Should Christians Justify a Divorce?

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Matthew 1:19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

If you actually read every part of the Bible, not just the parts you like to read, then research what is said about divorce. Above we find that Jesus was almost born fatherless, in the flesh that is, but an angel appeared and corrected the thoughts of Joseph. I know that Joseph had “good intentions” and if God the Father was interested in our “good intentions” then wouldn’t He allow Joseph to do what he wanted? It seems, once again, that God’s plans are instructed by the Holy Spirit for a reason and purpose unbeknownst to man.

Matthew 5:31 "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery."

What is being said here, to clarify Jewish law versus what Jesus was saying, is that the only reason a husband is allowed to divorce his wife is for adultery. In the previous three verses Jesus was also speaking of lust, adultery and sins of the flesh. Jesus spoke very clearly and was always specific with how He interpreted the law for men. Verse 31 was referring to how nonchalant the Pharisees thought of divorce in that time period. So by explaining in verse 27, that we should not commit adultery, He made a parallel connection for verse 32. Jesus was saying in verse 32 that if you divorce your wife, for anything other than adultery, then you are forcing her to commit adultery. Meaning the husband was also making himself guilty of breaking the same law. Therefore he was made guilty by divorcing for any reason of his own, just like the Pharisees allowed. Jesus again was more than clear and more than fair by saying this. So again, the will of Jesus was against divorce for any reason, other than adultery, in a marriage. Every other reason is against His commandments.

Mark 10:2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" 3 "What did Moses command you?" he replied. 4 They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away." 5 "It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied. 6 "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 7 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” 10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

The scripture is so connected isn’t it? Learn to read it in such a connected manner, it helps I promise. If you are looking for marriage experts who put the "fun" in dysfunctional then check out The Brights. They save marriages with their testimony, God's Word and real life humor.

Here we see Jesus being tested, yet again, by the Pharisees on the subject of divorce. Did you see how Jesus responded to their hypocrisy and the explanation He gives? He first says that their hearts were hardened. What does that mean?

divorce is not Gods willIt was, not because it was right in its own nature, or according to the original will of God; but, because the Jews were such cruel, and angry men, that if this had not been permitted, some of them, that had wives not so agreeable to them, would have used them in a very inhuman manner, if not murdered them; and therefore to prevent further, and greater mischief, Moses indulged them with such a precept; (See Gill, under Commentaries, on Matthew 19:8). In Mosaic law it is stated, ``in Israel I have granted divorces, I have not granted divorces among the nations of the world. R. Chananiah, in the name of R. Phineas, observed, that in every other section it is written, the Lord of hosts, but here it is written, the God of Israel; to teach thee, that the holy, blessed God does not join his name to divorces, but in Israel only. R. Chayah Rabbah says, "the Gentiles have no divorces."''

So Moses made an exception for the wives of these cruel men, who had such vengeful hearts that they would beat or murder these women if they were not allowed to divorce. That sounds like mercy to me. Not an excuse for men and their hardened hearts, which still exist today.

In Genesis 2:18 we find this, the Lord says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” In English, the words help meet carry a different connotation than the Hebrew ‘ezer kanegdo'. An early meaning of the Hebrew word ‘ezer' could more correctly be aid. The second word in the phrase, 'kanegdo', has traditionally been translated as meet for or fit for or worthy of. God created Eve as an aid or helper worthy of Adam. Help meet should not carry the connotation that Eve was an assistant of lesser status, or less competence, than Adam. This leads into verses 7-9 in Matthew where in 19:5 it says a man will cleave to his wife. Cleave? Not a word we use right? But let’s search out what this means.

This is a picture of marital intimacy - the act of love that is never to involve anyone else. To “cleave” means “to adhere to, stick to, or join with.” It is a unique joining of two people into one entity. It means we do not quit when things are not going right. It includes talking things out, praying things through, being patient as you trust God to work in both of your hearts, being willing to admit when you are wrong and asking forgiveness, and seeking God's counsel regularly in His Word. This is only half way through my research and I’m not finding much support for divorce. Are you? Isn’t it interesting that you are confused, maybe by your own knowledge or carnal mind? You aren’t the only one. In verses 10-12, the disciples were so confused that they had to ask Jesus to explain it again. They were just there with Him as he spoke the words, just like you are here reading His Word, and both of you are still questioning Him. Have you not committed adultery against God before you were saved? Did He leave you?

How stubborn we are when it comes to hearing the truth from our Abba Father. Just remember that stubbornness can come from a hardened heart. Resist the lies in your head, resist the attacks on your mind from the enemy. Only he is confused and jealous of you, but he has fallen from Heaven and cannot return. Why else does he want to drag you into the pits with him? He does not have access to the Father like you have. Cry out to God, let His Spirit convict and comfort you into a peace beyond understanding. Pray and ask Him for guidance, He is with you right this instant, ready to listen. He will restore you, your spouse, your children, your life. He is in the business of fresh starts and can wipe away the past. What are you waiting for?

God never wants two married people to divorce. However, if they do, God does not inflict any punishment on either the husband or the wife. The divorce is penalty enough. It causes terrible trouble in the lives of both spouses as well as the children. Does it make any sense for God to allow murderers to re-marry, child molesters to remarry, drugs addicts to remarry, and those who have committed any type of horrible atrocity to remarry? However, if a man walks out on his wife and abandons her completely, or a wife walks out on her husband and abandons him completely, God says that person who was abandoned can never remarry, unless he or she can prove that his or her ex-spouse has committed adultery? The Bible does not uphold that teaching. It is a “doctrine of man” used by the organized “church” to punish its members. Jesus did not “punish” the woman taken in adultery. He just told her to “go and sin no more.” Jesus did not “punish” the woman at the well. He did not approve of her lifestyle, but He assigned no “penalty” to her. In both of these cases, the lifestyle that these women were pursuing, with its ultimate societal, personal, and spiritual consequences, was penalty enough. Any greater penalty would be vindictive on God’s part. God is not vindictive. But the organized “church,” a corporation organized by “man” and not God, is often vindictive in their doctrinal beliefs.

God does not punish. The word “punish” is not even in the Bible! Look at the original Greek. The word is “visit.” The translators translate the word “visit” as the word “punish” whenever they decide they want to make God look harsh. In these Bible passages, when God “visits” someone, sometimes it is for a reward and sometimes it is for chastening. The consequences are a result of the decision that the individual has made. If the result is trouble, it is meant to turn the person back to right-doing, as a parent chastens a child.  But God never punishes. We do it to ourselves by our decisions and our actions. Chastening turns a person back to right-doing. Punishment is vindictive. The word “chastening” is in the Bible. The word “punishment” is not.

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