A few weeks ago, I met with a client who had forced her husband to leave their home. She had had enough of his inaction over the last five years, and now she is now at a cross roads considering divorce. After detailing everything he doesn’t do right and everything he does do wrong, she asked me the most asked question, ever:
“What would you do if you were me?”
But I’m not her. I don’t live with her husband. I don’t love him the way she does and I haven’t spent the last several years building a life with him. So, it would be unfair for me to tell her or you what I would do. I can only show you what the Bible says about divorce.
There are plenty of churches that condemn divorce with no exceptions and no excuses. I’ve even heard of churches banning members who don’t live up to their rules and expectations.
The church may represent God, but they are not God. Nonetheless, I respect their position. Because, when a couple gets married, they become one flesh. So divorce is like tearing a large piece flesh from your body. Not only is it going to hurt, it’s going to take time to heal. God ordained marriage and His preference would be for couples to work out their problems and reconcile.
To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.1 Corinthians 7:11
That’s why it’s important to choose wisely before you get married. But the Bible has more than that to say about divorce.
It actually supports divorce in three specific situations.
- Adultery (Matthew 5:32)
But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason EXCEPT sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
2. Abandonment (1 Corinthians 7:12- 13, 15 MSG)
For the rest of you who are in mixed marriages—Christian married to non-Christian—we have no explicit command from the Master. So this is what you must do. If you are a man with a wife who is not a believer BUT who still wants to live with you, hold on to her. If you are a woman with a husband who is not a believer BUT he wants to live with you, hold on to him. On the other hand, if the unbelieving spouse walks out, you’ve got to LET him or her GO. You don’t have to hold on desperately. God has called us to make the best of it, as peacefully as we can.
3. The only time I would tell a woman to hurry up and leave her husband—today, not tomorrow— is if her life is in danger. If she or her children are being abused, common sense dictates that she removes herself from the situation.
Psalm 72:14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.
No matter what you choose, your life is not over after divorce.
Divorce is a very personal decision that is to be made between you and God. God looks at the heart and not necessarily your actions in every situation. Only He knows your motives and only He knows what’s best for you.
Regardless of the reasons for divorce, it’s not an unforgivable sin. If your church condemns it, without considering the circumstances, just know that God does not condemn you.
That’s what matters most.
He looks at divorce as He does any other sin. While you may face consequences here on earth for your sins, if you repent, God forgives you and will not hold it against you.
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
If you’re divorced, just know that you’re still loved and cherished by the Father.