Divorce is ugly
business. It sure seems to bring out the worst in people who once upon a time
proclaimed to love each other "till death do you part."
Divorce actions give people the
impression that now anything goes; spouses feel it is ok to say whatever they
please to each other no matter how cruel it is. They seem to even go out of
their way to hurt one another by flaunting new relationships and freedoms in
the face of their husband or wife. I have seen Christians engage in this sort
of behavior acting just like their heathen counterparts. This should not be.
The question everyone
wants to know is, "What makes it ok for me to get a divorce?" In
counseling I am presented with any number of issues that bring a couple to the
place where things are so bad in a marriage that one or both decide to call it
quits on marriage. Each scenario has its own set of qualifiers and
Some of the most common
reasons Christians seek a divorce are:
- One of them has "fallen out of love"
- One has “outgrown” the other
- Continuous arguing/fighting
- Drug/alcohol abuse
- Lack of compatibility/interest
Is divorce ever ok? This
has been debated for all of the years I have been a Christian and I know that no
one scholar agrees with all the rest. What is really important is, what does
the Bible say about divorce?
It is important to
understand that when looking in Scripture regarding this topic that most of us
arrive with preconceived notions about the text we examine. Sometimes Scripture
is used to support whatever position we hold, others want to add to or take
away from the text to justify their own ideas and thoughts on the subject.
Other times the Word is twisted grossly out of context to suit personal
I also realize that
there will be some of you who believe that divorce is never permissible under
any circumstances, but I find Scripture does not support that view. The Bible is clear that there are two commonly
accepted reasons for divorce: abandonment/desertion (1 Cor. 7:12-15) and
adultery (Matt. 5:32; 19:9).
Jesus says that divorce
is allowed because of the hardness of the heart of man.
He said to them,
"Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your
wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. Matt.
Those of you who read my
blog routinely know that I am dedicated to promoting the process of heart
change and the reality that divorce is allowed due to the hardness of hearts is
Think with me for a
moment about some of the actions and attitudes that surround marital conflict
that leads to divorce... emotions like anger and bitterness, malicious and
hateful words being thrown back and forth, discontent with your spouse on any
number of levels… Sadly, many or all of these are usually present in a divorce
The Bible describes them
as actions of the flesh.
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)
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.