Divorce: A Biblical Perspective

Once upon a time

I am divorced.

It is not the unpardonable sin, despite the theology of many churches. A sad example of how unforgiving many Christians can be about this issue is seen in the calling of a dear friend of mine.

“Sam” had been called into the ministry. With all of his being, he wanted to be a pastor. However, prior to his conversion, his first wife left him for another man. Close to suicide, Sam became a Christian and his sins were forgiven.

Apparently, all was forgiven but his divorce. He attended a neighborhood church with his new wife. There, he was flatly informed he could not preach or be involved in what they called ministry because of his pre-salvation divorce.

In a similar manner, one Baptist minisJesus Christ.
ter told me I could never remarry even though my divorce came before my acceptance of

And so I wonder. Had Sam or I murdered our cheating spouses and done our time, could we remarry? Could we minister? Is murder a more tolerable sin than ending up in an abusive relationship or with a philandering spouse and having the dignity to leave? Must divorced people be punished for all time for a sin not their own?

Even if a person destroys his or her own marriage and truly repents, should the punishment go on in perpetuity?

I, in no way, cavalierly endorse the end of a marriage. But marriage takes two people.

Then, we need to define divorce. When Michal scorned David, he never went in to her again–but never divorced her. Even in New Testament times, men could marry more than one woman, so could a Biblical divorce be the ending of support for the woman? Moses and the law allowed for it and accepted a remarriage. In those days, survival was nearly impossible for a single woman without a husband.

But what about people who stay married, live in the same house, but essentially have nothing to do with each other. Haven’t they already divorced their spouses?

We do have explicit exceptions given in the New Testament, but the culture of the times would have understood some of the implicit issues.

Over the next few weeks, I’d like to explore divorce, remarriage, and most importantly, what does it mean to be a Christian couple?

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