Monday, May 23, 2011

"I want a divorce."

Those icy words are filled with pain - rejection, failure, hurt, anger, frustration, disrespect, fear, guilt, and a host of other emotions.  Although more readily accepted today than it was in the past, the sting of a broken marriage affects more than the immediate couple - it ripples through the children, the family, friends and churches. Those who are involved wonder if anyone really understands what is happening to them.

The good news is that God understands.  David Instone-Brewer in Divorce and Remarriage in the Church has given us solid Biblical exegesis on the subject through his thorough study of both Biblical culture and language.  He calls God the "reluctant divorcee."  God had kept all of His marriage vows: He loved Judah, gave her food and clothing, and was faithful to her.  In contrast, Judah had broken all of her marriage vows - she committed adultery with idols (Ezekiel 16:15); gave her idols the food God had given her (Ezekiel 16:19); and decorated her idols with the clothing and jewels that God had given her to honor her (Ezekiel 16:16-19).

God warned Judah that He had already divorced Israel for these same sins (Ezekiel 23:9).  Jeremiah 3:8 says, "I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of her adulteries."  God had acted in a forgiving and patient manner - He did not divorce her immediately and gave her many chances to repent. But, she refused and God became a divorcee.

Now we know why God "hates divorce" (Malachi 2:16).  He knows from personal experience how much pain results from it.  God never criticizes the legal process of divorce nor the person who carries it out - if He did, he would criticize Himself!  God hates the breaking of the marriage vows that results in divorce, because a marriage is ended by the person who breaks the marriage vows - not the one who decides to end the marriage contract by enacting a divorce.

There is much to learn in future posts about the multiple Biblical reasons for divorce.  However, it is first important to know that if you are in any of the stages of divorce, God, as a fellow divorcee, understands the pain that you experience.  Feel free to pour out that pain to Him; He listens and understands without criticizing.

As a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, I am grateful that God decided to marry again.
            Privileged to be a part of the "Bride of Christ."    ~   Bob

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