DIVORCE DOES NOT MEAN IT'S OVER!
It is a biblical fact that God hates divorce (Mal 2:16). Divorce is a grave violation against a life-long covenant, a concession due to human frailty, which inevitably inflicts devastating consequences on all those involved (Smith 2020). However, it is not the unpardonable sin and is wonderfully curable in Christ. In this brief article, I will point out some practical principles that will help maintain a healthy marriage. Divorce is not an end to ministry.
1. Understanding Divorce and Remarriage
Reality points to the devastating results of the divorce rate in modern society (Smith 2020). Theologians greatly differ on the interpretation of Scripture when it comes to understanding the Bible’s teaching on divorce and remarriage. Even the teaching of Jesus on the subject is fervently debated. The three main stances on the topic of divorce and remarriage are the exclusion, exception, and expansion positions (pp. 2-4). Each opinion deals with propelling scriptural evidence for its validity. Nevertheless, divorce simply points to the imperial evidence that mankind has missed the intended mark of God (Rom 3:23). God is never caught by surprise, He is a long-term, foreseeing Planner (Boa 2005). His redeeming answer to divorce is and always has been—Jesus (Tit 2:14).
2. Maintaining a Marriage
Cole (2013) points to the fact that society is facing an epidemic of divorce which has now invaded the Church. He mentions a survey that ranks pastors third in the divorce ratio only behind doctors and policemen. Smith (2020) unequivocally states, “current statistics indicate that over 50 percent of marriages end in divorce”. This is the dark reality of postmodern 21st-century realism. However, the Bible gives us clear and concise advice on how we should govern our marriages and lives in general (Prov 3:5-7). There are many things that need to be undertaken in order to maintain a healthy biblical marriage. Cole (2013) gives us two very important principles in cultivating a divorce free marriage. Firstly, we are to get God’s perspective and idea on the severity of the marriage covenant. A comprehensively correct understanding of covenant will go a long way in aiding a healthy marriage. Secondly, we are to manage marital problems as God views them. There are bound to be problems in the process of two individuals becoming one. However, God has given distinct instructions on how to deal with problem-solving in a marriage covenant (Eph 5:22-31).
3. Divorce is Not the End of Ministry
Dreadful condemnation has been inflicted on those that have suffered the horrific realities of divorce. Many men and women have wrongfully been forced out of ministry due to incorrect interpretation of 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 (Smith 2020:9). Divorce has its consequences but exclusion from ministry is not one of them. “Be the husband of one wife” in the Greek simply means a one-woman-man. There are many technicalities to discern who is fit to lead in God’s Church but divorce is certainly not a disqualifier of ministry (Rom 8:1; 1 Jn 1:9). The 21st century Church finds itself in uncharted waters and is having to deal with many radical societal changes. The essence found in Christ’s redemption of any situation cannot be easily overlooked.
We are living in a time of marital destruction of unproportioned magnitude. The devastation of divorce and remarriage is an everyday occurrence in society. However, the goodness, kindness, and the redemption of Jesus Christ are able to transform the most broken of situations. God has given us principles by which we can abide by that aid in a fail-proof marriage. Divorce is not the end of ministry but an opportunity to experience the redeeming grace of Jesus.
Boa K 2005. 26. Long-Range Planning. Online Article. Accessed from
Cole SJ 2013. Lesson 5: How to Avoid Divorce, Part 1 (Malachi 2:13-16). Online article.
Accessed from https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-5-how-avoid-divorce-part-1-malachi-
Smith KG 2020. ‘Divorce and Remarriage.’ Johannesburg: South African Theological