Marriage: Divorce–Never!

Torn fabric

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.

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:

Matthew 19_6

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

Stone heart

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.

Jesus crucified

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.

Wedding vows with ring

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.

Rough path in forest

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.

Prayer with bible

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.

Psalm 97:10 Love And Hate

Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 97:10

Two things that are commonly talked about by many people are love and hate. Non-believers are very quick to tell believers that they are to show love and not hate. Most believers will agree with them in that they should not show any hate towards any person.

Jesus had said that believers are to love their enemies. So the statement of loving people is true and strong.

The world interprets some things as hate, when in reality it is love. If a believer speaks out against a sin or hates some type of sin, it is automatically interpreted that he hates the person. Hating sin has nothing to do with whether a person loves another person or not.

The psalmist said that anyone who loves God, must hate evil. All evil is sin and all sin is evil.

The challenge many believers have is what they call evil. Generally people think of evil as extreme horrible sins, such as murder, rape, extreme violence, and other ‘major’ sins.

God calls all sin evil. Right alongside of murder is also telling lies, gossip, jealousy, pride, and many other ‘little’ sins. All of these are also evil.

Believers must not hate any person, and many are guilty of that, but they must hate the actions and evil. You must hate evil so much that you turn away from it. Do not look on it, do not think about it, do not touch it.

God is pure and holy and cannot be around any sin or evil at all. Jesus was the perfect image of God and you were called to be just like Jesus. You are to live your life in a way that you run away from evil. Do not allow yourself to take part in any type of evil, no matter how large or small it is.

Where do you sit with evil?

Do you overlook small sins?

Or do you run from all sin?

I pray today that you will love God with all of your heart; that you will hate sin as God hates sin; that you will love people as God loves people; and that your life will be like that of Jesus.

Acts 7:60 Forgive Like Jesus

“Then he fell on his knees and cried out, Lord, do not hold this sin against them. When he said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:60

Stephen had been brought in for speaking about Jesus to the people. When they asked him about it, he told them the history of Israel and Jesus. He pointed out that they were the ones going against God and killing His anointed one. They immediately started to stone Stephen to death. As he was about to die he asked God to not hold the sin of killing him against the people.

Although the words were different they were the same meaning as to what Jesus had stated as He died on the cross. His words were for the Father to forgive them because they did not know what they were doing. Stephen was asking the same thing in not holding the sin against them.

How many times have you been wronged by a person? As you are being wronged, what are you usually praying? Most people pray that God will strike that person and get them back for the wrong they did. This is the way the world thinks. You did me wrong and now you must pay for it.

Stephen understood what Jesus did for him. He understood the amount of forgiveness he had received from Jesus. He was willing to pass that on to other people. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and was conformed into the character of Jesus.

Think about how much Jesus has forgiven you of. How many times have you did something wrong to Jesus? Yet, Jesus is still willing to forgive you when you come to Him in repentance.

Are you going to hoard that forgiveness to yourself, being unwilling to forgive others? Or will you pass it on by forgiving others?

The world really does not understand what it is doing. They are just doing what their father, the devil, is showing them to do.

Can you be willing to forgive them? Show true love to them. Point them to Jesus and what He has done for them and can do for them. Show them how Jesus can give them a real life.

I pray today that Jesus will protect you from all harm; that God will fill you with His Holy Spirit; that you will be able to forgive as Jesus forgave; that you will love as God loves; and that by your actions and words many will come to Jesus.

John 15:19 Not Belonging

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19

As much as many people loved Jesus, there were also many who did not love Him. Many of those who were “righteous” and leaders in the temple wanted to get rid of Him. Those that are in the world and refuse to see Jesus as He really is, hate Him. Jesus now points out that as a believer you do not belong to this world, thus you are also hated.

Every person who is really believing in Jesus and following Him will stand out as different in this world. That person will not follow the ways of this world. He will not like the same things. She will not do the same things that the world does. They will not agree with the word’s way of thinking.

People of the world do not like that. Many will look at Christians and state that if you love them, you must agree with them. Loving a person has nothing to do with agreeing with a person. A parent loves his child, even though he disagrees with the child in not allowing the child to do something that is dangerous that the child wants to do.

The world wants believers to accept what they do as good. Jesus never did that. He was in the world, but not a part of their system of beliefs.

You are in the world also, but not a believer of their beliefs and ways. Be separate. Be willing to follow the ways of God, rather than the world.

As you do this, do not be surprised when the world hates you. Not always will the world ‘hate’ you, but they will not always be happy with you. They will get frustrated with you living the Christian way. They may get upset with you for not going along with them.

Remember that since they hated Jesus, they will hate you also. They hate you because they hate Jesus. They hate Jesus because He points out their wrong, and the world does not like that.

As the days get closer to the return of Jesus, the world will get more and more angry with believers. Do not give up. Do not conform to the ways of this world. Stay true to Jesus. Continue to walk in the ways of the Lord Jesus.

I pray today that the ways of Jesus will be more real to you than ever before; that you will be more like Jesus everyday; that you will not fear the world; that Jesus will strengthen you to stay true to Him; and that Jesus will bring you through all persecution and trials of this world.