Disclaimer: Nobody in their right senses should listen to anything I have to say about the bible, as I am the least qualified to be doing any teaching. Still, since we live in the age of freedom of speech, I write anyway. Yes; it may also be because I want some traffic. I make no claims to being an authority. Read at your own risk.
My apologies to the non-Christian readers of this blog. I do have a need to address the subject of marriage and divorce – and I can only do so from a Christian perspective. I am not versed in the Quran or other religions to offer anything from the perspective of Islam or any other faith. So, do bear with me whenever I need to throw a few Bible verses on the wall and hope that they stick.
We have all heard the standard arguments against divorce in church circles. The most glaring one is the phrase, “God hates divorce.” Yes; we know that He does. No contest. But I doubt that the average Christian understands the law of love that Jesus brought into effect. One day, Jesus made a move to heal a man with a physical deformity on the Sabbath Day. Everyone knew the law of the Sabbath. It was not to be broken. Jesus knew that they all would confront Him on that basis alone, so he addressed the issue upfront. He said (Mark 3:4):
“Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.
He did not question the Sabbath law. He appealed to a higher law – the law of love, mercy and compassion. This was not something that we can write off as a one-off thing. In Luke 13, Jesus healed a woman who had been infirmed for 18 years. Again, He did it on the Sabbath and he was taken to task by the ruler of the synagogue. Why not leave the healing for another day?
“15 Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? 16 So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?”
See again? He appealed to love,mercy and compassion. In Luke 14, when a similar event happened, here were Jesus’ words:
“Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?”
People would actually prefer to rescue their ox or donkey from suffering on the Sabbath day than to see a human being released from suffering on the same day. How callous we get about human suffering. Callous and evil.
God hates divorce, but He hates human suffering more. He hates abuse – physical, emotional or psychological. And by abuse, I don’t mean something perpetuated against women by men alone. Lots of men go through horrible emotionally and sexual abuse in marriage too. It happens both ways.
But that is not all. I must also touch a point. It is poor practice to build a doctrine/teaching on just one verse of Scriptures, for the simple reason that each verse or statement is usually made from a certain perspective. As such, the way to develop a complete view is to look at all the different references to the subject. The verse that says God hates divorce is only one reference out of many on the subject. I will present only one more reference to show that the Bible does not place a blanket ban on divorce. 1 Corinthians 7:
10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
See that? “If she departs from her husband…” So, we see that the Bible makes room for a woman to leave her husband.
There are plenty of references on the subject of divorce in the bible. The facts are overwhelmingly clear if we choose to look: God hates divorce, but He hates oppression and abuse more. He loves people, and He has made allowances for people to get out of harmful and hurtful marriages.
Here is an underlying principle stated in that same chapter. This time verse 15:
But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
Take note of that principle: God’s mind for you in marriage is peace. Not torment, pain or abuse. I am not an advocate of divorce as an excuse for people to jump out of marriage. But it needs to be clear: people who do choose divorce as a way forward are not necessarily out of line. It is a valid Biblical option.
Where someone is locked in a relationship where suffering and torment is the order of the day, God has no issues with upholding the higher law of love. He approves of the oppressed being set free. Jesus demonstrated that enough. The higher law of love, mercy and compassion will always overrule in scenarios like that. This principle does not apply to just marriage and divorce alone. It applies in any aspect of life in which the circumstances tally. Love, mercy, compassion – and justice – must always carry the day. That is the Biblical – the Christian – way.
Where abuse and torment happen in marriage, divorce is a Biblical way out. God has called us to peace. Oya, do hurry along to church now… Say a prayer for me.