Friday, May 23, 2008

God Hates Divorce

"I hate divorce" - God

It is no secret that divorce is a huge problem in American society. Every 27 seconds a couple divorces. There are 7,000 divorces per day affecting 10,000 children. Divorce rates have doubled since 1965. Over half of all first marriages and sixty percent of second marriages end in divorce. At current rates, about 1.5 million couples divorce each year in the U.S. Perhaps saddest of all, Christians are reportedly divorcing at approximately the same rates as non-Christians. Divorce is ravaging our nation.

What does God think of this trend of divorce that is so prevalent today?

Malachi 2:13-16 says:
This is another thing you do. You drown the LORD's altar with tears, weeping and wailing because he no longer accepts the offerings you bring him. You ask why he no longer accepts them. It is because he knows you have broken your promise to the wife you married when you were young. She was your partner, and you have broken your promise to her, although you promised before God that you would be faithful to her. Didn't God make you one body and spirit with her? What was his purpose in this? It was that you should have children who are truly God's people. So make sure that none of you breaks his promise to his wife. "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel. "I hate it when one of you does such a cruel thing to his wife. Make sure that you do not break your promise to be faithful to your wife.” (GNB)
The Word could not be more clear. God hates divorce. This begs the question, "why?" There are several potential reasons why God warns us about divorce in His Word.
  1. Divorce works against the natural spiritual and social order.
    A lifetime commitment between one man and one woman was God's intention for mankind since the beginning of creation (Mat. 19.3-9). It is the heartlessness, selfishness, and lustfulness of humanity that causes jeopardy in marriages that result in many problems in many areas. We ignore God's plan at our own peril.

  2. Divorce negatively impacts adults, children, extended families, society, and the church.
    Other posts on this blog have covered this in more detail. Adults are negatively impacted through divorce by emotional distress, shame, loneliness, isolation, poverty, and many other issues. Children of divorce are more likely to be emotionally unstable, perform poorly in school, experience trouble and legal problems, and fail in their own relationships. Extended families suffer from severing of relationships, problems inherent in blended family settings, and many forms of emotional distress. Churches and society suffer from interpersonal struggles and rivalries, the spill-over of many of the aforementioned problems into many areas of life, the burden of social and financial support and resources, and so forth.

  3. Divorce leads to pain, poverty, and many other unintended consequences.
    Those who experience divorce encounter guilt, regret, isolation, loneliness, custody battles, property and financial battles, extended family strife, emotionally scarred children, economic hardships, relocation issues, loss of friends, future romantic disappointments, and many other problems. These are just some of the unintended consequences of divorce that are most commonly reported. Often people do not realize the true cost of a broken marriage until its too late.

  4. Divorce is reported to be “the worst experience” that can happen to a person.
    Victims of divorce have consistently reported it to be a more stressful and painful experience over many other incidents and circumstances encountered in life. Divorce is often reported to be worse than death of a loved one, being the victim of a crime, financial ruin, loss of employment, any many other of life's worst trials.

  5. God wants to protect us and help us to be happy.
    As one can deduce from all of the aforementioned points, God wants to protect us from many of the painful experiences that we can and will encounter in life when we diverge from His plan. He wants us to be happy. As with all of the things that God instructs us through His Word to avoid in our lives, His desire is to save us from harm. God is not just some puritanical kill-joy that simply does not want us to enjoy ourselves or have fun. The things He warns us against are for our own good. God knows that divorce leaves a wake of destruction, but true contentment, fulfillment, and happiness are discovered within boundaries of the institution of traditional marriage.
Because of all of the devastation that divorce brings it is critical that the Church takes a stand against it. Ministers and other church leaders need to promote strong families in every way possible. This message should be integrated into the full ministry of the church including ministry directed towards children, youth, singles, men, women, and the entire body. Sermons, classes, workshops, Bible Studies, and so forth on the topics pertinent to strong families should be incorporated frequently and consistently into the local church strategic plan. If we fail to teach the principles of God's Word regarding marriage and family relationships we can be sure that the devastation of divorce lies in wait.

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