This FAQ was thoughtfully written by Bev Green, Discovery’s Local Outreach Liason. I had to wrestle with this one a bit before posting, and then my beloved computer crashed, so I’m just now back online to post it. I appreciate Bev’s perspective here. What do you think?
Does God Consider Divorce Sin? by Bev Green
Why I picked this topic is beyond me but since divorce is such a large part of my life I guess it makes perfect sense that I felt like God was leading me to tackle this question not just for the blog but for some inner healing of my own so thanks for asking this particular question.
There are so many different directions from which to approach this question so I think I will just dig in. While laying this question out to some other ladies we came to an interesting place and asked a new question, Is divorce sin or is it simply that sin leads to divorce? This is the direction I hope to take.
Old Testament scripture is very specific in saying that God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16 (Msg) states, “I hate divorce,” says the God of Israel, God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat.” Now I am a KJV girl but this version says it clearly, God Hates Divorce. That being said there are many provisions in scripture where God allows for divorce. Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 both speak of provisions for divorce however show that it was not God’s intent for our relationships. God sees the conditions of our hearts and He in his ultimate wisdom knows our capability for committing evilness. Matthew 19:8 (NIV) – Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.” In a perfect world divorce would not exist but we all know we live in an imperfect world so as a result of the hardness of our hearts and the evil that dwells in this world divorce is a huge part of our every day life. I am sure that everyone reading this post has been impacted by divorce in some way. We have either gone through it ourselves or someone we love dearly has been devastated by divorce. The Message put is so graphically by saying it is the “violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’. Wow pretty vivid description.
Jeremiah 3:8 makes an interesting statement, God is speaking regarding Israel, “I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries….” Here, God actually uses the metaphor of divorce to describe his relationship to unfaithful Israel. That’s very strong language.
It would be so much easier if scripture just came out and said, “Divorce is sin.” Scripture clearly indicates that sin is involved in divorce and that it is not God’s ideal, but Scripture also clearly teaches that it only takes one to divorce, that it can be the result of a person’s sin and that it is not the unforgivable sin. As I read the scriptures I come back to the place where the act of divorce itself is not sin but it is the act of sin that leads to divorce. I think we have to look at each situation individually and make the call based on what is truly in our hearts and where the Holy Spirit is leading. God’s design was for a man and a woman to enter into a marriage relationship and to remain in that place for the balance of life however as with all of God’s perfect plan for His children we seem to get in the way.