Thursday, February 05, 2009

Divorce: The Unpardonable Sin (2)

Imagine your very best friend gets engaged, and he comes to you and says, "I would be honored if you were the best man in my wedding." Now imagine this same best friend has said to you that if you ever got married, not only would he not be your best man, he would not even attend your wedding. Your ex-wife left you before you even became a Christian, and for you to ever get married again would be to commit adultery. Attending a wedding that is an adulterous act would be to give a blessing to adultery, something a Christian cannot do in good conscience. Yes, this very thing happened to me. Imagine being told that even though you're divorced, you're still a married man, and as a married man, you should avoid any close fellowship with women, and that your area of ministry will be solely to men. Imagine that women in the church are told that you are a married man and to shy away.

Now imagine attending another church that believes that there are only a few scenarios where a divorced person is allowed to remarry, but you're one of them! Not only do they believe you are free to remarry, they take "It is not good for man to be alone" to an extreme and tell you to get out there and find a wife. Imagine the confusion in being held to mutually exclusive, extreme imperatives by two groups of people (still having friends from the old group) claiming to believe the same bible.

Now imagine thinking that you've come to a place of believing that you're okay to remarry, and that you're going to a church that believes the same. You find interest in a young woman, and everything is fine until her parents, who were raised in the first line of thinking, find out your ex-wife left you once upon a time, leaving you divorced. Your relationship is immediately shunned. Actually, this one had a happy ending. No, I didn't marry the girl, but the gravity of the situation over time encouraged her family in examining and re-thinking their position. They sought out wisdom from others, studied it for themselves, and changed their minds.

I've also served as a deacon in a church. This required much agonizing before allowing the elders to lay hands on me. Our church sees situations where divorced people are able to remarry, but I had to have discussions with the pastor about potentially explosive situations caused by members who didn't believe in remarriage in my case or in allowing divorced people to serve. I know of a church that split over the discovery of a divorce in the past of one of its leaders.

Fun stuff, marriage, divorce and remarriage is.

(1) .


  1. I have a different take than many on what Jesus meant when he talked about divorce. I think he was trying to protect women who, at the time, were more or less chattels to be disposed of by men. To mistreat a woman in that cultural and social context by divorcing her would not be consistent with the command for us to love one another.

    Marriage, as it exists today, is an entirely different institution which is hardly comparable to marriage in first century Palestine.

    Whether divorcing your spouse in the current context is right or wrong depends, I believe, on the individual circumstances of the married couple. And this, frankly, is none of my business.

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