Summary: 1 of a 2 part series on divorce
THE TRUTH ABOUT DIVORCE
© 3-2000 by Mark Beaird
Text: Matthew 19:1-12
Recently, the Fox network broadcast a show "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-millionaire?" In spite of the remote possibility of good intentions, it showed just how lightly some people in America take the institution of marriage. After all, some thought, if it doesn't work out they could just get a divorce-or in this case an annulment. Thankfully the show bombed! Maybe our society is not as jaded as it would seem at times. Evidently many still hold marriage in high esteem. Certainly, anyone who has been through the heartbreak of a divorce knows that marriage is not a game.
As we look at this passage of scripture in Matthew chapter 19, it reminds us that there has always been questions and controversy concerning the subject of divorce, that's probably why the Pharisees brought it up-it was a "hot potato" type of a subject.
Things haven't changed. It's still a controversial topic in our society and in the church world today. Though widely experienced and generally commonplace, it is still a subject that most Christians don't want to talk about. If you say there are many acceptable reasons for divorce-you're a liberal and a compromiser. If you say that there are virtually no acceptable reasons for divorce-you're branded conservative and hard-hearted.
So there we have it. Everybody taking sides in the debate. But what about the people involved? You know, the ones going through it. Has anyone stopped to consider that "who is right" and "who is wrong" in the debate is of very little concern to those who are watching their lives and families fall apart.
I'm not going to attempt to answer everyone's questions today on the subject of divorce. Instead, I want us to look at several overlooked truths about divorce.
I. DIVORCE IS A DEPARTURE FROM GOD'S PLAN.
A. God's plan for our lives is one of happiness and fulfillment.
It's important to remember that God wishes His people to prosper and be blessed as our soul prospers. He is the Author of every good and perfect gift; so it would stand to reason that our home breaking up would never be a part of His plan.
B. God is, of course, displeased when we depart from His plan.
When we look at scripture, we do not see God condemning divorced people but rather His displeasure in people departing from His plan for their lives.
n According to Matthew 19:5 it was God's plan from the beginning that, "A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
And in verse 8 Jesus continued, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.
When Christ does not have full control of both people in a marriage then heartache can result. And heartache was never in the plan of God.
C. We should never look at divorce as "God-ordained."
Divorce is usually the result of one or both of the parties involved failing to live up to the marital contract. It would be nice if we could make some people behave themselves, as Christ would want-but we can't.
Many times one person wants the divorce and the other does not. One is unconcerned about the others' feeling and the will of God while the other party is trying to "work things out."
When all fails, divorce is often the result. It may even be for the good of one of those involved; God may even allow it. But never seek to justify a divorce on the grounds that God wants it to happen!
II. DIVORCE IS A DEVASTATING EXPERIENCE FOR ALL INVOLVED.
A. Divorce is not a game with those experiencing it.
n It's been said that, "You cannot divorce without ripping up the oneness of a person's being." -- Hardin Boyer, Leadership, Vol. 4, no.3.
n "A divorce is like an amputation: You survive, but there's less of you." -- Margaret Atwood, Marriage Partnership, Vol. 7, no. 4.
n Billy Graham writes, "Divorce is an easy escape, many think. But ... the guilt and loneliness they experience can be even more tragic than living with their problem."
-Edythe Draper, Draper's Book of Quotations for the Christian World (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1992). Entries 2919-2922.
B. The devastation can continue for years to come in the lives of
n In her book Second Chances, published in 1989…California psychologist Judith S. Wallerstein reports that divorce is devastating to children. She studied one hundred children for more than a decade and concluded that almost half were afflicted with anger, anxiety, and low self-esteem when they entered adult life.