This week, within the Gospel Girls Group (on our Facebook network), we are discussing the topic of marriage and divorce in the Christian community, and it has been a hot one. I think more of the sisters have actively participated in this topic than any of those that we've had previously. The responses from group members have been eye-opening and have shown how prevalent marital discord and divorce is among Christians. Being saved doesn't immune one from the problems that can arise within a marriage, so what we need to know is how does God expect us to handle them?
What does God really think about divorce in Christianity? What is His will for us in this area? One scripture in the Bible speaks of divorce only being acceptable in the case of fornication, but what about women (or men) who find themselves caught in verbally, mentally, and/or physically abusive marriages; or those who, somewhere along the way, find that the river of love has totally dried up? Is it right in God's eyes for a person who finds themselves in an abusive or a loveless marriage to divorce? Or is it His will for them to suffer through the pain, hurt, and misery?
The responses from the women in the 3-G Nework varied. Most said that the grace of God would allow for a woman to break free from an abusive marriage wherein her safety (and sometimes, her life) was put in danger. Others disagreed. Marriage vows say "for better or for worse," so they felt that a woman must find another way to deal with an abusive husband other than divorcing him. On the matter of cheating spouses, some said the Bible covered that one, so a man or woman has God-given permission to sever marital ties if there is infidelity. Others said divorce shouldn't be the first option; a person should first seek God, forgive the unfaithful spouse, seek counseling, and try to make the marriage work. The scenerio of couples simply falling out of love or growing apart wasn't really capitalized on by the group. The other two issues were the prominent ones that were addressed.
One of the things that this discussion taught us (well, me) is that as Christian women, we should never be judgmental and say what one should or should not do. We can approach them with biblical principal about a matter, but it is never our place to tell them what to do or to make them feel condemned for the decision they make. That decision must be her own; after all, she's the one who is going to have to live with it. Because of that, she must allow the Holy Spirit to minister to her and to guide her in the way that He desires. Some marriages may be salvageable, while others may not. In any wedded union, both subjects must be willing to work out the differences. If only the husband or only the wife has a desire for the marriage to heal, it won't; no matter how much praying the spouse does. The couple must work together as one in order for wholeness to be found again.
Marriage is honorable, and I believe that is something that we all agree on. God loves marriage, and He hates divorce. It was never His intent for marriages to fall apart. However, it was also not His intent for marriages to become violent or for spouses to be unfaithful, deceptive, and unloving toward one another. Because these unrighteous things are happening more and more, even in the church, it is our duty as women of God (and as people of God, in general) to hide the Word of God in our hearts ever the more. At the end of the day, heaven and earth (and even marriages) may pass away, but the Word of God will stand forever.
~ Submitted by Kendra Norman-Bellamy (Group Founder)