The Holy Spirit has been teaching me how easily people deceive themselves when it comes to divorce. Mankind's quest to live a happy life causes many people (Christians included) to sinfully rationalize how God might make an exception to the rule for the sake of their comfort level. However, I fear that these rationalizations are simply convincing lies that we like to argue with hopes of an easier road - advancing what we THINK or FEEL is "right" rather than actually OBEYING what our Master says is holy.
Recently, I was visiting with a group of women. While many shared their backgrounds and life stories with me, one woman approached me and started discussing her marital history. Her story was this: She was married very young, but determined shortly thereafter that her husband was the wrong man to be married to for reasons she chose not to disclose. She quickly divorced him and later remarried a "nicer" man. Now, she is enjoying "a happy life" and a "normal" relationship. (That is how she worded it.) Her concern was this: Should she repent to God about the decision to divorce her first husband when she honestly felt that leaving him was the right thing to do?
After hearing this, many other women piped up to share their own stories regarding how they too divorced themselves out of difficult marriages. Suddenly, I found myself in a room filled with a parade of divorced women (Christian women) rationalizing why God would not have wanted any of them to have stayed married to their first spouse. Their husbands were men who ranged from dead beats, to alcoholics, to abusers, to two-timers/cheaters, to men that just didn't get them, etc. etc. etc....you name it. Each woman stood in agreement that surely God would approve, "They deserved better!" Each admitted that by divorcing their first mate, they were clearly happier today for making the decision... no regrets whatsoever.
Finally, the woman who first initiated the conversation wrapped up her argument by stating in agreed satisfaction, "Let's face it... now I'm able to serve Jesus better without all that messiness in my life. So, why repent for something that turned out well? Sure, God says He hates divorce, but why ask for forgiveness when divorce was really the best solution for my situation?"
"God hates divorce, BUT..." But what? He hates it!
"So, why repent..." Wait... what? Did I hear that right? Why repent? REALLY???
Admittedly, I was speechless. What the heck has happened to our belief system that we somehow think that God's will for us has changed from scripture and does not involve any messiness or suffering through trials - especially in marriage? Furthermore, if God outright has said that He hates divorce, it is clearly NOT a "holy" decision when we go do exactly what He despises. No, this cannot be rationalized as a "right" decision - irrespective of how happy one may emotionally feel afterward. God would NEVER encourage His children to divorce. That is not a physical representation of His covenant love.
What concerns me most about this whole matter is the complete absence of regret or repentance that so many lack today after following through with such a decision. In fact, most people defend their decision to divorce at all cost. It's like we form these little clubs of "Why it was OK for so and so to get a divorce" and then seek the approval of others to secure our position on the matter. But I ask you this, are our hearts truly repentant hearts if we are quick to go against God's plan? Do we value His Word, His Way so little that we quickly embrace exactly what He hates?
Perhaps we have forgotten what our repentance really means. According to New Testament Greek, the word for repentance (metaneo) means a change of mind that results in a change of action. The Bible tells us that true repentance will result in our turning to God and what He loves... not away from Him! Acts 26:20 declares, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.”
Repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action. Not a change of scenery. Not a change of spouse. No, if we have accepted Jesus' way, we must change how we perceive and see things - even in our marriages. We must seek to recognize the sin that Satan uses to destroy our covenant relationship the same way God recognizes such sin. How do we do this? By loving our spouse to the level that Jesus loves us while sacrificially giving over our lives to God for His use - to bring Him glory. Do you choose to bring God glory by seeking divorce? I think not. In fact, I know not. For here is what He said:
“I hate divorce...” says the Lord God of Israel. "So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith." (Malachi 2:16)
Did you get that? Guard yourself in spirit and do not break faith! How do we guard our spirit? By embracing God's Word... by knowing what He says and repeating it to ward off the enemy... by following His commands to avoid sin. How do we keep our faith solid? By remaining in His presence and seeking His ways over our own... by literally abiding in Him and setting our sights on His ways.
Ladies, I know that many will not like reading this blog today. Many will disagree and argue against these passages because they simply want what they want. Many will promote a life of earthly happiness over a marriage of sacrifice and obedience. But heed my words... following Jesus is not about finding a self-serving form of happiness on this earth. Rather, God gives us specific trials so that we can become MORE like Jesus... not less. And what was Jesus' model? Well, Jesus surrendered His life over in order to fulfill the will of His Father. Jesus loved his bride (us) more than His own life and gave everything up so that we could be with Him intimately forever. Jesus lived as a humble servant and did what was necessary to restore our relationship with Him... even though we were deadbeat, sin addicts who abused His love and cheated by looking toward another selfish way of life. Jesus loved us enough to do everything possible to repair our broken relationship with God and restore us back home!
You and I both know that Jesus would not agree to divorce... no matter how difficult a relationship is strained. We are to be help mates to our husbands as Christ is to us. We are to sacrifice. To serve. To love. To be joyful. To be self controlled. To be patient and long-suffering like our Savior. (2 Peter 3:9)
Many examples of difficult experiences have been documented throughout scripture where God allowed his children to endure unimaginable trials and tests of faith. Some, like Joseph, were sold into slavery. Some, like Paul, were imprisoned. Some, like David, were hunted down. Some, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were sentenced to death. Did they give up or throw in the towel? No. Did they turn from God's plan and renounce their Savior's way? No. They sang and rejoiced and sought after God while trusting Him to see them through... mind you, through things we could not even imagine enduring!!! Most importantly, no matter what the earthly result of their trial - their deeds gave glory to their King! Their life was a repentant life - a changed life that only sought after God's way of doing things.
So, just because your marriage may face challenges and variances of hardship, it is biblically an unwise conclusion to dissolve a holy covenant that was instituted by the Creator Himself. In short, it is NEVER healthier to seek what we want over what God wants. It is never good to sway from His truth because Satan has painted a picture of greener pastures promising earthly happiness. That's how we got into this sinful mess in the first place! (Remember Adam and Eve?)
Now, depending on circumstances that involve an individual's safety, a separation based on prayer and trust (with the hope of God being able to restore and renew) may be a necessary course of action in a complex marital trauma... and it may even run the course of one's lifetime. But divorce? No. Not when God clearly hates it. Not when God is blessing our lives with a holy trial to become MORE like Him! Rather than running away, consider such testing as PURE JOY...
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:2-5)
For those who have already been through divorce, whether self initiated or forced by a spouse... I challenge you to take ownership of your heart on this matter. Consider your involvement and pray about your willingness to surrender your spiritual eyes to look through His holy lens. Confess any sin where you held ownership that contributed to the broken marital covenant. Allow Christ to change your mind, soften your soul, strengthen your faith. Forgive and love your ex. And if possible, start seeking and praying for restoration and healing in Jesus' gracious Name. God is ready and able to renew so much if you only allow Him the opportunity... if you trust Him without limits... if you seek and obey Him at all cost.
I do not claim to be an expert at anything. I am merely a lover of Jesus and a follower of His word. He is my authority in all matters. So, I write this blog in love and obedience to my King. I write, because if we are to be honest about what God says on this matter of divorce... if we are to face the trials He puts us in for the purpose of making us more like Jesus... we must stop making excuses for sin and call a spade a spade. Divorce is man's solution. But marriage is God made. I have learned to always, ALWAYS choose God's way over man's!!! Let's acknowledge His holy way and be ready to account for our deeds. Let's live for His Name's sake - not our own.
Please ladies, let's stop trying to convince one another that divorce is acceptable in the eyes of the Lord. It is not. God HATES divorce. So let's make a holy decision to stand for what is right and base our choices on mirroring His sacrifice rather than advancing human selfishness.
Every day we follow Jesus - through every trial we face here on earth... it is one day's march closer to His perfect, healthy presence and eternal glory. I encourage you to always focus on Him. Follow Him. Strive to be holy like He is holy. You are new in Christ Jesus, ladies. Live like it. Encourage it. Depend on His eternal covenant and model it within your own marriage. No matter what, represent your King correctly... honorably... holy.
It won't be easy... but eternally, it will be worth it! I encourage every devoted woman to always turn to God... not away from Him!
Let she who has ears hear. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!
Blog Post Written By Victoria Anderson