Saturday, April 21, 2012

Christian Divorce - part 1

*disclaimer* I am not divorced, nor am I getting divorced. nor am I a trained theologian. these are just some of my thoughts

I was raised in a very conservative Christian home. We attended very conservative churches.

One of the things I was taught growing up is that divorce is wrong. Period.

Growing up, the only family member I knew that was divorced was one of my great aunts. Her ex-husband had been abusive. That's about all I know.

She never re-married. Never really talked about it. From what I understand it was primarily because of verses in the Bible that say if your spouse is still living, and you "lie" with another, you are committing adultery.

I suppose she divorced him legally to protect herself, but spiritually she saw that they were still married? It's a common belief among certain churches.

The next time the topic of divorce came up in my life was in my teenage years, as my older sister was going thru a divorce. Her husband had had an affair, struggled with pornography, (insert lots of other stuff), and (if memory serves) while she struggled to work things out, he asked for the divorce.

She struggled a lot during that time, and I'm sure part of the reason was because not only did her church teach against divorce, she also received "talks" from her own mother, and grandmother, about why divorce was wrong.

It was during her own study that she came across this verse: 

It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.    -- Matthew 5:31-32

That phrase "saving for the cause of fornication" - this is what we call a Biblically justified divorce.

But I always struggled with another cause for divorce, my great aunt's, abuse. I had a hard time believing my God would ask someone to stay in a truly abusive marriage. That just didn't make sense to me, and seemed to contradict other parts of the Bible.

And then in my early 20s I met a friend who was attempting to divorce her husband, who had abandoned her & their son. And by "abandoned", I mean abruptly left them and moved several states away. It took her years to locate said husband so she could file the papers. Would God really hold her responsible for a marriage in which the other spouse had quite literally left the marriage?

Faith and religious beliefs are a journey for me, and I can tell you I usually know I've found my answer, when I have peace about a subject; when it no longer causes internal conflict, "For God is not the author of confusion..."    -- I Corinthians 14:33a

And one day, in my late 20s, I heard a message about divorce that made a whole lot of sense, not just logically, but Biblically.

I wish I had taken (or could find) better notes.

The sermon was delivered by the pastor of the church we attended at the time, and in that sermon he revealed that there were three Biblically justified reasons for divorce: Adultery, Abuse, and Abandonment.

As he expounded on each, providing Scriptures for each, I felt the pieces of the puzzle come together. And I've not struggled with this topic ever since.

Again, I'm not a theologian. And I know there are plenty of people who disagree with me, on both sides - that there are more reasons for divorce than just those three, and that there is no justified reason for divorce.

But... these are my thoughts, and until I find greater Biblical cause to change my thoughts, it's safe to say they are my beliefs on the topic.

As always, thanks for checking in!


Jess said...

I absolutely agree with you. I hate the idea of divorce, and it makes me sad that we live in a world where there are marriages that last about a month. And that's acceptable - which is pathetic.

I agree, I don't think that God wants us to be abused, neglicted, unhappy, or to deal with an unfaithful spouse. I'm sure therse other reasons im over looking, but I think you're right. Unless there are those reasons, I believe that any marriage can be saved. But it takes an awful lot of work.

areyoukiddingme said...

In my mom's era, divorce was so taboo that she was not allowed to talk to cousins who lived across the street due to divorce in their family. Kind of ridiculous, I think.

I'm not much for requiring biblical support for anything - I'm not much for organized religion at all. But I do believe that marriage is an extremely serious business and you should be absolutely sure before you enter into it. And divorce should be the absolute last resort.

Candance said...

I bet we were raised the same religion! Divorce sucks, but it does happen and even though I'm not religious, I think God loves us enough he wouldn't want us to be miserable.

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