By Dena Johnson Martin, Crosswalk.com
I am often accused of heresy and false teachings because I am pro-divorce.
The truth is, I couldn't be more anti-divorce. I honestly don’t know anyone who has suffered the unimaginable pain of divorce who is truly pro-divorce.
I am staunchly anti-divorce and unapologetically pro-divorced people.
I hear all the time how God hates divorce, how divorce breaks a covenant God created…and I completely agree.
Malachi 2:14-16 speaks of the pain of divorce, how the abuse and devastation caused by divorce breaks the heart of God. If we take this at face value, we could interpret the scripture to mean God never allows divorce. However, if we read carefully, we find it’s the unfaithfulness of a spouse that breaks God’s heart. It’s the rampant sin and abuse that He hates.
It’s the oppression of one spouse heaped upon another that angers God.
It’s not the legal ending of a marriage (divorce) that He hates, but it’s the sin and abuse that often happens within the realm of marriage that He hates.
We often hear that financial problems or incompatibility are the number one causes of divorce. We hear about how easy it is for two people to end their marriage. We hear how our culture has a throw-away mentality when it comes to marriage. While I am certain there are people who deal with these issues, I have yet to receive a single email from anyone who had these issues.
Instead, I repeatedly hear from women and men who are suffering abuse, adultery, and addiction within the bonds of their marriage. I hear from Christians who are desperate to save their marriage, who have fought valiantly only to have their spouse walk away. I hear from those who have suffered for years because good Christians keep praying and hoping and never give up.
And in the process, they’ve come to believe that being abused is the cross they must pay to be a good Christian.
I can’t find anywhere in scripture where God called us to allow others to abuse us. Instead, He called us to live a life of freedom. He called us a life of healing and wholeness. He called us to a great purpose for which He created us.
If we are wasting away in an abusive marriage where we are forbidden to live the life to which we are called, how does that mesh with scripture?
Didn’t God call us to love and serve the oppressed? Does that not apply to the divorced person who has suffered unthinkable evils? Shouldn’t we love the single mom struggling to provide for her kids just as we are called to love the orphan and widow?
I’m not sure where we as a culture decided that the person who has suffered the pain and devastation of divorce is somehow less worthy of the love and forgiveness of our Savior. That’s certainly not a concept I can find in scripture. In fact, I see Him reaching out to the lonely and harassed and oppressed—while reserving His harshest words for the arrogant religious teachers who would look down in judgement on those who had somehow been abused and oppressed.
“There are six things the Lord hates— no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.” Proverbs 6:16-19 NLT
I’ve said it before and I will say it again: God hates divorce because of the pain and devastation it causes His children. He hates the actions that lead to divorce. He hates the haughty arrogance of religious people who would condemn an innocent spouse to a life of pain and abuse because his/her spouse has chosen the world over His way.
But He loves divorced people more than we will ever understand! He longs to take our pain and leverage it for our good and His glory. He wants to use the pain in our lives to mold us into His image. He wants to purify our hearts through the pain and create a compassion we never knew could exist. He wants to draw us into an intimate relationship with Him that transforms our hearts and minds and lives.
And He calls us to nothing less. We are called to love those who are broken, to comfort them with the comfort we have received. We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ to those who are most in need of His kindness.
Divorce will always break my heart...just as it breaks my Father’s heart. And I will never apologize for being pro-divorced people.