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The Fault of Divorce

The Christian faith is not built on legalism, however, there is one point on which the Bible is unequivocally clear: The Lord abhors divorce.

Malachi 2:16 could hardly word it in stronger terms when it says, “‘The man who hates and divorces his wife,’says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘does violence to the one he should protect.’” While women are no longer as absolutely dependent on their husbands as they were, the Lord’s commands against divorce are stark.

Jesus took it further when he said in Matthew 5:31-32

“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.’”

Unfortunately, divorce has become all too cheap in the United States with the promulgation of “no fault”divorce laws in the 1960s and the 1970s. [1]

This is not to say that divorce is never permissible within a Christian framework. It is merely a last resort and should not be so common as it is today. Although divorce rates have dropped from the peak rate of 50% to 40%, this is still a far higher number than is ideal. [2]

Psychology Today, a popular internet publication of secular advice, recently published a deeply sarcastic article on divorce and religion. Although not everything in the article is at odds with the biblical view of marriage, its tone is dismissive, offensive, and ignorant:

The opening paragraph ignores the God-given sanctity of marriage (Mark 10:6-9), instead, it portrays marriage as merely a human fiction: “Many people believe marriage is sacred. Because of this belief, they are willing to endure significant discomfort in order to ‘save the relationship,’as if it were a baby in a burning building rather than a construct of what two humans (keyword: “humans”) have built together.” [3]

Then, the author, who describes themselves as a “sexual futurist,”goes on to mock the seriousness with which Christians take the possibility of being punished for disobeying the will of God (Romans 6:23): “For those among us who have really, really tried to save our marriage and refuse to live in misery, divorce is a remedy—a medicine if you will. Sometimes the medicine is strong and can have unpleasant side effects: excommunication, lawyer fees, custody battles, lifestyle disruptions, and, for some, burning in hell for all eternity (oh, dear).”

Finally, the coup de grace is the second to last paragraph in which the author demeans the idea of genuine faith:

“Marriage, and any partnership of a marital nature, is not sacred, and despite what anyone or any religion says, you—yes, you—get to say, ‘Hey! I didn't sign up for this, and I have a right to a life with sex, sobriety, and economic security without financial Armageddon [sic], religious mania, or any other self-destructive drama.’”

It seems the author has never read Isaiah 55:8-9:

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’”

It is crucial to understand that these are the kinds of websites to which people turn to get relationship advice. The average person accepts this kind of interpretation of the world as fact and will be far more likely to consult articles like this than a Christian counselor and God’s Word.

This is the kind of advancing secularism that too often controls the conversation surrounding Biblical values. Christians must learn to deal with attitudes like this and always test them against the immutable truths in God’s Word.

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


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