Divorce is a moral decision.

He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.”

-Mark 10:11-12, NLT

While I believe the Bible gives grounds for divorcing cheaters (see Mt 19:9), I also believe it cuts off the option of divorce over “growing apart.”

Divorce is a moral decision.

It is either right or wrong!

Clearly, Jesus does not treat divorce as merely an event. He presents divorce as moral act that God condemns if done only to marry another, younger “model”–i.e. he calls that adultery.

A cheated upon and abandoned spouse is a twice-wronged spouse.

First, the faithful spouse was wronged by the infidelity of the cheater. Second, the faithful spouse was wronged by the cheater divorcing him or her.

Now, I understand the push to remove divorce from moral consideration. It is less messy this way. People can remain polite with both parties when they do not have to assign blame for covenant-ending behavior.

But I do not think this is how Jesus would want us to process divorce.

Either we have permission–i.e. in the face of adultery–to divorce or we do not.

Some might object that this interferes with pastoral care for the individual spouses. I disagree.

If a spouse is the wronged party in the divorce, part of the pain comes from the injustice he or she has experienced. I do not see healing taking place unless that injustice is acknowledged and released.

When we treat divorce as a mere historical–as opposed to moral–event, we lose the ability to see the injustice of the situation. We reinforce denial or treat the suffering victim as crazy. Neither leads to healing.

For the offending party who filed the unbiblical divorce, I would say seeing it as such is a necessary step in caring for their soul. How can a relationship with God be restored if no confession or repentance takes place (I John 1:9)? It can’t.

Once again, the spiritual restoration or healing begins by seeing the transgression–i.e. the perpetrated injustice of the divorce. Only then is the offending party equipped to repent and find restoration with God.

As a final note, I obviously believe some situations warrant divorce. Divorce is not always sin

I am just weary of hearing of situations (see here) where divorce among Christians is taken merely as a historical event. Trust me, God takes it as more than that.

Divorce is a moral decision.

3 thoughts on “Divorce is a moral decision.”

  1. DM,

    Coming here gives me comfort. My spouse has justified his actions (desire for divorce and infidelity) as “consequences” of MY perceived lack of (fill in with a grievance). I feel bolstered with the affirmation that one chooses his/her actions and owns his/her sins. My husband has told me many times that he didn’t choose any of this; that he had to “save himself.” I feel like my husband is choosing selfishness and sin. He has mocked my pain and told me I deserved to be cheated on. I have read your comparison of infidelity/divorce without Biblical justification as being akin to cutting off a limb. I feel my husband’s infidelity and abrupt, cruel dismissal of our marriage is like amputation without anesthetic or consent. I am responsible for seeking care and following the right path, for taking care of myself. I didn’t hand my spouse the rusty knife nor force him to hack away at our marriage covenant .

  2. DM,

    This is the case of my marriage. I’m close to 100% convinced my now ex-husband had an affair over 16 years ago when I was pregnant. All the signs were there and at one point he said to me, “You and the kids will be financially fine without me.” He never said divorce, but that’s what he meant. A husband doesn’t have thoughts like this unless there is another woman waiting in the wings. And no, our marriage wasn’t in any trouble before this. At the time he also was going to Canada and getting 100% naked lap dances (and probably more!), which I think is a form of adultery.

    Long story short — DM, can my now ex-husband really be a Christian when he cheated and lied to me for years? Lots and lots of lies. And in the end, he blamed me for what he did because of my so-called “trust issues.” I’m the one who had Biblical grounds for divorce years ago, but he was the one who wanted the divorce because of my “trust issues.” He’s unrepentant. Thinks God is totally cool with his decision. And he has ramped up his Christian behavior at church — doing stuff he never did in the past to look good at church. Can someone like this possibly saved? Or better yet? If he’s unrepentant, can he really go to heaven?

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