Christians and Divorce

Divorce among Christians runs parallel to those outside the faith realm. I am saddened by this reality.  We believe that Jesus Christ makes a difference in the lives of those who trust Him as Savior. Divorce between unbelieving mates is also sad, but at least we can understand how un-regenerated hearts make such decisions.  It is most disconcerting, however, when two professed believers opt for divorce.

The reason that immediately comes to mind involves the hardening of hearts – when couples refuse to forgive one another and ultimately choose divorce.  One or both hardens his heart much the same way that Pharaoh hardened his heart toward the Israelites regarding their exodus from Egypt.  

Proverbs 28:14 warns, “He who hardens his heart falls into trouble.”  Unfortunately, the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible translates Pharaoh’s actions this way:  “And God hardened Pharaoh’s heart…” The truth is that Pharaoh allowed circumstances to harden his heart.  He made a conscious choice not to heed Moses and Aaron’s repeated warnings. Judas Iscariot also chose to harden his heart against the Master.  We too are given choices!  We can either submit to God’s Word or we can reject it.  The preached Word hardens or softens men’s heart, depending on their choice.  And the more we reject the Word, the more heart-hardened we become.

Jesus touched on this principle in Matthew 19:7-8. “‘Why then, they [Pharisees] asked, ‘Did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?’  Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard.  But it was not this way from the beginning.'”

In His parable of the sower in Matthew 13, Jesus talks about the different types of ground (hearts) that the seed of God’s Word falls on.  Husbands and wives, when in the throes of relational difficulties have a choice.  They choose their own soil condition–hard, rocky, shallow, thorn-infested, or good soil.  Hardened soil does not allow the Word to be sown in our hearts.  “The devil comes along and snatches away what was sown” (verse 19).  Rocky conditions may even receive the Word with joy.  “But since (the individual) has no root, he lasts only a short time.  When trouble comes…because of the Word, he quickly falls away”(verse 20).

Years ago I heard this quote: “Marriage is the union of two forgivers.”  This is so true! Life has a way of bringing offenses into all relationships, but none more impacting than our marriages.  Satan loves to destroy Christian marriages.  That’s why we need to walk in forgiveness.  Jesus’ “seventy times seven” principle must be put into action from the very beginning of all marriages.  He’s not relating a mathematical formula as much as He’s saying to forgive one another as often as it is necessary.  

Don’t let offenses “get on you.”  Relinquish your hurts and pain through the power of forgiveness!  I’m convinced that through Christ all things are possible.  Even the worst of scenarios–unfaithful partners, adultery, etc.–can be forgiven.  Christ in us enables us to be “more than conquerors.”

I’m not saying these times are easy, but do we really believe what we preach?  I know there are many times extenuating circumstances, but for the most part, God’s people have Someone living inside them Who is able to walk them through the darkest of days into the light of God’s mercy and forgiveness. And I completely understand that if one partner adamantly refuses to make it work, then break-up is often inevitable.  I get it. By the way, each circumstance has to be considered on its own merits. Blanket statements only bring confusion and further pain.

Divorce remains a “hot potato” in the church world.  Still, I believe Christian couples should take advantage of every means available to save their troubled marriages.  What a testimony it is for the Lord when struggling couples stand up and give testimony to God’s righteous intervention in their homes!  I believe that serving the Lord SHOULD and DOES make a difference in our marriages and homes.

It’s time that God’s people rise up and say, “ENOUGH!”  In a day when Christian marriages are failing percentage-wise with those of unbelievers, we need to prove to the world that serving Jesus DOES make a difference.  His power is mighty to save, heal and deliver!



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