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Can Christians Divorce?
by Annagail Lynes
12/21/2007 / Christian Living
Question: What does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage?
Answer: This question is prevalent in light of the recent wave of high profile Christian couples announcing the end of their marriages.
The divorce rate in the church is higher than in the secular world. When we, average joe and jane Believer, see Christian power couples crumpling we wonder if our marriages are doomed as well.
What does the Bible say about divorce? Under Moses' leadership, the men in Israel divorced their wives without cause. Moses instructed them to give their wives a written bill of divorce (Deuteronomy 24:1).
However when Jesus addressed this issue, He listed only one reason for divorce--marital unfaithfulness (Matthew 5:32).. Jesus said that any man who divorces his wife causes her to be an adulteress. If she remarries, she commits adultery (Matthew 5:32).
Jesus died for us. He fulfilled the law for us (Matthew 5:17) because no matter how we try, we cannot fulfill the entire law ourselves.
He took our generational curses, including divorce, on Himself. A generational curse is a problem that plagues every generation of our families. He took the curses on Himself, so we wouldn't have to endure them (Galatians 3:13).
Why does divorce happen? All divorces stem from selfishness on someone's part.
Adultery is an act of selfishness. We meet our needs at the expense of our families and spouses. Perhaps even at the expense of the other person's spouse and family too.
Abuse is selfish. It is finding an outlet for our anger and frustration by controlling and physically harming another human being.
Other selfish reasons include getting a divorce because we argue a lot or because we fell out of love. These reasons are all about us and how we feel. We need to do everything we can to work through our problems before considering divorce.
What are the Biblical reasons for divorce?
Most people only cite one reason why a couple can divorce, according to the Bible (Matthew 5:32).. This is, of course, marital unfaithfulness. If our spouse cheats on us with another person, the Bible allows for us to divorce.
Some couples have stayed together and worked through marital unfaithfulness because of the grace of God. If both parties are willing to work on the marriage, working through the unfaithfulness can make the marriage stronger.
The Bible also says if the unbeliever leaves, let him leave (I Corinthians 7:15). In the case of being married to unbelievers, if they leave, we should let them go.
Most people say that if a woman is being physically abused by her husband that she must stay there because according to the Bible, it is not a reason to get divorced. I don't believe this is true.
Let's go to Malachi 2:16 (AMP) where it says that God hates divorce and marital separation and him who covers his garment (his wife) with violence.
It is not a separate scripture. God said "and." The word "and" is a conjunction. It means in addition to. God hates divorce in addition to marital separation in addition to a man covering his wife with violence.
I encountered another reason some time ago. A person married a man, who she thought was a good guy, only to find out he was married.
According to her state, in order to get her "marriage" off the books, she had to seek an annulment even though her marriage wasn't legal or valid. I don't believe God expects you to stay with a man who is already married to someone else.
If we are already divorced, what should we do?
The first thing we must do is repent because divorce is sin (I John 1:9). Once we have repented, we need to receive God's forgiveness. It is ours for the taking. The moment we repent, God forgives us. He remembers our sin no more (Isaiah 43:25).
Through God, there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). We can't let other well-meaning Believers talk us into believing God hates us and is bringing judgment on us because we are divorced. We are no longer under the law. We are under grace (Romans 6:14).
As long as we have repented, we can remarry if God wants us to. We should seek God's plan for us. It is important for us to take time every day to sit quietly and ask God what He wants us to do with our lives. Then we must listen. We may see a picture, we might see words or we might hear God speak to our spirits.
If God wants us to remarry, we need to obey. If He wants to put our previous marriage back together, again we must obey. We have to give up our will for God's. God's plans for our lives are already blessed. Ours aren't.
Annagail Lynes is a pharmacy technician, certified life coach and ordained minister. She is helping people move forward after trauma by helping them discover their purpose. Follow her blog at 316counseling.com
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