Nearly more than half of marriages in America end up in divorce. Whether this statistics is true or not, the reality of divorce is very real and cannot be denied. We can see it in television, newspapers, and even maybe in your local church congregation. This leads us to a vital question, is it okay for Christians to divorce?
God hates divorce
The prophet Malachi puts it very straight to the point. Malachi 2:16 states;
“For the Lord God of Israel says that HE HATES DIVORCE, for it covers one’s garment with violence,” says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously.”
It is plain and simple that God hates divorce and for a very good reason. Children coming from dysfunctional family have the tendency to be a burden to the society. They are involved in a vicious cycle of breeding more dysfunctional families in the future.
In addition to this, married couples who divorce become financially unstable unless both parties are exceptionally rich. Married couples also undergo a tremendous emotional pain and lose a sense of direction in life.
Obviously, there are many negative effects of divorce both in personal and national level. Thus, it is no great wonder why God HATES divorce.
What about Moses permitting divorce?
As we look at the scripture, we can see that Moses permitted divorce. In fact, most “self-professing Christians” will turn to Moses to back up their decision. But should this be the battle cry of many divorced Christians?
Jesus, our great Master and Lord, addressed this very crucial issue. Let’s read Matthew 19:3-9.
“Some Pharisees came to him in order to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?” He answered them, “Haven’t you read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘That is why a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must never separate.”
They asked him, “Why, then, did Moses order us ‘to give a certificate of divorce and divorce her’?” He told them, “It was because of your HARDNESS OF HEART THAT MOSES ALLOWED YOU TO DIVORCE your wives. But from the beginning it was not this way. I tell you that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
In this passage we can sift out 3 vital truths about divorce:
1. It is not God’s intention that man should divorce. God’s design of marriage is a life-long commitment. It is God’s intention that the human marriage covenant will exemplify God’s love to His future bride, the Church. The fault is never on God, but the fault rest on the PEOPLE. Because of the hardness of the heart of people that Moses allowed to divorce.
2. Sexual Immorality is the only ground for divorce. Anyone cannot simply resort to divorce because the “spark” and “excitement” has gone out from their marriage. If there is any reason for divorce, it should be sexual immorality. Other than that, nothing else. Nevertheless, I believe, that Jesus still give a space for reconciliation between the two persons if they are willing to salvage the marriage.
3. If a divorced man marries another, he commits adultery. Maybe, if this statement of Jesus is followed today, most married couple will think twice before they have a divorce. Since they cannot marry again without committing adultery, they will seek to straighten out their married life whatever the cost.
To answer the question is it okay for a Christian to divorce, the plain and simple answer is NO. Divorce should never be an option for Christians and even to non-Christians as well. Divorce comes with a great price that you might not want to pay if you try to weigh things. Divorce is not only destructive to the married couple, but also to all the people around them.
Preventing marriage from ending to divorce starts right at the beginning of seeking a spouse. Every couple should actively look for ways to salvage their marriage. There are many ways to recapture the romance when it is gone. Make God the center of your relationship and seek counsel before anything else.