look at what the Bible says about divorce.
In the previous posts I looked at what marriage is. It is one man and one woman put together to become one (Genesis 2:22-24). Many will say that this is just the Old Testament and does not apply to us today.
The Pharisees came to Jesus asking about divorce and if it was lawful or not to do. Jesus repeats what was said in Genesis in both Matthew 19 and Mark 10. With those words that the man and woman are to become one, He also adds:
So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. (Matthew 19:6)
The leaders wanted to know what Jesus had to say about divorce and He tells them that it should not happen at all.
“For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:16 NASB
God hates divorce! It should not happen.
Why does God hate divorce? It is because He is a God of LOVE. He is Love. He wants His people to be people of love.
Divorce is not love. There is no love in divorce. There is no forgiveness. It is only hatred and selfishness. It only brings about pain and suffering for selfish reasons.
Love has absolutely no room for selfishness or hatred.
Some will say that divorce happened in the Bible and that Moses made provision for divorce. Jesus had something to say about this:
Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way form the beginning.” Matthew 19:8
It was only out of the hardness of heart that divorce was ever allowed. This, again, does not show love. Love is soft and kind.
Now I know that there are some out there saying right now that I just don’t know or understand their situation. There are some that are being verbally, emotionally or physically abused, or some combination of all three. They will say that divorce is their only way out of the situation.
I do know that abuse does occur. I agree that it is horrible and can be life-threatening. However bad a situation is does not in any way allow for divorce. The only situation that Jesus says that allows for divorce was for sexual immorality–a spouse cheating on the other spouse sexually with another person.
Even then, divorce does not have to be the answer.
Think about life as a believer. Jesus promised that there would be persecution of every believer. He never promised that following Him would be easy or fun. He only promised that it would be worth it in the end.
Think about this situation: As a believer you are persecuted and abused–physically, sexually and emotionally. Does this give you the right to strike back in anger and hate? No.
Think about Jesus. He was perfect, never did anything wrong ever. Yet, He was abused, persecuted and killed upon a cross. Jesus endured whippings and beatings and a crown of thorns put on His head. Then as He was put upon the cross, He had to endure the pain of nails being driven through His hands and feet. And He had to endure the punishment of all sins of every person for all time. Then to top it off, His Father, whom He had been with for all eternity, turned His back on Him and struck Him.
How horrible! How wrong!
Yet, as Jesus was upon the cross He prayed that the Father would forgive them because they did not really know what they were doing. He forgave them of what they had done wrong.
And the whole reason for going through all that suffering was so that you may have life and be forgiven of your sins. This is real love.
You, as a believer, are to be just like Jesus–full of love and forgiveness. If you are going through persecution as a believer, does that give you the right to deny Jesus to get out of that persecution? NO! You are expected to endure the persecution, love your enemies and forgive them, just like Jesus did with you.
No where in the Bible does it give a believer the right to sin for any reason at all. Yet, many want to divorce, just because ‘we are incompatible’ or ‘he/she is abusive’ or for some other reason. None of these hold up under the command that no one should separate what God has put together.
Marriage may or may not be easy. Guaranteed there will be times that it will be difficult. There will be times that will seem like the most horrible thing on the face of the earth. Yet, marriage is supposed to be about love. One is love the other, no matter what.
Going back to the vows. Many said that they accept the other ‘for better or for worse’. This is often forgotten or ignored. You promised to live together for better or for worse, now wanting to get out of that promise because something is worse. You are to keep your vows before God. He will hold you accountable for every vow you made.
The other thing to remember is that with God all things are possible (Philippians 4:13). God can redeem your marriage. He can also give you the strength to endure all of the abuse that you may be going through. He can give you the love you need to love your spouse, even when that love is not returned and hate is given.
Just as your walk with God as a believer is not always easy, you walk in marriage may not always be easy, but it is worth it to love and fulfill your vow. Who knows? God may change the heart of your spouse and bring the spouse around to change his/her ways to a way of true love.
Divorce does not allow for change. It does not allow for love. It does not allow God to be the center of one’s life. It only brings about death and separation.
Do not allow death and separation to destroy your marriage. Hang in there and trust God to turn things around. Pray daily for strength and love to keep moving forward. Trust God to make the needed changes in your life and in the life of your spouse.
Now with this being said, I will say that there may be times when a spouse may have to move out to be safe from harm. Moving out is not getting a divorce, but staying safe. It still holds on to the hope that God will turn the marriage around.
Also if your spouse is an unbeliever and wants to get the divorce, than you are free to allow the spouse to get the divorce and you are released from your vow. However, you must not be the one to initiate or choose to get the divorce. Fight for your marriage.
I will be praying for your marriage. Praying that God will be the center of both of your lives and the center of your marriage. I will be praying that God will give you strength to love your spouse no matter what happens.
Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. Ezra 4:4
Doing something great will often have some great challenges to make happen. Beyond just the challenges of knowing how to do something great is the opposition that can occur.
Men and woman who are striving to do something great are often told that they are crazy and should not try to do it. The reason they are told that they are crazy and shouldn’t do it is for several reasons. Sometimes it is so different that others think it cannot really be done, and one should not waste it time trying. Other times it is out of fear of it actually working and getting done.
The Israelites had been put into captivity in Persia, yet, were given direct permission from the king of Persia to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple to God. As they had begun to do the work, the people around them worked hard to stop them. They tried to discourage them from finishing the work that they had started to do.
Fear of Christians accomplishing something is still around to this day. The world is an enemy to Jesus and does not want Him or His followers to ever accomplish anything. The thing that believers do is following and obeying God. They are working to build God’s kingdom here on this earth.
Any time a believer is doing God’s will, Satan and this world will rise up in opposition. He does not want the believer to be successful, because it means it will be his downfall. The world does not want it, because they can feel God’s judgement upon their lives in seeing the lives of believers.
God has or will call you to do something for His kingdom. It may be building a new temple or it may just be a simple thing of telling someone about Jesus. Either way it is doing something for Him.
As soon as you begin to do what God has asked of you, the world will begin to attempt to discourage you and stop you. They may say it is a waste of time and that it won’t work with just words. Or they may be physically violent against you.
Do not be surprised. There was opposition to the Israelites and against Jesus. You will receive opposition. Stay true to God and do what He has given you to do. Don’t be discouraged, God is with you.
I pray today that you will know the mission God has for you; that you will not be discouraged; that you will stay true to God; that God will give you strength to do His work; and that you be His witness.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
A person’s mind is a powerful thing. It can control how a person acts very quickly. It can give a person power to do something, or has the power to keep a person from doing something.
It is the mind that thinks about fear of something. Many people throughout the world live in a constant spirit of fear. It could be fear of failure, fear of letdown, or fear of others. When there is fear, it paralyzes a person from getting something done that needs to be done.
After fear is the thought that one can do anything on his own. Many people in this world believe this way. They feel that they have full control of their own lives and their own destinies.
God does not want His people to have any fear, because He is perfect love and perfect love casts out all fear. And God does not want anyone to do anything completely on his own.
God is seeking a relationship with all people. He wants to be with them to guide them and strengthen them. God wants His people to lean on Him and trust Him.
There are many believers who struggle with fear and with the belief that they can do everything on their own. They are not relying upon God.
In order to change this, there must be a transforming of the mind, a change of the way the mind is thinking. This can only be done by actively focusing upon God and allowing Him to change the mind.
Knowing God’s word will allow the believer to change his mind to what God is saying, not what the world is saying. It will allow God’s love to penetrate the mind and transform the way it is thinking. Fear will be pushed out. Selfishness will be pushed out.
As you look at your life, think about how you think. What is your mind focusing on? Is it focusing on the failures, mistakes, others, or fear of failure?
Or is your mind focused on God and His power, abilities, love, and faithfulness?
Do not allow your thinking to be like the world’s thinking. Allow God to change your way of thinking.
I pray today that you will know God’s word; that you will allow the Holy Spirit to guide your life; that you will allow God to change the way you think; and that you will know God’s perfect love and faithfulness to you.