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Daily Encounter: A Week-day Devotional by Richard (Dick) Innes of ACTS International.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Should Christians Ever Divorce? Part II

"Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife" [or husband].1

Whether we agree with it or not, divorce happens. Some have done all in their power to save their marriage but failed to do so. Then there are those who go into marriage with no sense of responsibility or commitment to make their relationship work. Today we are speaking about the former, not the latter whose divorce could rarely, if ever, be justified.

Unfortunately, some Christians today still see divorced people as second–rate citizens and many churches (and/or fellow Christians) do not accept them fully. As the old saying goes, the church is the only army who shoots its wounded! Today's church as a whole is very much for families; that is, married families. This in light of the fact that more than half the adults 24 years and older, at least in the U.S., are single! The single world is thus a vast mission field that many, if not most, churches and Christians pretty much close a blind eye to.

The good news is that God doesn't reject divorcees who acknowledge their failure and ask him for his help and forgiveness. Think of the woman at the well who had had several husbands and was not married to the man she was now living with! Did Jesus reject her? No. In fact he used her to take the gospel to the people in her town! We probably would have given her the "left foot of fellowship." Think, too, of the woman caught in the act of adultery! Did Jesus reject her? No, he didn't. And while he didn't condone her behavior, he loved and accepted her and helped to free her from her sinful lifestyle.

Certainly divorce should ever only be the last step after every honest attempt has been made to save the marriage. But unless both partners are committed to personal honesty, facing the truth about their contribution to the conflict, and are willing to grow, change and work on their own recovery, it is hopeless. In my experience, I have witnessed that in most failed relationships too many people play the blame–game and as long as they blame the other person for their problems, without facing what they have contributed to the breakup, there is no resolution and there is no hope for resolving the conflict. The reality is that we are as sick—or as healthy—as the people we are attracted to.

God's Word also reminds us to live, if possible, peaceably with all people,2 which is implying that it isn't always possible to do this. And that it is better to live in the corner of the housetop than in a wide house with a quarrelsome partner.3 So when we think about what God has to say about divorce, let's not forget the many other Scriptures that apply to relationships.

Another thing I urge divorcees is to see their failed marriage as God's wakeup call for them to face and work through their character issues/weaknesses to ensure that they won't make the same mistake again, for what we don't resolve, we are destined to repeat. And God will allow us to keep repeating our mistakes until we get it! But once we learn what we need to learn, we don't need to keep learning the hard way. What God wants for all of us is to be made whole, for only to the degree that we are made whole will our lifestyle, attitude, behavior, actions and relationships be whole–some.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be open and honest in my relationships—with you and with all the important people in my life; help me to face and resolve my character weaknesses, and to be 'as Christ' to others so I will be protected against divorce and other failed relationships. Thank you God for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

NOTE: Be sure to read my article, "Living Again After Divorce" at: http://tinyurl.com/9g92u

1. Proverbs 21:9 (NIV).
2. Romans 12:18.
3. Proverbs 25:24.


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