Summary: Part 2 of a 2 part series
TRUTH ABOUT DIVORCE
© 2000 by Mark Beaird
Text: Matthew 19:3-
A woman came to a lawyer and said, "I want to get a divorce. I really hate my husband, and I want to hurt him. Give me some advice." In addition to wanting to get the gold and give him the shaft, she was wondering about some other way that she might do him in.
The attorney said, "Look, you’re going to divorce the guy anyway, so for three months don’t criticize him. Speak only well of him. Build him up. Every time he does something nice, commend him for it. Tell him what a great guy he is, and do that for three months. After he thinks that he has your confidence and love, hit him with the news and it will hurt more."
The woman thought, "I can’t go wrong on this. I’m divorcing the guy anyway. Why should I speak badly about him anymore? I’m going to speak only well of him."
So, she complimented her husband for everything he did. For three months she told him what a great man he was. You know what happened to that relationship? After three months, they forgot about the divorce and went on a second honeymoon.
-- Erwin Lutzer, "Learning to Love," Preaching Today, Tape No. 99.
Wouldn’t it be nice if that were the ending to everyone’s story? But it’s not. And that’s why we have to deal with divorce and remarriage.
The question of divorce and subsequent remarriage of an individual is a difficult one to deal with. The situation we have here in out text is not merely one which presents a discussion about divorce. It is a passage that must be dealt with in light of many factors. First of all, the Pharisees were not interested in truth, but only in trapping Jesus. Second, their question was all about how a man could legally get rid of his wife—there’s no mention of a man’s infidelity. Third, Jesus was not only addressing a culture that supported rampant divorce but justified itself with religious beliefs.
“The setting of the divorce question in this pericope is different from 5:31-32. There divorce is set in a discourse that gives the norms of the kingdom and the sanctity of marriage; here it is set in a theological disputation that raises the question of what divorces are allowed.”
Before we get into the questions and answers concerning divorce; let me first address a point that is very important.
I. HOW CAN DIVORCE BE PREVENTED?
A. Christians and non-Christians should never marry.
2 Corinthians 6:14-15, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” (NIV)
This is not a commandment to divorce an unbelieving spouse. In fact, Paul encourages one who is married to an unbelieving spouse to continue with them as long as possible (1 Corinthians 7:12-16).”
However, a believer has no business entering into a marriage with an unbeliever. And an unbeliever and a believer will never be able to build a home based on faith in God—it just can’t be done. This is a very important point!
Even the 1993 government based National Commission on America’s Urban Families stated that, “Recent research shows that families that maintain an active religious life tend to have lower divorce rates than those who do not participate in religious worship together.”
In addition, in 1994 a study by Howard Weinburg “found that shared religion has the strongest effect on the likelihood that couples will be able to overcome a period of separation and achieve a successful reconciliation.” (Kornblum, 484)
B. One should look for the right qualities in a mate—not just for physical attractiveness.
What are the qualities of a good mate? Here are a few to consider; he or she should be:
Of similar faith
Realistic about marriage
Forgiving in nature
Encouraging to you and to others
Warm, loving and reasonable
Flexible, supportive and committed
Willing to accept guidance
C. There should never be any kind of abuse in a marriage or prior to a marriage.
Abuse comes in various forms: physical, mental, verbal and even the abuse of trust. Let me be clear. It is my opinion that no one should ever marry a person who abuses him or her—in any form—prior to marriage.
D. A couple must spend time with one another on a regular basis—alone!
Too often couples fail to spend time together, fail to talk to each other and overall just fail to cultivate their relationship and then wonder why they seem to have drifted apart.