Divorce isn’t something I ever thought much about. My parents and my husband’s parents are still married, and I am nowhere close to divorce myself. It’s one of those sticky topics that I always chose not to examine especially closely, but now that I have several friends facing this tragedy, I find I can’t stop thinking about it.
Somewhere along the way, I developed the idea that divorce was flat out wrong – a sin no matter how you sliced it. It’s a concept of Christian culture that I guess I just accepted without really studying it. After all, it had never touched me before. But now that I’ve done a little research, I have gone from being sure about the subject to being thoroughly confused.
Starting with the Old Testament – Deuteronomy 24:1-4 outlines the Mosaic law on divorce. To sum up, it says that if a man gets tired of his wife and divorces her, and then she takes a second husband who also ends up divorcing her, she can’t go back to the original husband because she’s been defiled and it would be detestable to God. No mention of the original divorce being any kind of sin, and no discussion on whether or not the woman can take a different 3rd husband.
When Jesus came along, the Pharisees tried to bait him by asking if divorce was permissible, to see if he would contradict the law of Moses. Jesus told them that Moses allowed them to divorce because their hearts were hard, and said in Mark 10:11-12, “A man who divorces his wife and marries someone else is unfaithful to his wife. A woman who divorces her husband and marries again is also unfaithful.” Okay – so this passage seems to say that remarrying means committing the sin of adultery. But what if you get divorced and then stay single? Is that still a sin?
Paul sort of addresses that issue in I Corinthians 7:18 when he says, “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.” Why doesn’t he stop after telling people not to separate? If you divorce but don’t get remarried, are you sin-free? Or if you separate but never get an official divorce, is that okay?
The Bible isn’t as clear cut on divorce as I was always lead to believe. So are my friends who have separated from their husbands doing the right thing? There’s one thing the Bible does make PERFECTLY clear - it’s not my place to judge.
If God didn’t spell out every detail surrounding divorce, maybe that means it’s not a black and white issue after all - His will may be different for different people. Romans 2:15-16 says, “People who are guided by the Spirit can make all kinds of judgments, but they cannot be judged by others. The Scriptures ask, ‘Has anyone ever known the thoughts of the Lord or given him advice?’ But we understand what Christ is thinking.”
I have no right to tell others what God’s will is for their lives. How could I be so arrogant as to believe that God would tell me what He wanted my friends to do instead of telling them? Maybe their real sin was disobeying God and marrying the wrong person, and divorce is a step back to His path for them. Maybe sometimes two wrongs do make a right. I don’t know, because IT’S NOT MY JOB TO JUDGE!
I have been truly disgusted by the “Christians” who have had the gall to judge my friends under the guise of proclaiming God’s will. Why is it that people who have been nothing more than casual acquaintances suddenly think it’s okay to call them up and tell them what horrible sinners they are and what they should do to fix their lives? Whatever happened to those without sin being the only ones authorized to cast stones?
To help my friends, I just need to pray that they will have the discernment and strength to follow the will of the Lord, WHATEVER it may be. You never know how God will work in people’s lives, and I truly believe he can use ANYTHING to bring his children closer to him. Even divorce.