By Hannah Shultz, News Editor
From my seat in Hughes, I squirm every time divorce is mentioned. Articles are passed around Facebook from Christian blogs with phrases such as “you gave up on the marriage,” or “how could you have destroyed the stability of your child’s life?” First, these statements perpetuate an unforgiving, grace-less religion—one which Christianity is not. Second, sometimes divorce is a necessary evil, and it is dangerous to teach otherwise.
As a child of divorce, I am no stranger to the horrible repercussions. I know firsthand the reality of hearing shouts through the walls every night, of having a parent practically cut out of your life except for weekly “visitation rights,” of being forced to choose sides in arguments. However, now, I understand the reason my parents got divorced: their marriage no longer honored God, and divorce was best for me and my brother, no matter what Christianity might tell them otherwise.
In Christianity, misconceptions concerning divorce abound. Many argue that true Christians do not get divorced or an unhappy marriage is better than divorce.
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, writes on his blog that divorcing for any reason other than sexual immorality or the unbelieving state of one partner is a “cowardly justification for sin.”
The Christian Broadcasting Network writes on their website, “Divorce and remarriage for any reason are truly unthinkable for two people who sincerely love God and are trying to serve Him.”
God does not want you to stay in a relationship that is poisoning your life, and you are not any less of a Christian for getting out of that situation. Let me say that again: just because you aren’t divorced, doesn’t mean your marriage pleases God, and just because you are considering divorce, doesn’t mean you do not have faith in God.
Rhett Smith writes for Relevant that marriages are like the temple in the New Testament, meaning they can become corrupted by earthly sin.
“One day in a seminary class, my favorite professor, Dr. Ray Anderson, spoke about divorce,” Smith said. “He talked about the temple and how it was built as a place for God, a place that was sacred and set apart, a place that glorified God. But over time the temple and temple practices were violated. So much so that the temple no longer represented what it was set out to be. Jesus then destroyed that very temple, as it had become an abomination to Him.”
“A similar thing often happens in marriage,” Smith said. “What was set up as something sacred and glorifying to God becomes destructive. It no longer honors Him and is destroyed. But we have hope in the midst of this destruction. We have the person of Jesus Christ in our lives who is constantly bringing new life out of the old.”
This world is broken. Humanity is broken. We will make decisions that deviate from God’s plan—including marrying the wrong person. Sometimes, no matter how much counseling or prayer you do, that marriage is irreparable and no longer glorifies God. While divorce is harmful to children, staying in a miserable marriage can be just as harmful, if not more. Not only that, you shouldn’t sacrifice your physical or psychological well-being to stay in an unhealthy marriage.
You will not be saved by remaining in a failed marriage out of Christian pride or fear of guilt and shame. However, it is through grace that God will redeem us all from the sins of this fallen world and bring good out of the brokenness of divorce.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith— and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”