• Jesus Loves the Divorced

Here's the good news: according to the National Center for Health Statistics, there were 2,118,000 marriages in the United States in 2011.1 If marriage is the backbone of society, then numbers like this are promising. Healthy marriages can have productive and promising results (children, financial stability, cultural strength, and so on). 

But like all statistics, there's another side—in this case, the bad news: 40 to 50 percent of these marriages will end in divorce. Further research states more somber news: "the divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher."2 In other words, once you've been divorced, there's a good chance you'll do it again.

I've learned something about human nature. When we want to justify something bad enough, the Bible is never good enough! Like lawyers looking for loopholes, some people imagine truth to be as pliable as a rubber band."

- Skip Heitzig-

And for us as Christians, there's the most concerning news: even within the church, divorce continues at a high percentage. There is an ongoing debate as to the actual numbers, but they're generally accepted to range from 30 to 50 percent.3

From a biblical vantage point, divorce is dangerously high, but it's part of our human nature—something the Bible addresses throughout the Old and New Testaments.

As Pastor Skip Heitzig states in his booklet, Divorce and the Christian, "I've learned something about human nature. When we want to justify something bad enough, the Bible is never good enough! Like lawyers looking for loopholes, some people imagine truth to be as pliable as a rubber band."4

Though our culture twists the "rubber band" of marriage (re-defining it, ignoring it, etc.), the question is: What is the truth regarding divorce? What does the Bible have to say regarding divorce and marriage?5

Definition

The basic definition of divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court of other competent body.6 The word is based on the Latin word diverter. The English meaning of the term was based on the word divert (to deter, dissuade, or distract). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary brings these two words together when it defines divorce as "a complete separation between two things."7

Discover

When identifying various Scripture references regarding divorce, Pastor Skip states, "My concern is that we tamper neither with God's Word nor His design."8 The verses stated here are not comprehensive, but rather act as foundational truths taken from God's Word concerning God's design for human relationships.

  • "For the Lord God of Israel says He hates divorce, for it covers one's garment with violence" (Malachi 2:16).
  • "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate" (Matthew 19:6).
  • "Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man" (Romans 7: 1-3).
  • "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace" (1 Corinthians 7:10-15).

Develop

When developing a plan to assist someone walking through or considering a divorce, please remember this truth: Jesus loves the divorced person. We are never to hate or condemn them, though in light of God's Word we may or may not condone the action. As has been said many times before, we are to love the sinner but hate the sin.

Pastor Skip put it this way: "God speaks strongly against divorce because, from personal experience, He understands the pain it brings. In an analogous sense, God was a divorced person. His people turned their back on Him by worshipping at other altars…. But with Jesus Christ, forgiveness, redemption, and repair are available."

Based on the above counsel, remember to TALK with the person struggling with this issue:

T—Speak the truth, showing them what the Bible states concerning the issue.
A—Answer any questions they may have, demonstrating Christlike patience, acceptance (of them as a person, not the sin), and kindness.
L—Love them. Compassion for their pain doesn't mean you condone what has been done; it just makes you more like Jesus.
K—Remind the Christian that we are citizens of a different kingdom—God's kingdom. Because of this, we are to live by the King's priorities.

As Pastor Skip summarizes, "There's a time for confrontation and rebuke (T), but there's also a time for restoration and repair (A, L, and K)."8

Jesus loves the divorced. Will you?

 

 

 

1 Marriage and Divorce, accessed 12/18/14.

2 Marriage and Divorce, accessed 12/18/14.

3 Marriage, Divorce, and the Church: What do the stats say, and can marriage be happy?, accessed 12/18/14.

4 For a complete study on the topic, we recommend Pastor Skip's teaching "Divorce: When the Bond is Severed"

5 Definition: Divorce, accessed 12/18/14.

6 Definition: Divorce, accessed 12/18/14.

7 Skip Heitzig, Divorce and the Christian, Connection Communications, 1998, p. 7.

8 Ibid, p. 21.