Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Doctrine or Opinion? Divorce.

Past Posts:
Doctrine or Opinion? Your Thoughts...
Doctrine or Opinion? Drinking.
Doctrine or Opinion? Living Together Before Marriage.



* Divorce. Is it right? Is it wrong?
                           
This issue has been heavily on my heart for months. Maybe it is because the rate of divorce has escalated in the past 10 years. Maybe it's the fact that now 50% of Christian marriages end up in divorce (that percentage was drastically lower 20 years ago). Maybe it's the fact that every time I turn around, I hear of another couple "breaking up" and "moving on."


So basically, they are "tearing asunder" what "God hath joined together." And though I am watching from the outside, the view literally breaks my heart. It is really disheartening when people of God refuse doctrine and embrace opinion instead.

In our country, there have been many calls made for us, as Christians, to stand up and fight for the sanctity of marriage. And what do we say?


Marriage is between one man and one woman!


Yes it is. ONE man....and ONE woman....for life. Yet, when the issue of divorce is brought up, we shake our heads and say, "Well, sometimes things just don't work out. In our case, divorce is just what has to be done...as much as we hate it." Uh huh....So much for the "sanctity" of marriage ("sanctity" meaning holy, sacred, of ultimate importance, inviolability and security). Just what was “sanctified,” exactly?
 
To begin, I will clearly state - IN agreement with our GOD, King, and Creator - that I do not support divorce of any kind. If a woman is in danger or if children are at risk of getting abused, I recommend a separation or a time apart. But divorce? Never. A vow is a vow and it is not to be broken.

The argument that people in the Church are giving these days is: the Bible says I can divorce if adultery has been committed. Though you have read correctly, have you ever taken a closer look into the heart of God?

It amazes me at how quickly people grab that "right" to "Biblically divorce." They forget that Jesus never said He was okay with it. Divorce, by reason of adultery, was allowed ONLY because the people of God had hard hearts that would not be softened. They CHOSE to remain hard. They chose to be insensitive. They chose to be unwilling. They refused to remain faithful even in the most difficult, painful, and horrible circumstances. And because they would not be softened, God turned them over to their own selfishness.


Mark 10:2-9
"And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

....let not man put asunder. The Judge. You. Your spouse. Your friends. Satan.

Here, the Bible is saying, Do not break up what God has ordained and brought together as one. When a husband and wife consummate their marriage, they are one in the sight of God. How do you break up one? How do you divide one? You can't. That is how God views the marriage covenant. And He is part of that covenant. When a man and woman come together, make a vow, and marry, God joins that couple, and no human being has the right to break that holy bond.
   
In the wedding vows, we say "for better or for worse" don't we? Rarely do we think about the worse when we are madly in love, ready to begin life together. It is so easy to remain faithful to our spouse and to our wedding vows when things are "for better." But when we are staring "the worse" in the face....then things change. We start to grow lazy. We begin to make excuses. Next thing we know, we justify our level of uncommitment. Then....we forsake our vow; our promise; our word; our oath made in front of God Himself.

 
That is serious!

When Grant and I married, we didn't want to simply say, "for better or for worse." We wanted to go into the covenant of marriage stating, with more emphasis, our commitment to one another. One portion of our vows read:   I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph. I pledge to you my life as a loyal and faithful husband/wife.

I will be the first to admit that marriage is not easy. Even in the first year of marriage, there have been moments of "the worse." But has that changed our level of commitment to each other? No. Why? Because we CHOOSE to be faithful to the vows we made. We take marriage seriously. And more importantly, we take the Lord seriously. Divorce is no option.

Divorce is never the best option, no matter how horrible things get. And please do not think for a moment that GOD cannot take "the worse" and turn it around. I can give example after example of how the Lord has restored marriages on the brink of divorce and how He has brought couples - that were willing to be softened, mind you - back together. We, humans, believe we have the right to break vows and be excused from the hard, uncomfortable, and downright painful things in life. But thanks be to God that Jesus did not choose the easy way out! He could have easily walked out on US. He had ample "right" to. He had every reason to. But HE didn't. How easily we forget that we are called to carry our cross.... and crosses are painful. Crosses mean death. Yet Christ said to pick ours up (though they are heavy and require hard labor), carry them (not throw them down, put them away....or divorce them), and follow Him (through the light, through the dark....wherever). Follow the example of Jesus.

Luke 14:27 - "And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple."

Wives have a beautiful role in the marriage relationship. You are a picture of the Bride of Christ. You are a picture of His church; the saved. And as wives, you should conduct yourself like the bride of Jesus; with the grace of God, the love of Christ, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. Not backbiting, not gossipping, not dominant, not prideful. You (and I as well) are to submit to your husband and seek to serve him and your family like you are commanded to do; and as the Bride of Christ is commanded to serve and honor the Lord. No, your husband is not perfect. No, he may be hateful and mean. Yes, he may be totally uninterested in loving you. But we are still instructed to give and love with no strings attached. It is a noble and beautiful calling and an important command.

Husbands have a noble and serious role in marriage. You take on the leadership and headship position of Christ. And with that position comes great responsibility. You should love your wife just as Christ loves His Church....the same Church that willingly sins, that openly drags His name through the mud, and that inwardly bows down to idols. In our WORST possible state of spiritual whoredom, He remains faithful. And that is the example HE sets of the high calling of "husband-hood."

This is not my opinion of divorce. This is Biblical doctrine. It is never the best way. It is never the Godly way.



LORD GOD, give us ears to hear (Matthew 11:15), eyes to see (Psalm 119:18), and soft hearts (Hebrews 3:8).




Malachi 2:13-14
"And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant."


Proverbs 5:18
"Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth."


Philippians 2:4
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."



Matthew 19:8
"He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so."



Proverbs 31:12
"She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."



Proverbs 28:14
"Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief."



Malachi 3:6a
"For I am the LORD I change not...."




 
 
 

24 comments:

Rachelle said...

Isaac and I were just praying yesterday for the marriages around us. It seems like there are SO many who are struggling... but you know what - marriage IS a struggle sometimes! The important thing is working through those struggles with God's help. I can say - as you did - that I feel like I've seen some of the "worst" in my few years of marriage, but I am still committed to my man and there's a wonderful peace in that. May God strengthen and bless all those who have resolved to honor their marriage vows!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

You have been married for one whole year and you're already an expert on every possible situation that can happen in a marriage. Wow!

Kristen Elizabeth Lee said...

Anonymous,

I do not claim to be (nor am I at all) an expert. Far from it. I am simply REPEATING what GOD has said on the issue. That is all. :)

Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so let me get this straight: you think a woman should stay married to a man who abuses her AND her children, right?

And you're not repeating what GOD has said on the issue. You're taking scripture and twisting it to fit YOUR warped view.

I hope your husband never abuses you or your child since, apparently, you'll never leave him.

Oh wait, you'll SEPARATE from him, but you won't divorce him.

Kristen Elizabeth Lee said...

Exactly. There is a difference is separation and divorce. If a woman and children are in danger, I say get out and leave. And pray for him. Don't think for a moment God can't do a work....the very God who made blind men see, deaf men hear, and dead men rise. He is able!

...and no, I am not twisting scripture. It's there in plain view for all to see....straight out of the KJV Bible, word for word.

Sorry to have obviously offended you. Only declaring truth, friend.

Blessings. :)

Anonymous said...

It is dangerous and irresponsible to advise women to stay married to a man who is abusive and violent. A man like this does not deserve a wife and has already broken his marriage vows.

I am curious about what you have to say about the thousands of woman and children who have been murdered by their abusive husbands or fathers? How can you say that they would not have been better off getting divorced and disappearing from that person's life?

I hope you realize that all the praying and forgiving in the world will not stop a violent predator from killing.

Anonymous said...

I hope you are never in a situation where you are actually scared for your life or your child's life. God gave you free-will, he/she/it/they help those who help themselves.

Kristen Elizabeth Lee said...

Anonymous,

May I ask if you are a Christian? If so, then if you can give me BIBLICAL proof that it is okay to divorce because of abuse, then I will step back. But if not, then please take a step back yourself. This post is about BIBLE doctrine. Not opinions or "rights" we think we have (as Christians, we really have no right at all).

I will say again, if there has been abuse, leave. But divorce is different.

By the way, a divorce never stops a man from coming after a woman. I say get protection or go away. Whatever you can do. But again, divorce is different....BIBLICALLY....which is all I care about. Bible. What GOD has to say.

Anonymous said...

I would say that the passage referring to being unequally yoked in 2 Corinthians addresses the abuse issue. If a man abuses his family in any way, he's not righteous and therefore unequal. That's NT support for getting out of an abusive relationship IMO.

Anonymous said...

BIBLICALLY speaking, we should be allowed to own slaves.

"However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way." (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)


We don't because it's not right, it's insane and outdated. Your BIBLE doctrine is flawed.

Saying that a woman should have to stay married even in cases of abuse it not right. She should be able to move on with her life and find a man who will love and cherish her. A Christian woman has just as much right to a happy, healthy marriage as anyone.

Kristen Elizabeth Lee said...

May I ask who you are? Do you know me? I'm curious.

The passage you are referring to in 2 Corinthians 6 about being unequally yoked together speaks of the saved with the unsaved. It is obvious in all its verses.

verse 14-16
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with UNBELIEVERS: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

Your subject of slavary is totally off the topic but in Ephesians 6:5-9 Paul reminds masters of their responsibility to treat their slaves with respect, noting that they too have a Master in heaven. 1 Corinthians 7:21-22 says -

"Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant."

HOWEVER, that is completely beside the point. You say my Bible doctrine is flawed. I am sorry, friend, but I am, again, only repeating what God said. I am not taking any verse and making it say one thing or the next.

1 Corinthians 7:27a
"Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed...."

1 Corinthians 7:39a
"The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth..."

Matthew 19:8
"He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so."

It's there in plain King James English...

Joe said...

Well stated Kristen, everything you have said is scriptural and non-opinionated. The problem with marriages today is that too many people are jumping into them without knowing the person they marry. There is no way a man is going to hide his abuse of a female if she searches out his family, friends, and his lifestyle . You fruit will show what kind of person you are. Saying that if people would pray and seek a GODLY person there would be a lot less of a chance of divorce to occur. You will know if your potential spouse is a cheater, abuser, or anything else that would put up a red flag if you spend time with the Lord and seek His will. Its obvious struggles come, but if you have the Lord in control of the whole process you can weather those storms! God Bless!

E said...

If a man is beating his wife, this is against God's command to love your wife as God loves the church, so that makes him an unbeliever. Therefore the unequally yoked scripture applies.

What you are doing is extremely dangerous. You have zero knowledge or experience about abusive relationships, and many "Godly" men use the Bible as a means to justify their abuse of their wife, and tell her she cannot leave because it is against God's command. You really need to keep your opinions to yourself, and not spread such dangerous ideas to others. It is downright irresponsible.

Kristen Elizabeth Lee said...

E,

These are most definitely not my opinions. Please take it up with the Lord and not me. You have given no BIBLICAL proof that it is in the will of God to divorce. Plenty Godly men fall into sin and make horrible choices (David, being a prime example) and then repent when God steps in. Now I ask you to please refrain from posting any moreunless it's on your own blog. You obviously disagree and will not heed the Word, so....my prayers go with you. Have a blessed day.

Anonymous said...

I'm not E, but I will chime in to say that it is blowing my mind that you do not see it as dangerous to interpret the Bible this way. And yes, that's what you are doing, just interpreting it to fit your agenda.

And "Joe" must live in a total dream world if he thinks that only people who don't get to know their spouses well enough end up in abusive or dysfunctional relationships. It must be nice to be able to wrap life up in a such a nice, tidy package with a bow on it. Unfortunately, in the real world, life can get a lot messier, even for "Godly" people.

My mom and dad went steady all through college...they met through the Baptist Student Union at their college. They both came from happy, strong Christian families. My mom and dad got married after dating for 4 years, I think you could say that they knew each other very well--they had tons of friends in common and knew each other's families very well. They prayed together, attended church together and even taught the "Couples" Sunday School class at their church. However, all of that didn't stop my dad from having an extramarital affair and ruining his marriage. When my mom discovered what was going on, she was devastated, but was determined to make their marriage work. They went to counseling with their pastor and things got better, but then she found out that my father was continuing to cheat. All while going to church, asking forgiveness and praying with my mom. He continued to cheat on her on and off for 11 more years. How many more chances was she supposed to give him?

It was clear that he wasn't willing to really try to make their marriage work. They divorced and years later, my mom met a wonderful Christian man who loves and cherishes her for the wonderful person that she is. If you met them, you could not tell me that God has not blessed them. One of the largest parts of being a Christian is having faith. No matter how you judge people for getting divorced, I have absolute faith that God led my stepdad to my mom and that he is pleased with the love they share.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

No need for sarcasm, if you don't believe that the Lord can pull you through the hard times and show you the way to take your life, then you should start seeking the Lord harder. My God has pulled me through hard times MANY times and has removed me from bad relationships despite my stupidity . I am sorry that your family experienced that. I come from a broken home as well, but my circumstances make no difference to what the Lord has said in His Word. Kristen clearly outlined what God says about divorce all I have seen from you is opinion. And about forgiveness Jesus said we are to forgive 7 times 70 times. Which actually He was saying ALWAYS forgive. God Bless.

Kristen Elizabeth Lee said...

I am sorry as well for your home life, but Joe is correct. I simply stated Bible verses. They speak for themselves. They need no defending. Just declaring.

Again, blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

Don't be sorry for me! I'm certainly not. I have had the joy of seeing God bring together two people who were meant to be together. My mom and my stepdad are a wonderful example of a loving, committed, Christian couple.

I don't come from a "broken" home, that is a terrible and judgmental phrase. God did pull my family through a very hard time. And my mom absolutely forgave my dad, but she knew that staying married to him wasn't an option. And it's clear that God had different plans for her. He led her to her new husband.

I'm just trying to show you that things are not always so black and white. You are very young and it's obvious that you have had very limited experiences and interactions with people in the world. You need to realize that you have a lot of growing up and living to do before you can offer up such "advice" on to people who could be just as impressionable as you seem to be.

(And Joe, religion is a matter of opinion any way you slice it. It's my opinion that that Jesus is the son of God, but I can't prove that to anyone. Nothing that Kristen stated can be proven as "fact" because it's her opinion to trust in every word that the Bible says and take it literally. But as someone illustrated above, there are some extremely questionable passages in the Bible that, take literally, would be make Christians criminals.)

Joe said...

So you are telling me you believe God's Word is flawed?

Kristen Elizabeth Lee said...

Friend,

I know you think me, being impressionable and having "limited experiences and interaction" with people in the world makes me immature and unable to state truth. I am sorry you feel that way.

This conversation is closed. The Bible IS black and white. There is one way, one truth. God does not bend the rules or lie or change. You write like you believe the Bible is flawed, hense your negative statement about taking every word literally. Again, I am sorry.

Now I am asking you to please refrain and desist from making any more comments on this post. Any other comments will be ignored and/or blocked.

My prayers go out to you and your family. Blessings.

Lisa said...

Amen, Kristen. You are so right... And you are right with the things you have said in these comments. I am sorry that they do not see the truth.

Sometimes you can't prevent a divorce...I understand that. That never means that you yourself PURSUE a divorce though... Even if a divorce happens ... no matter be they saved, unsaved, new Christians, or old Christians ... remarriage after divorce is ALWAYS and FOREVER adultery.

Thanks for writing the truth. So few claim to believe these things, but few act on them like you do and believe them as fully as you do.

Kristen Elizabeth Lee said...

Lisa, thanks! :(

By the way, that is the next topic in the Doctrine or Opinion series - divorce and remarriage. :)

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