Matthew 5:31 – 32 It has been said, “Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.” But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
Divorce. It is one of the ugliest words I know. It destroys lives, though many people don’t realize just how destructive a divorce can be until they’ve been through one.
When a man and a woman pledge to be faithful to one another only, for as long as they both shall live, God takes that seriously. He takes it so seriously, as a matter of fact, that he paralleled Christ’s relationship with the church with the relationship between a husband and wife. Christ loved the church, laid down His life for her, and would never, ever leave her – though the church is imperfect. He has committed Himself to her, no matter what.
In the same way, a man and a woman commit themselves to each other, no matter what. Why is it that when we say, “for better or for worse,” we really only mean “for better?” When a man and a woman marry, they become as one person. When they divorce, it is like taking a knife and cutting that person in half. If both parties survive the process, they will most certainly carry scars and handicaps with them for the rest of their lives.
And when children are involved, the injuries that are inflicted on those innocent souls cannot be measured. As I said before, divorce is just plain ugly. There is no other way to describe it.
Sometimes, when one person has been unfaithful in a marriage, it causes there to be such a lack of trust, and the pain goes so deep that the other person simply cannot move past it. And though this passage speaks of sexual unfaithfulness, a true and deep study of Christ’s words on the subject imply that He spoke of the breaking of trust, rather than the act of adultery. Sometimes, that can be caused by severe physical or emotional abuse, as well as adultery.
But regardless of the reasons one may have for seeking a divorce, it should never be the first choice. If the wayward or abusive spouse is repentant, if he or she is sorry and wants to change and wants to make the relationship work, then by all means, it is better to stay in the marriage. For divorce is simply the decision to trade one set of familiar problems for another, unfamiliar set. And it rarely brings peace and fulfillment to either party.
In some cases, God permits divorce. But this doesn’t mean He likes it, or He thinks it is the best thing. It’s just that, when two people have reached such a point of misery, and the trust is gone, and they are unwilling or unable to make things better, God allows them to separate. Hardly the way to lasting joy and peace . . .
There is healing after divorce. God can heal anything. But the road to healing is a long and difficult one. If there is anyone reading this who is considering divorce, I hope you will reconsider. Yes, God can heal you, after divorce has torn you apart. But He can also heal your marriage. He is the miracle worker. Ask God to work miracles in your marriage, and then humbly ask your spouse to forgive you for your part in tearing down the trust in your relationship. Regardless of the outcome, you will never be sorry for fighting to save something that is sacred, in God’s eyes. And you never know. You just might get that miracle you prayed for!
Dear Father, Please help me to honor the commitment of marriage, and to love my spouse as You love the church.