“Part of the reason the Lord hates divorce so much is because He understands the hurt, loneliness and frustration it brings.” That’s what Dr. Randy Carlson says in his, “Word on Relationships Commentary” he wrote on this subject a number of years ago.
This week we’re going to share a portion of Randy’s commentary. Dr. Carlson is the president of Family Life Communications and the host of the national radio talk show, Intentional Living Theintentionallife.com. He shares our passion on marriage and has given us permission to share with you the following
A Few Words on Divorce:
“Divorce is a crime against marriage. For some, it is an act of relational suicide. For others, it turns out to be more like relational homicide. Then there are those for whom divorce is nothing more than a move of self-defense. But in every case, divorce is the final choice of a desperate person or couple who believes they can no longer tolerate the pain of a marriage gone sour.
“With nearly 50 per cent of Christian marriages ending in divorce, it’s a fact that can neither be ignored nor wished away. Divorce is a culture that appears to be here for the long haul. Yet God is not caught off-guard by it, and His word is neither salient nor naïve on the subject. It provides perspective, encouragement and direction for those who are either considering or facing this painful reality.
“I know God hates divorce —but why? Does God hate it (Malachi 2:16) because He’s a kill-joy, doesn’t want you to be happy? Or is it simply oblivious to this century’s realities? Actually, it’s none of those reasons. Obviously divorce is neither pleasant nor comforting for anyone, and God knows that.
“Part of the reason the Lord hates divorce so much is because He understands the hurt, loneliness and frustration it brings. God loves, cares for and desires the very best for His children. He wants couples to enjoy spiritual, sexual and emotional intimacy. And research shows that a strong, loving and committed marriage contributes to that trio of intimacy needs.
“Another reason God hates divorce is because marriage is a living and breathing example of God’s love and commitment to you as His church, a member of His body of believers. God commands husbands to love their wives ‘as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.‘ (Ephesians 5:25)
“Do you catch the picture? God hates divorce because He doesn’t want His powerful representation of commitment and love to His bride (His church) to be destroyed. When a Christian couple gets a divorce, they chip away at that illustration.
“Sadly, this picture of your relationship with Christ and how it reflects His ideal for marriage has become distorted, misunderstood, minimized and, at times, even ignored by His children.
“Divorce can be prevented. If you’re now married and considering divorce —don’t do it! Just as it takes two to tango, it takes two to damage a marriage. Your situation may have been a 90/10 per cent balance of shared love and respect —with you giving the 90 per cent but there are still pro-active steps you are responsible to take.
“While there is no guarantee that any action will create positive change, I can assure you of this: taking no action will almost guarantee that nothing good will happen. Laying back and waiting for something to change is probably the most serious mistake many people make when their marriage is in trouble. The time to take positive action is now!
“Here are a few things you can do:
- Completely dedicate your marriage and your actions to God.
- Find a Godly, mature mentor, coach or counselor to walk with you through the process of developing a game plan to save your marriage.
- Determine the goal you have for your marriage. What is your vision for your relationship?
- List the top five obstacles you face in accomplishing that goal.
- Take the top obstacle and develop (with your counselor) a game plan to break the “marriage lock” you are in.
Divorce is seldom the best solution to a marriage problem. Neglect of the marriage relationship is the core reason for the divorce epidemic. But God provides solid direction for those who seek Him.”
If you’re thinking of divorcing your spouse please prayerfully consider the following thoughts:
“God doesn’t want our sacrifice —He wants our obedience. Staying in a marriage where there’s no love and devotion is a sacrifice, but staying and loving with your whole being is obedience!”
Praying About This Matter
As you’re praying about divorce (you are praying, aren’t you?) we pass along the following words for you to prayerfully consider as well:
“Remember this: God hates divorce. But the same God who hates divorce, loves the divorced, just as He does all his children. If you’re contemplating divorce, I pray you’ll reconsider reconciliation, if at all possible. If your heart has been broken by divorce, go to Him for healing. Or it could be that divorce has separated you from God. If so I pray that you will find your way back to Him. He’s left the light on. The door is unlocked. He’s waiting for you.” (Max Lucado, from the article, “Divorce’s Dark Country” which we recommend you read)
“Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.“ (1 Peter 5:6-7)
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!“ (Romans 15:5-6)
Cindy and Steve Wright
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9 responses to “A Word on Divorce – MM #106”
(UK) The reason for the divorce rate is that the Church has been taken over by ideological feminism and rank selfishness and a men-hating culture. Having just been on the brunt of a terrible divorce my impression is that the Church is ironically one of the major forces behind the divorce rate. Selfish women who don’t wish to compromise anything in a marriage are supported with large settlements by the courts after years of ease and the Church wraps its arms around them as they cry their crocodile tears.
Jesus would be thrown out of a modern church for being violent and emotionally abusive towards people – eg throwing money changers out of the temple, calling people a ‘vipers brew’ etc etc. The problem is within.
(UK) I hope feminists realise that Jesus was far more pro-female than the people of the day. He thumbed his nose at the patriarchal attitudes of the religious leaders by talking to women, healing them on the Sabbath, treating prostitutes with dignity, letting an adulterer go scot free and appearing first after his death to women. He should be the hero of feminists.
Jesus certainly knew how to speak the truth in love. If His words offend, it is only because He has our highest good in mind. Jesus was never meek and mild, but could never be accused of being emotionally abusive, since His actions were always done in love. Jesus also said, “The kingdom of God suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”
(ZIMBABWE) I would like to get more information about remarriage – whether it is biblical or not, based on Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11,12.
(PHILIPPINES) “But in every case, divorce is the final choice of a desperate person or couple who believes they can no longer tolerate the pain of a marriage gone sour.”
(IRELAND) Does it occur to anyone that the church has so distorted God’s views about divorce that there is much confusion? I doubt that God would destest divorce just because of divorce itself. More likely, He hates the perverted motive that people use behind this method to save.
There is both a right or wrong motive and attitude behind every action, from reading the Bible to divorcing. For example, the tenth commandment says, “You shall not covet…” (Exodus 20:17). Is this something that God hates? Absolutely. But is it the things themselves that we covet that are wrong, such as a good car, a big house, or is it the attitude that says, “I want what you have?”
In Proverbs 6:16-19, we see that the Lord hates some things: “a proud look.” It’s not the “look” that’s wrong, but the perverted motive that exalts self behind the look; “a lying tongue.” Is it the “spoken words” that are bad or the heart motive to cover up truth? “hands that shed innocent blood.” It’s not the “hand” that kills that He hates, but the heart of murder for selfish motive.
Can anyone say that God hates divorce when it is used to save one or both of the spouses out of a dying marriage so they can get a new start with Him? Or does God hate divorce when the motive comes from a heart that is self-seeking — wanting to push aside the marriage partner He gave them, for “something better”, like the Israelites putting away their wives for pagan ones (See Malachi 2:11-16).
The divorce that God approves of is one of His major surgical procedures to save the people of the marriage (but not necessarily the marriage itself). But if we don’t discern the difference between what God approves and what He hates, divorce becomes a taboo, something detestable and abhorred.
Christians are frantically trying to save marriages, and they forget that there are people IN the marriage. I’ve heard it compared to trying to save a burning building and not caring to rescue the people who work in the building. Do we save the people of the marriage, or do we save the marriage itself for the sake of the marriage? Only the Pharisses are legalistic enough to forget that God’s first priority is the individual, and then the institutions these individuals make up. If we try to save the marriage, we will probably lose the couple. But if we try to save the couple first, we have a very good chance to save the marriage, but more importantly, we will save one or both of the couple.
We see this in Jeremiah 8, where the inhabitants of Jerusalem had such bad motives and attitudes toward and God, that God said in verse 10, “Therefore I WILL GIVE THEIR WIVES TO OTHERS, AND THEIR FIELDS TO THOSE WHO WILL INHERIT THEM.” Notice God’s attitude concerning the marriage. The marriage itself was not first priority, but second. God did not save the marriage, but broke it up because of their continual disobedience.
For He said, “…I will give their wives to OTHERS…” (Jeremiah 8:10a). “Others” means other marriage partners. Remember: GOD’S PRIORITY IS TO SAVE THE PEOPLE OF THE MARRIAGE, NOT NECESSARILY THE MARRIAGE ITSELF. God is the one who broke these marriages up. It is probable that the husbands were just as cruel to their wives as they were to the Lord. God didn’t even ask the husbands for a Divorce Certificate. He just had another country come and take over. Divorce itself is not what God is concerned about, but the “WHY,” and “HOW COME” behind it.
God did the same in the book of Ezra, where He mandated divorce for those who disobeyed Him and took pagan wives. And He allowed for divorce in the Old Testament for those who mistreated their wives, out of compassion for the women in patriarchal societies who could be put away for trivial reasons and be put to shame. By having a certificate of divorce, they were legally entitled to remarry. The only exception is if the man put away a woman for a trivial reason, then later wanted to remarry her if her remarriage broke up due to death or divorce, since this would be the equivalent of prostituting her.
(Africa) Hi, I enjoy reading the emails you send and please continue the good work. This is a very interesting topic which makes very good reading. I have one question which you would make very good augmentation to this article. It is the issue of adultery and AIDS in a Marriage. How does one deal with this given the strong advise against it in the Bible?
In my part of the world, Africa, religion (GOD) is the only solace that people have for their suffering, and you can imagine that for them guidance of the Bible forms every fundamental aspect of life and any departure thereof is an abomination. While this, in itself, creates goodness in society, it is also a curse to the masses. Why do I say that? A poor woman married to an adulterous man subject of all form of abuse will find solace in this email. And yet the only form of salvation she has is prayer and faith. Is this surely the message of this time and age?
I am not very religious, but believe in the power of God, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God Bless your good work.
(USA) “With nearly 50 per cent of Christian marriages ending in divorce, it’s a fact that can neither be ignored nor wished away.” –Dr. Randy Carlson
America’s divorce rate is the world’s highest because the law permits one partner to unilaterally leave a marriage with no allegations whatsoever! What was begun by two people willingly is terminated by one person against the will of the other spouse in 80% of cases!
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.” –Jesus Christ
“God blesses those who are not offended by me.” –Jesus Christ
(USA) “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife SAVING FOR THE CAUSE OF FORNICATION, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commiteth adultery” Matthew 5-32. KJV-Jesus Christ.
Saving for the cause of fornication means “Only and except in the case of adultery is divorce allowed” same for the victims concerning remarriage.
The world focuses so much more on the victim and their already unbearable grief than the perpetraitor even after over 2 decades of allowing the thoughts and actions that led to the sin. I guess that’s why we have people still on death row after gunning down innocents and cutting up families. And our tax dollars support them although God is clearly for the Death Penalty. Even so LORD, come quickly.
Please help our marriage. “Addiction” and “relapse” are not biblical reasons for divorce.