Luke 16:18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”
There is an epidemic that is prevalent in the world’s system, but has invaded the church and it is the issue of divorce. In America and rapidly spreading around the world, people are making it easier and easier to get divorced. We claim irreconcilable differences, we declare marital unfaithfulness and we even shout abuse, as some of the many reasons, why we have given ourselves permission to get divorced. Today’s culture has created a movement of divorce, not seeing the after effects that are in its wake. Children are left hurting, lost and confused; husbands and wives are living with incredible pain, anger and disillusionment; and society is eroding because our families are breaking down.
As Christians we are notorious for saying, well that was the Old Testament, so that does not apply to us, we are New Testament people, but this passage about divorce is not noted just once but many times in the New Testament. Jesus was very clear on His stance as it pertained to divorce, yet we are being swept up in a cultural revolution that has made divorce common place.
Culture is a powerful force in people’s lives, it affects the way we think, the way we process information and the way we read our bibles. Living in Malaysia for 9 years, I realized that their attitude about divorce is very different than it is in America. They do not broadcast divorce as something they want others to know about. It is a shameful thing to be divorced in Malaysia and other countries around the world. So, people stay married, because they made a covenant agreement before God and others to do it. No, it is not always romance and fun, it is not always easy, nor is it without pain. However, whoever told you being married was going to be easy.
Many people are choosing not to get married nowadays, because they are children of divorce and they do not want to go through what they saw their parents go through. And this is true in other countries as well. As American media of romance and glee fill the airwaves in other countries, young adults are wanting a love that is very hard to find. So, many are deciding to stay single rather than live unhappy all the days of their lives.
So with the negative effects of divorce as one of the many reasons why Jesus would command us not to get divorced, there are many other reasons why He was against divorce. One being, how marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. The Lord has made a covenant with us as His church to never leave us or forsake us and marriage is the earthly picture of the biblical understanding of covenant, commitment and perseverance. The Lord will never leave us or forsake us and we are to have the same attitude toward each other.
Divorce was and is to be a shameful thing, not to shame the people who are getting divorced, but to detour others from doing the same thing. When divorce is acceptable, many people do it because they see no consequences from society for their actions. But as the church, divorce is to be a shameful thing, so we make it our last resort, not one of many options. As the church we should have the healthiest, happiest, most loving relationships the world has ever seen. As husbands we are called to lay down our lives for our wives; as wives we are called to submit to our husbands, if we as men and women would be who God has commanded us to be as husbands and wives, we would show the world why Christianity the only way, the only truth and the only life. When we look just like the world, there is really nothing for them to look up to.
If you have been divorced or come from a divorced family, I know this is a painful topic. However, it is not about where you have been, but about where you are going and I want to see marriages going in the direction of biblical standards and mandates. It is time we as the church grow up and obey the word of God. Divorce is not something Jesus would endorse, and I do not think we should either. We throw this word around very flippantly, when we are mad, hurt, or tired. It is time for the church to take back what a biblical marriage is, one that does what it says it will do. Through sickness and health, riches and poverty, good times and bad times. We need a little less talk and lot more action. Come on church, God’s grace empowers us to succeed in this area. Let us arise and shine, so God gets the glory.