A Christian Counselor

     DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
   According to the Scripture


Matthew 19:5,6... "and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh" So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."

Malachi 2:15b,16a... Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. For the Lord God hates divorce, for it covers one's garment with violence," says the Lord of hosts.

Marriage is a holy union, instituted by God, and not to be dissolved at the will of man. Therefore, divorce should not be taken lightly.

LOVE DEMANDS RECONCILIATION

O, that you desire to please the Lord
To do His will and stay in one accord
Uplift each other while you walk
Be gentle and courteous in your talk
Do encourage when one gets down
Showing a smile instead of a frown.

Take the blame, when you didn't do
Suffer in silence, when you don't have a clue
Whatever your partner's thoughts may be
For the Lord will reward the bended knee
When you stay humble and focused on Him
He'll work on your partner and give you a hymn.

You may think, you're going to be the loser
Even others will tell you, you need a soother
But don't give in to your weakening mind
Lean on the Lord, be towards Him inclined
He did institute your marriage, my dear friend
And He wants you to endure until the end.

Now, give it all over into the Father's hand
Forgive and forget the hurts in your land
Allow to restore the love of your life
His love is far greater, by which you survive
Reconciliation is His will for you both
Go back hand in hand to your marriage oath.

* * * * * * *
Copyright © Trudy Veerman

God hates divorce. In any circumstance reconciliation is preferred.
Any and all effort for reconciliation must be made.

The Lord can do the impossible, but He is still limited by our will. I have seen backslidden spouses who went with open eyes into adultery and other sexual sins, who were not willing to repent. After a while, they couldn't even come out of the mess, they became so entangled and their hearts hardened.

Must then a wife stay with such a husband or visa versa ? Must a sexual relationship continue with an adulterous spouse?

Matthew 19:9... And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, EXCEPT it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

The word "fornication" in the above scripture means sexual immorality, Greek word "porneia". Therefore, this could include other sexual offences besides adultery, such as homosexuality, internet sex, pornography, incest, indecent contact with others and the like. All these fall under marital unfaithfulness.

We must forgive each other, as the Lord forgives us. This does not mean that one will not suffer any consequences of the forgiven sin. The same as a robber who still may get a jail term, even after his sins have been forgiven. Also, the Lord says: "Your sins are forgiven, GO AND SIN NO MORE."

If an adulterous spouse repents and seeks forgiveness, the violated spouse must forgive, according to God's word. "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us." Still, the violated spouse has to make a choice to divorce or reconcile, for the marriage vows are already broken by adultery and/or fornication. If the innocent spouse sees fit to divorce the guilty partner, the guilty one should live in celibacy, thus not remarry as this would make the third party live in adultery. (Matthew 19:9). Although forgiven, if repented, the above are the consequences of sin. Sin has its bitter after-taste.

It is only permissible for the innocent or violated spouse to remarry. If the violated spouse has a hardening of heart and does not forgive the guilty spouse, let the elders of the Church reprimand and correct this spouse. However, forgiven or not forgiven, neither one gives permission for the guilty spouse to remarry.

The Lord's higher principle would be to reconcile after forgiveness, and to show love. Some spouses, who have greatly depended on their partner in the past, can never regain their trust after they have been let down by their adulterous spouse. Others just cannot continue a sexual relationship with a spouse who went to bed with someone else, even after forgiveness. Their decision then, made according to Matthew 19:9, is not a matter of unforgiveness, but of not being able to trust the spouse again, or to sexually accept him/her again.

The Bible clearly teaches us to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us, but God does not command to forget. Therefore, some are not able to reconcile with their spouse, although there is forgiveness. It may be difficult to forget, nevertheless, one may not hold a grudge against the fallen spouse, or have other motives not to reconcile. Neither may one allow themselves to brood upon past forgiven sins. There is a great difference between forgiving and forgetting. These do not necessarily have to go together. The Lord, only, is able to forget and put our sins in the sea of forgetfulness.

Psalm 103:10-12... He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

When a spouse continues in sin of adultery/fornication and does not repent, the violated spouse may divorce of course and remarry. God has judged adultery already as evil and sin, not we.

Sin separates us from God, and so does the lust of the flesh: sexual sins. Committed sin and addiction to sin cannot always be blamed on satan. We can make choices, but once we have allowed sin in, satan will reinforce this and add his trap. In the same manner, once we have rejected sin and satan, the Lord will add strength and power to His follower. WE CAN OVERCOME, and basically it is our choice WHO we want to serve. I am not promoting divorce, but reconciliation, although I do recognize how difficult it is to live with i.e. an unbeliever, adulterer, alcoholic, or physical abuser etc.

I have counseled many of these people, and am well aware of the pain. Nevertheless, many Christian marriages can be restored if the parties involved would seriously seek the Lord, fast and pray. Perhaps, separate for a while to search one's heart, and to seek God's face in order to reconcile, NOT to divorce.

Matthew 5: 31-32... Jesus speaks here of giving a certificate of divorce, verse 32 suggests that a woman whose husband divorces her causes her to commit adultery, IF the reason was other than sexual immorality.

Matthew 19:9... Here, Jesus allows divorce and remarriage ONLY for sexual immorality, which may include adultery, homosexuality, pornography, incest and the such, for the marriage is already broken. Whoever marries a divorced, sexually immoral woman (man), commits adultery. Again, remarriage is only for the innocent spouse.

Couples who have been divorced while they were non-believers, and lived in sin, thus not knowing the will of God, must be judged accordingly. I am reflecting on the marriage with at least one believing spouse.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:15 and 16, if an unbelieving spouse wants to leave the marriage, let him/her go. The believing spouse is free. Also, if the unbelieving spouse has committed sexual sins, the believing spouse may divorce and remarry, according to Matthew 19:9.

I believe there is a great lack of knowledge and a lack of teaching to encourage couples to work on their marriages. Even if the Lord has brought man and wife together, it still needs constant work and nurturing to keep a marriage together and growing in God's will.
There are also very few pastors who know how to counsel, or have time to counsel. I agree, that many Christians have weakened their beliefs concerning marriage and easily agree with impermissible divorce.

THE CORE OF DIVORCE in many Christian marriages, is often the result of careless and unholy living, due to i.e. unscreened TV watching, videos, books, magazines, Internet surfing. These sins are easily allowed in the home and subtly contaminate the marriage and family. Divorce may be the result of many underlying issues, which may be dormant and seldom are touched.

According to the Bible divorce and remarriage is permissable in a few situation; fornication/adultery, desertion by the unbelieving spouse and death of a spouse. If there is a divorce which was not caused by one of the above, one should NOT remarry, or else one would commit adultery and live in adultery. In God's sight, there should not have been a divorce, thus remarrying an other partner makes one an adulterer, the same as marrying an adulterous person. The Lord will forgive all who repent, nevertheless, one should not commit yet another sin by remarrying against God's will.

Romans 6:1... What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? CERTAINLY NOT !

1 Corinthians 7:11... But even if she (he) depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband or he to his wife. And the husband is not to divorce his wife.

Of course, this scripture does not refer to the adulterous spouse, but to any other reason of divorce.

A believer in Christ who stumbles or falls in sin, has an Advocate according
to 1 John 2:1. Walking and living in sin puts one's salvation in jeopardy. So, you have to walk very carefully and surrender your life completely to Jesus Christ. Sell out to Him and crucify your old flesh. Go ALL the way with God, or don't go at all.

Be obedient to His word through water-baptism by immersion and seek the infilling of the Holy Spirit, with the speaking in tongues, for self-edification. In times of need, seek His face, embrace the truth and abide in Him. Remember, there is never an excuse for sin. The believer has His Word, which commands to be watchful and pray.

1 Corinthians 16:13... Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

How do we deal with divorced and remarried brothers and sisters with whom we fellowship? It is appropriate for believers in Jesus Christ to know each other, and to learn if they are fellowshipping with them that walk according to God's word, for they are "family". Nobody should need to hide anything, if one walks and acts in God's will. Followers of Christ may know with whom they join hands in prayer and worship. Although we may not judge according to our own standards, as unto condemnation, we must judge according to the Word of God, unto correction. In the mean time, we ourselves must walk in holiness, for He is holy. 1 Peter 1:16.

Please, read John 8:15-24, 1 Corinthians 6:2-5 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

1 Peter 5:6,7... Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Copyright © Dr.Trudy Veerman, 1999, Webmaster.
All rights reserved.




Please, read the following related writings:

SHARING YOUR LIFE ,        MARRIAGE RELATIONSHIP

and       FORGIVENESS & FORGIVING




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