Ask Your Preacher
Is divorce ever "okay"? If so, when? When there has been unfaithfulness, abuse, neglect?
Curious About Causes
Dear Curious About Causes,
Divorce always involves sin. God is never okay with divorce, but He does allow it in certain circumstances. In Mal 2:16, God says that He hates divorce and compares divorce to an act of violence and bloodshed. In every divorce, you will see that one or both parties have committed sin.
In Matt. 19:9, Jesus says that divorce is wrong between two believers unless fornication has been committed. ‘Fornication’ means ‘sexual immorality’. Adultery is an allowed reason for divorce.
The other reason is found in 1 Cor 7:12-15. In those verses, the apostle Paul explains that a Christian that is married to an unbeliever can accept a divorce if the unbeliever wishes to break up the marriage. This doesn’t mean that the Christian can instigate a divorce from an unbeliever, but they aren’t sinning by accepting the divorce.
Those are the two circumstances when God says that divorce is allowed. In other situations, separation would be allowed, but not divorce.
If you would like more information on what Jesus taught regarding Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage - this link will take you to a series of lessons we taught on the subject.
I have been married to my wife for ten years, and over the last five, it’s been very challenging. I love my wife but am not in love with her, and I actually don’t think I ever was. Reflecting back, I rushed into it and did it through obligation without asking God for guidance and direction. I made a vow to God when I got married but truly feel divorce may be the best option for both of us as I feel I’m living the life of a lie. I need to get out of my comfort zone, but is divorce the right option?
Dear Unhappy Husband,
There are many choices that we make in life that we don’t fully comprehend, but that doesn’t remove the consequences of those choices. If you are driving down the highway and fail to note the speed limit… ignorance won’t stop the police officer from giving you a ticket. When mankind makes choices in ignorance, those choices still affect us (1 Pet 1:14). A marriage is a marriage – there are no exceptions. The only reason that God allows divorce is when sexual immorality occurs (Matt 19:9). You and your wife may not feel love toward one another, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show love toward her, and it also doesn’t mean you have the right to divorce her because you don’t get along. You feel divorce would be the best option, but God says it isn’t – it is time to trust God and get out of your comfort zone by seeking marriage counseling and working on your marriage instead of abandoning it.
What is your view on homosexuality?
Looking For Perspectives
Dear Looking For Perspectives,
People may give mixed reviews on homosexuality, but the Bible is very clear – a homosexual lifestyle is a sinful lifestyle. Rom 1:27 makes it clear that homosexuality is one of the deepest forms of depravity in this life. Jude 1:7 makes it clear that God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because the people “went after strange flesh”, i.e. homosexual behavior. From the beginning, God designed romantic and physical relationships to be between one man and one woman – for life (Matt 19:4-6). Any other type of relationship is wrong.
We went to a church that believed if you were married more than once you couldn't be a deacon or preacher. This is because the Bible says you can only be the husband of one wife. Is this a correct interpretation?
Dear Counting Criteria,
The qualification you are referring to can be found in 1 Tim 3:12. The phrase ‘husband of one wife’ literally means a ‘one-woman man’ in the Greek. He must be devoted exclusively and faithfully to his one wife. A man who is widowed and then remarried could still be properly described as a ‘one-woman man’ because he was completely devoted to his first wife until her death, and now is fully devoted to his current wife.
The question a congregation has to wrestle with is if a divorced brother has shown the character trait of monogamous fidelity. Why did he get divorced? Was it for infidelity? Was he always faithful to her? Did she leave him, or did he leave her? How does he behave with his current wife? How long has he been married to his current wife? The answers to these questions will help assess whether he is a faithful ‘one-woman man’.
Divorce is a red flag that should make us pause before appointing a man as a qualified deacon, but depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce, the man may still be qualified.
I have a difficult decision to make. This guy that I am dating is Hindu. I just found out today. I don't know what to do; is it okay to date people outside of your religion? I have always believed it wouldn't be, but I am not sure. Please help.
Dear Hindu Hindered,
You are right to be concerned. It isn’t necessarily wrong to date someone who is Hindu, but you should be working toward his conversion WAY before marriage. ‘Inter-faith’ marriages have disastrous results, an awful track record, and God warns against them. The Bible’s most notorious example of this is Solomon. Solomon’s idolatrous wives turned the heart of the wisest man on the planet away from God (1 Kgs 11:4). If Solomon in all of his wisdom couldn’t resist the pull of a false religion, we should consider ourselves just as vulnerable. There is too much at stake. If your heart is turned away from God, your soul will be eternally destroyed (Heb 3:12).
No matter how much two people love each other, there are only five possible outcomes for a christian marrying a Hindu, and only one of them is good:
- He eventually converts and obeys the gospel, becomes a christian, and is saved (GOOD).
- You eventually convert and follow Hinduism, and you are both lost (BAD).
- You both make compromises in your beliefs, and you no longer fully serve the Lord (BAD).
- You both eventually renounce both of your belief systems, and are both lost (BAD).
- You bear through a lifetime of disagreement on the most important thing in life. You stand strong in the faith, but are hindered in the amount of service you can provide the Lord (BAD).
The only positive outcome is the first one, and that isn’t any more likely to happen after marriage than before. Either he will eventually convert, or he won’t – serious romantic commitment and/or marriage won’t increase those odds.
God warns against being ‘unequally yoked’ to someone with different values than you (2 Cor 6:14-16). Once you get married, you are ‘yoked’ to that person with a lifetime agreement. A godly marriage is designed around unity (Gen 2:24). If you aren’t unified on your core belief system, then everything else will be affected. Where would your children go to church? How much money would you contribute to God’s church – would he, being a Hindu, be okay with contributing anything at all? What happens when he wants to put up Hindu emblems around the house? These are just a few of the thousands of day-to-day problems inter-faith marriages present. God tells us that a christian should marry someone ‘in the Lord’ (1 Cor 7:39). It is time to have a serious heart-to-heart with this fellow and see if it is possible to get on the same spiritual page.