I hate divorce and God does too

I found out the other day that one of my old mates was getting divorced. I must admit when I hear about this it really makes me sad, angry all at once. I’m sad because I care very much for my friends. I’m angry because I’m an emotional person and things like divorce should move your emotions. To make matters worse the couple concerned were supposed to be Christian. My current count of Christian friends who have divorced now stands at four. This is especially saddening in my generation where marriage is increasingly rare and Christians really have an opportunity to stand out a mile when it comes to our relationships.

I’ve been in a difficult relationship before and know what it’s like to both suffer as well as be the cause of someone else’s suffering in the context of a longer-term relationship. In this relationship I stuck it out even though things were really emotionally, psychologically and physically difficult. All my friends told me that I was stupid and I should just break up with the girl concerned.

I didn’t for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I really loved and cared about the girl (in some ways I still do). Secondly I really strongly believe that God by his spirit could change not just me but my other half too, just as he changes and transforms his church. Thirdly even though I wasn’t married to this particular person (we were engaged) I realized that it’s important that Christian (marriage) relationships and our relationship echo the relationship between Christ and his church one of permanent self-sacrifice. I was massively conscious of my own shortcomings as well as my lack of ability to lay down my life practically for my other half. I really sucked at being the Godly man I knew I needed to be. However I’m proud to say that by God’s grace I never stopped working on myself and our relationship.

So for me divorce has always been a very simple issue. You don’t get any clearer than Jesus words in Matthew 19.

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." "Why then," they 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. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."
A few years back I raised this with one of my other Christian friends who was going through a painful divorce (with another “christian") and was shocked when they told me the advice of their church elders was to “get divorced” because “God wouldn’t want to you to be unhappy” [in staying married to this person]. This response made me very sad. Obedience to God’s truth and commands always stands over and above my personal happiness.

I’m not arguing for unhappy marriages. I’ve always known that for me if I’m not prepared to love my wife unconditionally like Christ did for me then I shouldn’t get married in the first place. I know this a tough teaching and contrary not only to what most of the world teaches but also to what some Christians affirm. If you'd like a more mature take on Christian marriage and divorce see here.

More on children of divorce in American magazine Newsweek
Albert Mohlers Blog



Astrid said... 5/06/2008 1:51 pm  

I certainly think what your saying is true. But I think it also needs to be handled with care. people who deal with with couple considering devorce should have an understanding of what to go through a differcult relationship is like. Espically if they haven't experienced that in their own relationship it can be easy to judge.

i also think care should be taken to not make a scapegoat of the relatioship - espically without knowing the full the very full story as relationships are complicated and there is always at least two sides

aus_chick said... 5/07/2008 12:09 pm  

Divorce is so sad :-(. I've been reading Boundaries in Marriage lately and it's an excellent resource with case studies from couples who almost got divorced and how by adjusting their boundaries they were able to stay together.

Anonymous said... 5/07/2008 12:21 pm  

> were supposed to be Christian
> with another “christian"

Way harsh. Hope your supposed "friends" don't read your blog, they might be slightly "offended"...

Otherwise agree with your thoughts, but let he who is without sin cast the first stone & all that...

--anonymous hero

mike said... 5/07/2008 1:04 pm  


In the first I'm not sure whether the people concerned still claim to be Christian or not.... nothing judgmental about that.

As for the "christian", claiming a label doesn't always equate to actually walking the walk. From what I know of this person's actions are plenty enough to question their belief.

As for casting stones and pulling planks maybe you should re read the post. I always do my best to live a life of transparency on my blog.

Anonymous said... 5/08/2008 1:24 am  

what happens if abuse is in the relationship?? should a mother stay with the father if the children are getting thrown around and she is getting treated like a rag doll??

My cousin got a divorce does that mean he's not a Christian anymore?

Anonymous said... 5/08/2008 11:42 am  

> As for the "christian", claiming a label doesn't always equate to actually walking the walk. From what I know of this person's actions are plenty enough to question their belief.
>As for casting stones and pulling planks maybe you should re read the post. I always do my best to live a life of transparency on my blog.

Never implied otherwise - it wasn't intended as a criticism of your life. Maybe I'm misreading but I don't see the point of the plank parable as 'make sure you're living a godly & transparent life, *then* you can start writing others off'! No matter how godly and transparent a life you live, I don't think it places you in the position to 'question [other's] belief.'. If that's not casting stones then I don't really know what is!

-- anonhero

mike said... 5/08/2008 3:15 pm  

To the first anonymous commenter. I’d agree that you can’t judge the condition of a person’s heart in the sense of condemning them. You can however look at a persons actions or “fruit” (See Matt 7). I’d argue that places like Matt 7 don’t forbid judging rather hypocritical judging (something I was careful to avoid). As for John 8 (casting stones) while a problematic passage it also seems that the thing condemned is hypocritical judging.

Perhaps it might help if you outlined why you think that one can’t ever judge or question another person’s belief (if I‘m understanding you correctly).

mike said... 5/08/2008 3:18 pm  

The second anonymous commenter should also note that I’m not in any way arguing that getting divorced means someone has denied the faith. I was careful never to say that and I certainly didn't mean to imply.

Secondly I’d also like to see you accept my first premise before offering qualifications to what ifs. I’m sorry if this sounds antagonistic but hiding in the cloak of anonymity leads me to suspect the genuineness of your question.

Anonymous said... 5/12/2008 5:28 pm  

I think your point of view is wrong with this one Mike. I read you blog bout once a week and agree with 99% of the stuff you've talked bout... But with this one friend i think that your a bit off track.

Dont take it as a personal put down...

mike said... 5/14/2008 12:23 pm  

What do you actually disagree with?

It's very difficult for me to clarify what I'm saying while you lurk in the shadows.

Why not send me an email and we can discuss it further.

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