When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” Mark 10, verses 10-12.
Before moving on from the very uncomfortable subject of divorce, there are a few things more that need to be said. “What if I’m divorced? What if I’m the one who’s been wronged? I believe in this Jesus but this all seems so “judgy” and typical of what’s so publicly wrong with Christians today. If I’m divorced, am I excluded from Jesus’ love?”
A couple of years ago, my wife and I hosted a bible study. A few of the participants were divorced, and when the subject of divorce came up, we all got into a testy discussion. One friend made the point that nobody who hadn’t gone through the trauma of divorce could fully understand how torturous it really was. Perhaps he did indeed have a point, especially when discussing the issue with people who had endured up’s and down’s in their marriages but hadn’t all ended them in divorce. Perhaps, too, his point was no more valid than that of the person who claimed that, just because a person wasn’t of X skin color they couldn’t possibly understand what it felt like to be of Y skin color.
But before swinging too far to either pole, let’s not forget a few basic truths about Christianity. First, Christians don’t have a corner on morality; we’re no better than any other sinners. Also, Christians don’t commit ‘better’ sins than other sinners; mine are as scarlet as Ted Bundy’s, Bill Clinton’s, or yours. Then, no one sin is worse than any other. Even a small rebellion is still a rebellion in the eyes of a just God. Finally, if you’re divorced, you may just have good reason. It isn’t my place or right to judge your situation any more than you should someone else’s.
All this being true, the fact of good Christians getting divorced doesn’t legitimize divorce overall. The Bible doesn’t do that. While Christ’s words don’t fully prohibit divorce, they never endorse it. Talk with any divorced couple and they tell you that it wasn’t what they wanted at the start of the marriage. Living through a breaking marriage or past a broken one doesn’t exclude us from God’s grace nor does it make our sins worse than those who are married. What matters more than any of these things is Christ. Anything else doesn’t really measure up.
If you’re divorced or going through a divorce, I love you. I’m no better than you. Your life has ended up in a place where I don’t believe you ever intended to be. My heart goes out to you, and I hope I’m speaking for the vast majority of believers in saying that. I hope, too, that you find comfort in the words of our Savior. Scripture says what it says about divorce, both the parts where Jesus condones it and the parts where He condemns it. I’m simply repeating what it says. In the end, when you’re standing in front of Jesus and He asks you “do you believe in Me”, your answer of yes or no will mean as much as the answer of the couple who were married for sixty years. It’s not about me or sanctimonious believers: it’s about Jesus and His eternity that matters most.
Lord, watch over those going through marital troubles and divorce.
Read Mark 10, verses 13-16.