DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER

November 24, 2015

sugar coating

So just because supposedly 50% of marriages end in divorce (that’s not a true figure, it’s down to 43% and you have to take into consideration that 20% are the same persons divorcing over and over).

And yes almost everybody you know is divorced or seems like it, we have to do two things in this devotion, 1, not lower God’s standards and 2, not make the divorced feel guilty or ashamed.

Divorce, the legal dissolution of marriage, is a departure from what God intended and is not endorsed by Scripture except under limited conditions.  Divorce is the result of sin in the lives of one or both of the partners.  More often than not, both are to blame to some degree.  Pride and selfishness often contribute to the conditions that lead to divorce.

Divorce is often the product of inflexible wills.  “Jesus replied, Moses permitted you to divorce  your wives because your hearts were hard.  But it was not this way from the beginning” (Matthew 19:8, NIV). It was not God’s original design for marriage.

No manipulation of Scripture or rationalization makes divorce right.  Scripture states:

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, NIV).

The Apostle Paul wrote: “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): a wife must not separate form her husband . .  And a husband must not divorce his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:10, NIV).

“Has not the Lord mad them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. . . So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. ‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel” (Malachi 2:15,16, NIV).

Limited Conditions Under Which Divorce May be Permitted:

  1. When a spouse is guilty of sexual immorality such as adultery or homosexuality and has no intention of repenting or seeking God’s forgiveness, or forsaking his or her sin and living in faithfulness to his or her spouse. (See Matthew 19:9.)

  2. When one partner deserts the other, especially when an unbelieving partner deserts a Christian spouse. (See 1 Corinthians 7:15.)

If someone is married and divorced before coming to Christ, he should continue on as he is.  If the person has remarried, he should attempt to make a successful second marriage.  Leaving the second spouse to return to the first would be wrong.  Two wrongs never make a right!

Having an unbelieving spouse in not ground for divorce.  To the contrary, the Christian spouse is encourage to “live in peace” with the unbelieving partner, with the goal of winning him to faith in Christ. (See 1 Corinthians 7:12-16.)

Count the Cost of Such Action:

  1. Is it displeasing to God? (See Malachi 2:15,16.)

  2. Will it disrupt the continuity of life and adversely affect other people: Children, parents, extended families?

  3. Will really solve any problems, or will it rather create a whole range of new ones? Divorce is an emotionally traumatic experience.

Exhaust Every Option in Search for Solutions:

  1. Attempt to work things out on a personal level in all humility and with a forgiving spirit. (See Matthew 18:21, 22.)

  1. Submit to serious counseling with a Christian marriage counselor or a qualified pastor.

  2. If necessary, experiment with a trail separation while searching for a redemptive solution. In a case of physical or psychological abuse, homosexuality, drunkenness, drugs, etc., a separation might be advisable.

No problems are solved by lowering God’s standards of lifelong marital fidelity (James 1:25). Satan, ever the destroyer, liar, thief, and deceiver, tries to convince some that problems will be resolved through marriage breakup (John 8:44; 1 Pet. 5:8).

Matthew 193b-9

“Do you permit divorce?” they asked,

“Don’t you read the Scriptures?” he replied. “In them it is written that at the beginning God created man and woman, and that a man should leave his father and mother, and be forever united to his wife.  The two shall become one-no longer two, but one! And no man may divorce what God has joined together.”

“Then, why,” they asked, “did Moses say a man may divorce his wife by merely writing her a letter of dismissal?”

Jesus replied, “Moses did that in recognition of your hard and evil hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended.  And I tell you this, that anyone who divorces his wife, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery.”

1 Corinthians 7:10-15

Now for those who are married I have a command, not just a suggestion. And it is not a command from me, for this is what the Lord himself has said: A wife must not leave her husband. But if she is separated from him, let her remain single or else go back to him.  And the husband must not divorce his wife.

Here I want to add some suggestions of my own. These are not direct commands from the Lord, but they seem right to me: if a Christian has a wife who is not a Christian, but she wants to stay with him anyway, he must not leave her or divorce her.  And if a Christian woman has a husband who isn’t Christian, and he wants her to stay with him, she must not leave him.  For perhaps the husband who isn’t a Christian may become a Christian with the help of her Christian wife.  And the wife who isn’t a Christian may become a Christian with the help of her Christian husband.  Otherwise, if the family separates, the children might never come to know the Lord; whereas a united family may, in God’s plan, result in the children’s salvation.

But if the husband or wife who isn’t a Christian is eager to leave, it is permitted. In such cases the Christian husband or wife should not insist that the other stay, for God wants his children to live in peace and harmony.

Seems pretty tough doesn’t it, yet we’ve said it before, being a Christian is not for sissies. When Jesus came he said beforehand it was sinful to commit adultery, now that I’m here I want to tell you just thinking about it is a sin.

Having performed hundreds of marriages and the majority have stayed married, making sure the love and commitment is real goes a long way in lowering the divorce rate, plus knowing your pastor will kick you’re a$$ for fooling around does have merit. We double date with engaged couples, we ask them to stop having sex, the young man must attend sessions and hang out with successfully married men, the same for the young women. Six months (not weeks) of premarital counseling. The church works as hard as the couple.

In a marriage of a believer and an unbeliever, the choice of divorce should be left up to the unbeliever. (which we won’t marry folks in that case, we don’t marry unbelievers, nor do we marry unequally yoked believers ) If the unbeliever is the one who has asked for help, share Jesus.  Remember that in some cases a believer may be helping to drive away the unbeliever, and thus committing sin.  For either person asking whether divorce should be sought: it should be discouraged. Stress that the far-reaching consequences of divorce are too great to consider only oneself. Urge partners to consider their children: their futures and their present needs. Emphasize that sacrifices must be made.  Stress belief that God will provide the love which can overrule all obstacles to one-ness- including pride, self-seeking, self-serving provoking one another.  Urge both to forgive and learn to love one another.  Pray with both parties.  Encourage partners to seek fellowship and counsel in a local church that is Christ-centered and clearly teaches the Bible

  1. God rebuked the Isarleites for the sin of divorce and commanded them to be faithful to their covenant vows.

Mal. 2:13-16.

  1. Mal. 2:16. “I hate divorce,” says the LORD GOD of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.

  2. Jesus says: No divorce, except in the case of adultery.

Matt. 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 marital unfaithfulness, causes her to commit adultery, and anyone who marries a woman so divorced commits adultery.

Matt. 19:3-9.

Matt. 19:4-6. “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”

  1. Husband and wife are bound together until death separates them.

Rom. 7:1-3. Do you know, brothers – for I am speaking to men who know the law- that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, she is called and adulteress.  But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress,  even though she marries another man.

  1. Mosaic law speaks of a bill of divorcement.

Deut. 24:1-4.

  1. A believer may not initiate a divorce from an unbelieving spouse.

1 Cor. 7:10-16.

  1. If the unbelieving spouse wants to depart, he or she may do so.

1 Cor. 7:15. If the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances.

  1. The believing spouse must seek reconciliation when trouble arises.

Rom 12:18. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Matt. 5:23-24. If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Matt. 18:15-18. If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that “every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

We do understand that divorce happens and the church wants to help provide healing and acceptance, the divorced person church is not a second class person, but we will not compromise the plan God has for marriage.

It is difficult to describe the sense of shock, hurt, bewilderment, emptiness, anger, rejection, isolation, and loss of self-worth felt when someone has been deserted or divorced after many years of marriage.  The person wonders:

Can this really be happening to me? How could he do this to me? Where did I fail? What could I have done differently? The most important question is what do I do now?

In spite of the trauma, the person must be helped to realize that life goes on.  The fact of the divorce must be accepted; he is now single and must face the future as such.  It is futile to continually dredge up the past, reliving it.  Fact will not change by self-torturing questions. It is entirely possible that he couldn’t have done anything differently to save the marriage.

An emotionally healthy person will go on and grow with the present.  The Apostle Paul gives the example: “…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto (toward) those things which are before. . .” (Philippians 3:13, KJV). He must look at the experience as transitional, as a time to make adjustments, of expanding personality through reading, reflection and building or re-building friendships which will help him expand and grow.

If the person needs professional counseling during the transition, he should look for a qualified pastor or a Christian psychiatrist or psychologist who can deal with the problems in the light of Scripture.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and future.”    Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.  When I awake, I am still with you.”

Psalm 139:17,18, NIV

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Psalm 16:11, NIV

“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint,  and I know I will not be put to shame.”            Isaiah 50:7, NIV

2 Responses to “DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER”

  1. Mon Ange said

    Marriage is precious. Is created for our happiness, intimacy, pleasure, wellness and pro-creation.

  2. thank you for your response, and as someone that has been married 43 years I agree. also the statistics don’t take into the fact that it seems like the same % is getting married and divorced over and over again. thank God for those that take their vows before God seriously

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