As many of you know I am divorced. Before I was divorced I often wondered why Christian people would get divorced. I was raised in the Church and I knew very few people who had actually been through a divorce. The ones that had been were all non-church people and I assumed that was why they felt divorce was an option. I thought that being a Christian would be all that was necessary to protect me from divorce. I thought that he was a Christian too and that we were putting Christ in the center of our marriage. I married someone who had a heritage of no-divorce and in fact he was the first person in his family to not have an arranged marriage. He married for love, he chose his life partner, he made his own choice in a wife or so I thought. Boy was I wrong.
Like a soldier suffering from shell shock I think that I have suffered from divorce shock. Let me tell you when my husband said that he wanted to move out of our home and have some space I was devastated, I was in shock and stayed that way for some time. I had worked so hard to keep our family on the right path, to keep us loving God, to stay married until death. I never believed a divorce would happen to me and I have spent some years asking God why this has happened. Divorce is something I do not believe is right to do; rather I believe that married people take a vow before God and should never break that vow.
As I have had a lot of time to reflect upon the divorce I started noticing that I am not the only Christian woman in this world that has been through a divorce. In fact there are many Christian women who end up divorced. I suppose to be fair I have also seen some pretty strong Christian men who are divorced also and it wasn’t something that they wanted either. So why have we strong committed to the Lord Christian men and women who love the Lord with all our hearts end up divorced? Why?
I have begun to listen to the stories of some of my friends who are divorced. Sadly they have stories that are similar to mine. Someone cheated, someone didn’t want to be married any longer, someone was just pretending to be a Christian spouse, a poser, similar stories abound. We all have one commonality; we are left with more questions than answers as to why we ended up divorced.
We have a clue about why so many within the Church today find themselves divorced in the book of First John. In Chapter two John is explaining about false teachers and how they reject the true gospel. Let’s begin looking at this for some clues.
“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us,” I John 2:15-19, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
I think that many Christians find themselves divorced because our spouse began to love the world and the things of the world. Perhaps they worked to achieve personal goals of wealth and respect and became proud and boastful. Perhaps they developed a lustful heart. This kind of sin creeps slowly into someone and takes time to make the heart cold but never the less cold the heart becomes to the things of God. Notice how John states that such people are with us for a while, but they were not really with us? I think that it is very difficult for many Christians to see the difference between a genuine Christian and a poser and this makes us very vulnerable. We are trusting people as Christians, and yet I think of what Paul told Timothy about the sins of men (people):
“The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after,” I Timothy 5:24, (NASB).
It takes some time, and often a long time, before sin is revealed in some people. Other people we can see that they are faking their Christianity right away. For some of us it was nearly a lifetime before we saw this truth revealed. Here’s another clue from scripture.
“In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls, but those who would preserve their life stay far from them,” Proverbs 22:5, (New International Version or NIV).
When you have not seen the characteristics of someone not being a Christian time has to pass before a spouse can understand such truths. When we as Christians are walking around the snares and pitfalls of the wicked we can also help our spouses to walk around snares as well. This may prolong our discovery of the truth about our spouse for some time. Rest assured that God will reveal to us in His time the truth.
Proverbs teaches a great deal about wisdom and contrasts a life full of wisdom with a life filled with folly. One scripture in particular accentuates the necessity of living wisely and the benefits to marriage of wisdom.
“Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life,” Proverbs 2:16-19, (NIV).
The sad reality for many of us who find ourselves divorced is that we followed the way of wisdom but our spouse did not. When a spouse chooses adultery and not fidelity there is little that one can do.
Oh we all have heard of the stories of how God healed a marriage after a spouse was unfaithful and we beat ourselves up because our marriage was not healed. We take on blame that isn’t really ours to take and we grieve and we suffer. But the truth is there was nothing we really could do, not really. And if our spouse doesn’t want to repent and doesn’t want to stay in the marriage then we have no choice in America but to go down the path of divorce. The courts have made it so easy for divorce to take place and so many of us find ourselves divorced.
But there is good news we should never forget. Our story in life is not over, it is not finished and we are not failures as divorced persons. Let’s go back to First John and see the ending of our story.
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin,” I John 1:5-7, (NIV).
Divorce is certainly a dark place to travel. But it all comes down to this, are you a liar still walking in darkness or are you living out the truth in God’s light? I am divorced but I am not walking in darkness. I am walking in the light of God through the blood of Jesus Christ who has made me pure and that is great news! Keep on walking dear brother who is divorced…keep on walking dear sister who is divorced…keep on walking Katherine because you are walking in Son-shine with places to go and people to see!