Will God Forgive Divorce?

Three weeks
ago, as part of our series on Christian marriage, we discussed what the Bible
had to say about divorce.  Since today
will be the final installment in the series, I felt led to address the concept
of forgiveness in the case of divorce.

Before going
there, let’s refresh our memories on a few things.  Here is a list of what divorce is not:

1) Divorce
is not a convenient answer to your marital problems.

2) Divorce
is not a bargaining chip in the tug of war that sometimes plagues all

3) Divorce
is not an ‘easy way out’ for someone who just can’t deal with commitment

4) Divorce
is not conflict resolution.

Years ago,
when our grandparents got married, it was a lifetime commitment they made.  No matter what life dealt them, no matter how
rich or poor, how sick or healthy, divorce was never an option.  Somehow, someway they worked their problems
out together, and they stayed together until death separated them.

Many years
passed, and succeeding generations began to marry and have families.  And divorce became much more common, but of course,
something pretty catastrophic had to happen before you went to that extreme.  More common was the “trial separation” which,
more often than not, resulted in the couple reuniting.  Marriage was still a serious commitment that
one hoped would last forever.

life is much easier.  The opportunities
for financial advancement are tremendous, and technology has taken a giant leap
forward.  There are more and more women
entering the workplace.  Couples are even
taking separate vacations.  The husband
has his night out with the guys, and the wife has her night out with the girls.
 Is it any wonder people begin to drift
apart? And divorce is becoming the popular answer to what is known as
“irreconcilable differences.” Couples no longer wait for the kids to
grow up before the custody wars begin.

As each
successive generation comes of age and makes the decision of whether or not to
spend the rest of their lives with one person, the once sacred institution of
marriage is falling by the wayside.  Now,
divorce isn’t even the major problem.  Nowadays,
couples don’t even bother to get married, they just live together.  We have same sex marriages, and wife and
husband swapping.  Commitment and loyalty
mean nothing.  What really means
something is the bottom line.  Is it
going to be more financially advantageous if we get married or just live

If, by chance,
couples do decide to “tie the knot,” if after a while things don’t work out, in
some states they can even go to the library, photocopy the right forms and file
for divorce on their own.  They don’t
even need an attorney anymore.  It’s a
sad, sad situation.  In America today,
thirty-three percent of all children are being raised in single parent homes.  

How God must
grieve when He sees how we have trampled in the mud one of the most precious
gifts He has given us.

So what does
God say about all this?  The ultimate
statement from God on divorce is found in Malachi 2:16, “I hate divorce,”
says the LORD God of Israel…”

represents the union between Christ and His bride—the church.  No wonder divorce is so very painful.  The two are supposed to become as one flesh.  No longer separate, but joined together with
such completeness they become a single unit, and “Therefore what God has joined
together, let man not separate.”
(Mark 10:9) 

The Bible says
much about the subject of marriage and divorce, and as with many scriptures,
anyone who really wants to justify themselves can take scriptures out of
context and twist them to make himself and maybe even others believe that it is
okay with God if you get that divorce, but really, Malachi 2:16 is pretty
hard to ignore.

So, this
brings us to the BIG question.  “Will God
forgive you if you have been divorced?”

First, let
me say that scripture clearly states that only blasphemy of the Holy Spirit cannot
be forgiven.

“And so I
tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against
the Spirit will not be forgiven.”
(Mark 12:31)

For all
other sins there is forgiveness, for that is what we were given when we
accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and it is given each time we repent.

So, yes, God
does forgive divorce, but it is not easy to receive this forgiveness.  Remember, to be forgiven of any sin, we must
truly repent.  The Greek word for repent
is “metanoeo” which means to think differently, reconsider, and feel remorse.  This means that your whole attitude toward the
divorce must change.  You must want to
reconcile with your ex-spouse, if possible.  If that is not possible, you must be willing
to repair any damage you may have caused.  For instance, if you are the ex-husband you
must be willing to continue to support your ex-wife.

Sometimes it
is out of a person’s hands whether a divorce happens or not.  But I am convinced, after 20 years of being in
the ministry and counseling people, and researching the issues of marriage and
divorce, that if people would wait patiently on the Lord for the one He has for
them to marry, and then, together, consecrate your marriage unto the Lord,
divorce would not be an option.

When Alice and I were
married nearly 25 years ago, we made a solemn commitment before God that we
would endeavor to work out our problems.  Divorce was simply not an option.  Life has not always been easy, and we have had
our share of stormy weather, but never have we gone to bed so angry that we considered
divorce.  Quite frankly, I am the most
blessed man alive to have my wife, and so much more.  She is my life, and next to Jesus, I love her
more than anything in this world.  God
has truly blessed us and our marriage.

It is possible
to have and to hold until death do us part.  It’s possible to work out any and all problems
without considering divorce if you will agree to:

1) Allow God
to be your mediator and your marriage counselor.

2) Never go
to bed too angry to tell your husband or wife how much you love them and,

3) Never,
never, ever allow the word divorce to even enter your mind.

May the Lord
bless you and keep you as you go through life together and, if you are divorced
or on the verge of a divorce, may you feel His compassion, mercy, and unfailing
love, now and forever.

Please feel free to contact
me with any questions, or if you would like to suggest a topic for discussion.

Don’t miss out on the complete marriage series:
What is a Christian Marriage – Part 1
What is a Christian Marriage – Part 2 
An Ephesians 5 Husband – Part 1 
An Ephesians 5 Husband – Part 2 
An Ephesians 5 Wife – Part 1 
An Ephesians 5 Wife – Part 2 
Communication in Marriage 

The Bible & Divorce
7 Key Principles for a Healthy Marriage

Can God change
your life?

God has made it
possible for you to know Him, and experience an amazing 

change in your own life.

Discover how you
can find peace with God.

Reproduced with permission from Russ Sharrock.

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