But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.
-Nehemiah 9:31, NIV
What do I mean by a “divorce-positive” resource for evangelicals?
-Do I mean divorce is the answer to all marital problems? No.
-Do I mean divorce is a positive experience for all? No.
-Do I mean divorce is even a good thing? No.
I mean that divorce is a merciful option given by God to faithful spouses (see Jer. 3:8, Is 50:1, Mt. 1:19, Mt. 5:32, etc.). It is not an evil–as some evangelicals say–but a mercy extended to faithful spouses from the God of Mercy.
This mercy means a faithful spouse is not required by God to stay tied to their soul rapist until death. It says that God recognizes adultery as such an awful violation of marriage and such an great evil that He made a provision to mercifully extricate the victims from that violated relationship.
Faithful spouses are real victims of adultery, make no mistake.
Do I wish this merciful provision was unnecessary? Absolutely.
But it is necessary.
We live in a world broken by sin. People in this world choose evil over godliness everyday. Some will refuse to repent, because they prefer living in the darkness than living in the light (John 3:19).
To conflate the evil of adultery with the mercy of divorce (for faithful spouses) is wicked.
Adultery is always sin. Divorce is not.
Even God chose divorce in the face of Israel’s harden adulterous ways (see Jer. 3:8).
The evangelical culture has failed too often to recognize this Biblical truth. We have lost our way on the matters regarding divorce. Somehow, we have conflated the fallout of sin–i.e. adultery–as the fallout of divorce as opposed to seeing one flowing out of the other.
It would have been better if God had not had to divorce Israel. But that was not a real choice on the table. God either tolerated Israel’s adultery or He chose divorce. God chose divorce.
If you are dead-set on calling divorce evil, they you must also say that God chose evil for He chose divorce.
Personally, I am unwilling to go there theologically. Hence, I have a more “divorce-positive” view than many in the evangelical world. I recognize our God is a realist. He understands that drastic measures are often necessary in order to deal with true evil (Deut. 22:22).
Divorce happens to be one of those drastic measures.
And it is not an evil. It is a true mercy.