Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Is Divorce Ever Right?

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
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It's complicated.

That's how she listed her marital status.

It's complicated.

There was never a better phrase to describe divorce.

E-mom has asked us to go out on a huge limb to answer this month's Marriage Monday question, "Is Divorce Ever Right?"

I'm swallowing pretty hard right now. This is a sensitive subject which has affected many people and families, including my own. I, IN NO WAY, want to cause grief to anyone who has suffered through the trauma of divorce. No one who has done so has entered into it lightly.

It's complicated.

God knows how tough relationships can be. He knew we'd need some help, so in His mercy He gave us some guidelines to follow. As I see it, and keep in mind I am no theologian, only an ordinary woman who seeks God in His word, scripture gives us three situations where God allows divorce without judgment from Him.

1. An unbelieving spouse wants to leave.

But, if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.
1 Corinthians 7:15

2. Marital unfaithfulness.

Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."
Matthew 19:8-9

3. You resolve not to remarry or be united with another.

To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
1 Corinthians 7:10-11

Sin occurs when we are joined with someone else, which God considers adultery, as stated in the Matthew 19 passage, not in the separation of divorce. If you plan to stay single, divorce is not sinful, but this can be a hard resolution to stick to.


And that's it. As unfair as it may seem, these are the only provisions I see in scripture. I understand this doesn't address many, many situations that come up in marriage including abuse, neglect, complacency, disrespect, addictions, negativity and controlling behavior. We live in a fallen world and in a fallen world, we humans mess things up. Satan gets his grimy mitts in there and stirs the pot of our lives, making things more difficult, clouding our perspective and judgment. He causes people to be cruel and insensitive to each other, intolerant, impatient and unloving.

Satan makes it complicated.

Which is why we desperately need direction from God to clear the muddy waters. If you are considering divorce, will you first look to see if your situation fits into these scriptural mandates? If not, will you ask God to show you what your next step is before you take drastic measures?

And if you have been party to divorce, can I tell you God's not mad at you? You don't have to feel guilty or bristle every time the subject comes up. No human being is in any position to condemn you and God doesn't either. He hurts for you. He wants to heal you. He will draw near to you if you will draw near to Him. Tell Him about it. Be restored.

Divorce.

It's complicated.

Indeed.

But God is a God of reconciliation and peace, not disorder. In Him alone will we find hope and restoration.


For more Marriage Monday posts, visit e-Mom at Chrysalis.

13 comments:

Amy B said...

You know Tami, I had to stand up and clap when I read this. I have read so many others who ultimately have put a heavy burden on the shoulders of women who suffer through marriages with adultery, abuse, and numerous other things and have chosen to end the nightmare with a certificate of divorce.

My former spouse (though wonderfully changing now - 5 years later) was an unbeliever, an alcoholic, physically and mentally abusive, a gambler and a long time adulterer who even had an affair with a woman who was in my women's group. After putting up with it for years I finally had enough.

Was it right that I divorced him? Yes.

Although, I do not believe they realize it most of those who spoke about this topic have put an unfair burden on these women. They have put the responsibility of the marriage on her shoulders. You can't pray hard enough, or press in long enough, annointing clothes and prayer clothes, and even being the best example to the husband sometimes is not enough.

But, like anything else, if you haven't gone through it then it is easy to assume and point out faults. Thank you Tami for representing the sacrifice of Christ and the very essence of a loving Father.

e-Mom said...

Beautifully and sensitively explained. Scripture is clear enough; we are the muddy ones. And giving and receiving forgiveness are absolutely key. Thanks for your leadership to women.

And thanks for participating in Marriage Monday this month, Tami.

Hugs, e-Mom :~D

MiPa said...

Tami what a beautifully written, truth spoken in love, post. It was a blessing to read.

Robyn said...

This was such a hard topic to write on. I was like you, not wanting to offend anyone who has gone through this painful process but also wanting to stay true to Scripture.

Not an easy subject at all, particularly if you have been personally affected by it like you. You did an outstanding job weaving in God's truth with loads of compassion. Of course, that's what I've come to expect from your writing. :)

Have a great day!!

Mzzterry said...

What a beautiful, loving presentation of a tough subject. May God bless you for this ministry.

Brenda said...

Tami,

That was factual and kind. We are a hospital not a courtroom. (not origianl, its from our pastor)

Brenda

Susan said...

Dear Tami,

Wow, once again you did it. You took a very difficult word and shared God's heart, with compassion.

Once again I'll use what you shared to share with others.(hope you don't mind!)

Hey, I think I'm going to send you a personal email soon

Blessings to you Tami!

Denise said...

Nicely said Tami. It's a very difficult subject indeed; but your response was presented with truth, sincerity, and compassion. Well done!

MrsJoeB said...

I am a women of divorce and of remarriage. It is hard when I counsel women in failed marriages, such as I did this past Sundays. I do not encourage divorce, though that is the path I took. I truely beleive marriage is meant to last, but reality is, they don't always. Your representation of God's allowances are scriptural. Let's us remember as Christians not to judge but to be like Christ. We are called to forgive, to show grace and love, and most of all, to pray for those people who are chosing divorce. I believe prayer is our biggest weapon against divorce. My husband and I are an example of how God can use the unusable-divorced and remarried people-for His good. We know the pain. We know the difficulty. We live in grace. If it wasn't for that, I'd hate to imagine where my life would be.
Tanks for stopping by my blog! You are a blessing Tami!
In His Graces~Pamela

jaime said...

thank you

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Nice. I liked the way you wrote this.
You know I kept thinking about people talking about two becoming one flesh-I wonder how God views all the two becoming one flesh outside of the bonds of marriage. It was just a thought that came to mind when I read this. It's complicated just like divorce. That is why God's instructions are best and keep us from much heart ache! :)
BLessings,
Angela

Connie Marie said...

This is truth spoken in a loving way.

maudie-mae said...

"I understand this doesn't address many, many situations that come up in marriage including abuse, neglect, complacency, disrespect, addictions, negativity and controlling behavior." Unfaithfulness comes in many flavors and not just sexual fidelity. Abuse, neglect, addictions, and some others would have to come under the unfaithful heading too. Even though God is vociferously opposed to divorce, it happens because we have left our first love--not our spouse, but our Lord--and that's where the unfaithfulness comes in. I am using the royal "we" in referring to those who are unfaithful. I am in no way casting blame on the innocent ones.