God Hates Divorce, but He Loves the Divorced

DivorceI watched a thirty-seven year marriage end. It was a tragedy for everyone involved. The husband’s infidelities came to light and his wife was overwhelmed by deep and justifiable feelings of betrayal and grief.  She was an emotional wreck: One moment she was shouting and stomping around her house, the next moment she was sad and weepy.

The adult children of that marriage were heart-broken to see the dissolution of their original family. They rallied around their mother who was, after all, the first aggrieved party. In turn, the unfaithful husband and father responded to his sons and daughters with cold detachment. This intensified the pain of his family

I suspect the feigned indifference was to mask his internal shame and gnawing guilt. He knew he betrayed the very people who loved him most by breaking the vows he made to his wife before Almighty God and the community.  He was supposed to love, protect and nurture his family ? but in the end he broke their hearts and trust.There are no winners in divorce, only losers. Divorce even hurts the community, yet there is so much of it.

Let us not pussy-foot around modern sensibilities: God hates divorce and he told us this in no uncertain terms (Malachi 2.16). He considers the attitude of indifference toward marriage vows and duties as tantamount to the treacherous actions of a traitor.

Marriage was established by God as the union of a man and a woman. Marriage is a sacred institution and must not be torn down, altered or abandoned.

At the heart of divorce is sin. It may manifest itself as infidelity, jealously, discord, mutual recriminations, conflict, violence or domination, but it is all rooted in spiritual rebellion and rejection of God and His love.

Sadly, I must admit that divorce has marred and scarred my extended family. There has been so much of it. I can honestly say that not one person has been better because of it. They all are poorer. I’m not talking about financial poorness — although that often was an issue too — I am talking about poverty of the heart, spirit and soul that is the worst of all human poverties. Spiritual poverty is the ultimate result of sin.

Jesus taught that from the beginning of human history the original union of a man and a woman was willed by God and determined by God to be indissoluble. Thus Jesus said: “Therefore what God has joined, no human being must separate.” (Matthew 19.6)

Yet people do tear apart marriage and that is a sin.

The key to a successful marriage is to follow Christ, renounce self-interest, and place the interests of our spouse before ourselves. It is in faithfully following Christ that the original meaning of marriage can be discovered.

If you are divorced, take heart. There is forgiveness available. Christ paid the penalty for sin at Calvary. Through contrition, confession and penance all people can be forgiven and are reconciled to Christ. The forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God is the greatest fruit of Christ’s cross.

Bringing sinful humanity to reconciliation and peace with God is the greatest mandate of Christ’s Church. Whatever your place or situation in life, give it to God and humbly follow Jesus. He is our greatest partner.

Although I am not divorced, I do know sorrow, heart-ache and pain. Many of my posts have chronicled them. My consolation is following Christ. I have discovered that there can be peace even in the midst calamity. I don’t know how those seemingly contradictory states can co-exist simultaneously, but they can and do. It’s a glorious mystery available to Christians to enjoy in their happiest moments or darkest hours.

Like the old hymn tells us, God is our refuge, a mighty fortress in time of need. That fortress is a refuge designed for the rejected or deserted, the broken-hearted, and people who think they are unloved. In that refuge of God they will find unconditional love and acceptance even if it seems that their earthly world is falling apart.

Yes, God hates divorce but He loves you more than you can imagine. Regardless of what has broken your heart, let go of your pain or grudges and give them to God. Forgive.

Mark Davis Pickup is chronically ill and disabled with degenerative multiple sclerosis. He is an advocate for life issues and disability inclusion across North America. He and his wife, LaRee, have been married for 38 years. They live in Alberta Canada with their two adult children and five grandchildren. Mark is available to address issues of euthanasia, assisted suicide, and issues revolving around suffering that often fuel calls for euthanasia. He writes regularly at http://markpickup.org and http://humanlifematters.org. For bookings, contact him by e-mail at MPickup@shaw.ca or telephone (780) 929-9230. Mark Pickup's bi-weekly column can be read in the Western Catholic Reporter (Canada) at http://www.wcr.ab.ca/.

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