The term “divorced Christian” may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s a reality for many Christians. Often, people poorly assume that Christians who have divorced haven’t done everything they can to save their marriages, and if they had done more, their marriage would have been salvaged. They believe that people take the easy route by divorcing. But the reality is marriages aren’t exempt from the destruction of this world, even if two faithful Christians are committed to it. People who go through divorce are not worse or less faithful than those who don’t. Most of us have been in relationships that have fallen apart and destroyed the lives of the people we care about the most. That doesn’t cause God to love us any less.
When we see a marriage falling apart, it is not a reminder of some judgment we should be placing on that couple or person but rather the brokenness we find in our own world and the grace of God to bring new life out of it. In 2 Corinthians 5:1-4, Paul writes, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead of our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” If you’re in the midst of a divorce, consider Paul’s words. While he is tackling the topic of Christian hope beyond the grave, it also speaks to the decay of outer self and the renewal of the inner self. Those who face physical hardship and suffering including divorce, are assured that there is life beyond those circumstances.
Many Christians believe that if you’re at a point where you’re considering divorce, it’s already too late. This isn’t true. Marriages that seem destined for divorce can be transformed. Broken couples can turn towards God and find the will to renew their commitment to each other and work at restoration. It’s not too late to reach out for help. You can find a marriage counselor to guide you through this period. This person not only cares about your marriage, but also desires to help you see it restored. Counseling is where the healing begins.
Unfortunately, because so many Christians don’t want to dishonor God by getting divorce, there is often the misconception that a destructive marriage is better than getting a divorce. The thought is that somehow co-existing in the same place makes a marriage. However, just because you’re co-existing doesn’t mean that your marriage is glorifying God. In fact, a broken marriage is not what God intended for you. You should not co-exist in a marriage that is poisonous, healthy or potentially dangerous for the sake of not divorcing. What God ultimately desires is for you to be in a marriage that is glorifying Him. You should be taking every necessary step to honor this. The first step is reaching out for help when things are not going right in your marriage.
While marriage takes two people being committed to God and one another, divorce only takes one hard heart. There are many judgmental Christians out here who are willing to quickly point out failures, even to those who are hurting deeply. Some of us are in that category too. It’s important that we recognize that we are all sinners and in desperate need of a Savior. But we are also sinners who are saved by grace. Divorce is no more a sin than pride, lying or greed. Divorce is no greater a sin than idolatry. Divorce is no more a sin than gluttony or drunkenness. We so often pick at the splinter in someone else’s eye without looking at the log in our own. If we are in tune with what God and allowing the Holy Spirit to do His job of convicting us of sin, we may be shocked by what He sees.
If you have been through a divorce, know that God has a special plan for your life. Sometimes, our greatest growth comes out of our seasons in the wilderness where we have encountered brokenness, destruction and suffering. If you are in the wilderness right now suffering through divorce, know that God is at work in your life. Turn to a counselor, a support group and compassionate friends who care about you and can guide you on this journey. Yes, marriage and divorce are important to the body of Christ, but the greatest commandments are to love God and love one another. Love truly reflects God. Instead of thinking that you are being condemned by God, know that we worship a God who has not left us alone, but who will be there to walk beside us during our seasons of struggle.