Should Christians Divorce? Part 1

Should Christians divorce? This is the topic of this article. In many respects, this question is more important than any other issue I have ever dealt with, because the repercussions, or “fall-out”, if you will, resulting from divorce, are colossal. In this life, there are few decisions that have such widespread and lasting consequences than that of divorce. Be careful before you decide to divorce. Make sure that you are properly informed before following through with this radical, forever life-changing decision.

Your life right now can be characterized by numerous things. If you had to name them, what would it be? A few examples might include successful, busy, happy, sad, creative, passionate, caring, and many more attributes that make up various individuals. If you had to describe yourself right now, what adjectives would you use? If you are considering divorce – if the thought has been crossing your mind recently or in the not too distant past – then I would suggest that some of the adjectives that are coming to your mind right now are on the negative side. You desire to get divorced in order to deal with these things. If you were perfectly content, you would not be contemplating getting divorced, right?

Now let’s be perfectly honest and admit that sometimes you don’t make the right decisions in life. You can admit to that, right, without too much difficulty? Is it possible that your desire to get divorced is also one of those decisions that “looks good” right now, but in the end, it will turn out to have been the wrong decision?

With so much at stake, why would you even dare trust your own ability to decide when you know that you are in the middle of the storm right now and unable to see perfectly clearly? Have you asked the counsel of others? Are you willing to listen to others? Suppose they say something that you don’t like, are you still willing to listen to them, and appreciate and accept their counsel, with the possibility that they might be right, at least in some vital and key areas? These are things you need to consider! With so much riding on your decision to get divorced, you cannot afford to be wrong.

Meet Tara

Tara is my hero. Tara loves the Lord and it shows. Now when life is good, Tara worships God with reverence and awe. When life is bad, Tara worships God, too, with that same reverence and awe. I know this, because of Tara’s attitude. You see, Tara’s attitude is godly. He does not only say he loves God, but he obeys God as well, and loves those people that are hard to love. For example, his wife. For eighteen long years, Tara’s wife was an alcoholic. She would not wash dishes or do any chores around the house, she would not pack lunch for the children. Tara had to do all this. All she would do would be to drink, and sometimes lie on the floor. Tara would say to me, when I met him, “Please pray for my wife.” Tara never once gave up on his wife. He never desired to divorce her. Instead, he did what he was commanded to do – love her. For Tara, this was his “cross” to bear. But there would be a great victory after 18 long years of suffering. One day, Tara said to me, with that same radiant smile that he always had (though he was suffering so much), “I have some good news for you, Danny. My prayers are answered and my wife is now a Christian. She no longer drinks. God has completely changed her.” For Tara, it took 18 long years. But this woman was finally freed. And I doubt she could have done it without the love and care of her incredible husband, Tara.

Some of you right now are feeling that one or two years of suffering are “too much” to bear. Have you been through what Tara has been through? Have you persevered with an attitude of hope and reconciliation? This is the type of godly attitude that will one day be richly rewarded. God did not forget about Tara during those 18 long years! In fact, God was with him the whole time! That was more than evident to anyone that knew Tara, for he wonderfully radiated the peace and joy of the Lord! But how could he, with so much suffering? That is a secret that you can only learn if you yourself are willing to go through suffering. Are you? Are you willing to be a “Tara” to your wife? Are you willing to love the unlovable?

I thank God for Tara. Every time I think of him, I think of a man who achieved a great victory in his life. He is a man who beat the odds. He is a man who stared suffering in the face and said, “I will not be conquered by you, but through love and obedience to God I will conquer.” “Do not be overcome by evil,” the Bible says, “but overcome evil with good.” Tara did it. It is an achievement that took him eighteen long years, but with much perseverance and much endurance, there is much reward. “In due season we shall reap, if we do not become weary,” the Bible exhorts us.

What is the difference between a man like Tara and a man who gives up after one or two years of suffering? Is the man who gives up under more duress than the man who does not give up? Was Tara less stressed? Is that it? Perhaps you are feeling like your degree of suffering justifies getting out of your marriage and leaving your wife. Does it? If anyone had reason to complain, it was Tara! But instead of complaining, Tara prayed. Therein lies the secret of Tara’s success. He prayed. He prayed. He prayed. He prayed! And he did not lose heart! This was a man who was in the word of God, daily, who maintained a positive, God-fearing attitude, and, because he was principled, did not even once consider divorcing or leaving his wife, though he was tempted many times. If it was not for Christ, Tara would have undoubtedly left his wife. But Tara’s faith in Christ, and in Christ’s ability to make a difference, pulled him through all of those many long years.

Do you have faith in Christ? You can do it, too. For it will not be you who is doing it, but Christ who is living inside of you. The “secret” to this success is to submit yourself to Christ; it is to be willing to give up everything in order to follow him. How strong, anyway, is your resolve to follow Christ? Are you really a Christian? Have you given up everything in order to follow him?

Meet David

Now let’s contrast Tara with another person, my friend David (not his real name). For many years David persevered in his relationship with his wife until, one day, more than 20 years later, he decided that it was time to end it. More than that, David decided that it was God’s will to end their relationship. More than that still, in the end, David reasoned that when he first got married to his wife, he had made a big mistake because – thinking way way back more than 20 years to the time that he first got married, he recalled that had been warned by one or two people not to marry her, and he went ahead with it, anyway. What puzzles me in all of this is the sudden change of heart. For more than 20 years David persevered. Then he decided to give up. Now David is a God-fearing man (so he says). He has led Bible studies and done the whole gamut. What I have discovered about numerous so-called God-fearing men who don’t want to admit that they are personally wrong or accountable in such situations, and who themselves do not want to allow God to use the circumstances to mold them, change them, and perfect them in Christ, and who no longer want to endure the suffering, is that they will usually invoke God and bring him to their own side (and exceedingly sinful thing to do in this circumstance, I might add).

“But David, the Bible says that what God has joined, let no man separate.”

“Right,” David replied. “What God had joined. You see, God never joined us. It was my decision, but it was not God’s.”

Unfortunately, when David said that to me, he forgot a passage of Scripture that he personally knew and studied very well. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Now this is the verse that keeps a man like Tara going in the midst of difficult circumstances.

You see, for a Christian who really wants to divorce his wife, there is no better “partner” to help him do so than God himself. But to claim divine direction for something like divorce is like walking into a furnace without divine protection. You’ll remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, how they were thrown into a fiery furnace (so hot it killed the executioners who brought them there). But when they were thrown in, God’s hand of protection was on them. When you “decide” that it is God’s will for you to divorce your wife, what you are really saying is, “I’m willing to walk into that furnace, but please, no divine protection, I’ll manage that myself!” I’m saying this quite boldly and honestly because I do not want you to be deceived. If you decide to go ahead with your divorce, and especially if you decide that it is God’s will for you to do so, you will be casting yourself into a den of lions – but forget the divine protection, please. That does not go along with the deal.

Do you know what it means to use God’s name in vain? It means to use his name in a useless manner – one that was never intended. When you say that it is God’s will for you to divorce your wife, do you realize that this runs in DIRECT CONTRAST TO GOD’S STATED WILL ON THE SUBJECT? For he has said, in the Scriptures, “I HATE DIVORCE”. Thus, you are making yourself an enemy of God by saying that it is God’s will for you to divorce your wife. Do you not believe that God can and will make things better? Where is your faith – oh man of little faith! Whom are you serving, the Lord, or your own desires? When you say it is God’s will for you to divorce your wife, you are making a bold declaration that you no longer wish to serve the Lord. You have decided that it can never work, and that miracles are not possible today. You are really acting like an unbeliever, let’s be honest. Unbelievers believe that miracles are not possible. You are acting just like one of them when you say it is God’s will for you to divorce your wife and when you refuse to believe that God can, and will, use you to make a difference in the life of your wife.

Scripture verses: Romans 12:21, Galatians 6:9, Mark 10:9, Romans 8:28, Malachi 2:16