Allowance For Divorce

People often ask me whether God allows divorce. Here’s my answer.

A physical act of sexual immorality is the only allowance that the Lord Jesus gave for divorce (see Matthew 19:3-9). He did not command divorce, nor did He commend divorce. As a matter of fact, our Lord teaches that restoration and forgiveness is far, far better even in cases of marital infidelity.

I guess the classic example of this is in the book of Hosea. Here was a man whose wife not only committed immorality, but she finally ended up as a prostitute. And yet Hosea went back to Gomer, reclaimed her, forgave her, remarried her, and restored her as his wife in their home. What a beautiful example of what the Lord teaches about restoration and forgiveness. Indeed, this is God’s ideal.

I hear so many foolish excuses for divorce. For example, “Well, I don’t love my spouse any more. Since the love has gone out of our marriage, then we should get a divorce.” That, my friend, is never a reason for divorce and I’ll tell you why. It is not love that sustains your marriage. It is your marriage that sustains your love.

Jesus said, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:7-9).

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Categories: INSPIRATIONAL DEVOTIONS

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5 replies

  1. Let’s say that a husband has a dark temper and outbursts of anger as such that he’s lashed out against his wife and beaten her. Or he doesn’t leave a mark, but berates her and and screams at her to the point where she often breaks out in tears. Or he’s really controlling, he demands to see every e-mail she ends and listen in on every conversation she has on the telephone, and to know at all times her location and who she’s with. Are these behaviors acceptable?

    • No they are not as I’m sure you know. Trying to get help and “fix” (for lack of a better word) the problems is the way to go. However, no one is going to suggest a woman remain in a relationship where she is abused.

      • Christians do that all the time. My church elder was once leading a Bible Study called “Right Thinking In a World Gone Wrong” – in it the pastor talks about marital infidelity as the only reason that Jesus allows for divorce. Since I had a certain relative who had an abusive husband, I asked for his clarification on the matter. And he stood firm on what the Bible says, “even for cases of abuse, the Bible is clear that it is not an acceptable reason to end a marriage.” I knew that the terrified wife had gone to her church elders who only told her to “submit more” and they never followed up on how she was doing or bothered to give her husband a stern conversation about how not to treat his wife. I can’t blame her for taking action when the church failed her. I’d like to think that if somebody had bothered to ask Jesus: “what about abuse?” It would be written down in the Bible: “Clearly, that’s not acceptable behavior; that’s not a husband cherishing his wife as he would love his own body. He is not worthy of her – she should find a safe haven; take shelter in the church or return to her father’s house, if possible.” (after all, marriage and divorce to first century Jewish cultures wasn’t remotely similar to the traditions elsewhere.)

        • Well all I can say is the church elders were wrong to suggest she should “submit” more. They were also very wrong to do no follow up, the husband should have been questioned by the elders and told in no uncertain terms that his treatment of his wife was unacceptable. No woman should have to live that way. If the husband will not change then it is time to leave. NO that is NOT covered in the Bible but I really do not think a woman would be expected to stay with an abusive husband forever even by God. Only my opinion of course.

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Luke 21:36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."

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