The Real Reasons for Divorce

I realize that there will be some of you reading today who believe that divorce is never ok under any circumstances. That is ok with me, we can agree to disagree on that topic.

The Bible is clear that there were various conditions and reasons for a divorce in the Old Testament.

“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house... Deuteronomy 24:1 (NASB)

The Pharisees (in their usual style) came to Jesus and began to quiz Him on the topic of divorce

Some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man TO WRITE A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. “But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER,AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” In the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again. And He said* to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.” Mark 10:2-Mark 10:12 (NASB)

So we see that both the Old Testament, and Jesus in the New Testament say that divorce is permissible in certain cases. Jesus also says that divorce is allowed because of the hardness of the heart of man.

Those of you who read my blog routinely know that I am dedicated to promoting the process of heart change. In fact, I have written a few books on the subject, and teach on it regularly. The fact that divorce is allowed due to the hardness of hearts is really critical!

Think with me for a moment about some of the actions and attitudes that surround marital conflict that leads to divorce...

What does the Bible say about each of these?

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, Galatians 5:19 through Galatians 5:21 (NASB)

Sadly, many or all of these are usually present in a divorce situation today.

The Bible describes them as actions of the flesh. Before any of these deeds became actions, they were thoughts or beliefs or desires. The Bible tells us that the heart is deceitfully wicked (Jer. 17:9) and that our actions are a result of what is going on in the heart!

So in a divorce situation where there is much enmity and strife between the two people who once proclaimed to love one another, you are seeing the sin of the heart on grand display. Sinful wickedness of the heart is truly the only reason for divorce.

Now before you get overly upset, allow me to explain. I know that there are cases of abuse where divorce is the only option. Likewise, cases of infidelity, unrepentant sin in the areas of drug and alcohol or gambling abuse to the point where it is dangerous to remain in the situation. But isn't each of those a result of a wicked heart?

When a divorce takes place, it is because one person or sometimes both have become involved in some aspect of idolatry. Idolatry is the worship of something or someone other than God. When idol worship takes place the focus changes from thinking of your spouse to thinking only of gratifying self and meeting that perceived need...worshiping the idol of the heart.

“For I hate divorce,” says the LORD, the God of Israel,
Malachi 2:16 (NASB)

More tomorrow!