Sunday Special: Divorce is a Biblical option

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?

Jesus’ response:

“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?”

DonkeyInDitch Photo

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.

Mister Mo

Crazy, fun, a bundle of energy, chief Baby Boy of the friendzone, and tells amazing stories!

11 thoughts on “Sunday Special: Divorce is a Biblical option

  1. Laws are made for man, not man for laws.

    Thoh shall not kill. Oh, yes, I would kill, (given, the chance,) an armed man that invades my house and is about to annihilate my family. .

    Thou shall not lie. Oh, yeah ? If hired assassins came for me, and I happen to be playing chess in the neighbourhood club, would my wife tell the truth if asked where I am ? Would she not be doing her protective widely duty by lying that I travelled to Abuja and would spend a month there?

    Laws, divine and human, are almost always provisional and circumstantial. They are guidelines, not inexorable exhortations set in concrete. There are often extenuating circumstances.

    The intention / intendment /reason behind a law is the most important thing. And your obeying that Law slavishly is like a Child sent to go and buy Guilder Beer (a directive) from a particular shop , but fails to use his initiative to go elsewhere if the Guilder is not available in that particular shop.

    1. EyeBeeKay,

      Laws, divine and human, are almost always provisional and circumstantial. They are guidelines, not inexorable exhortations set in concrete. There are often extenuating circumstances.

      This sums up the whole matter. Well said. We tend not to pay attention to the intent of Biblical laws, yet Jesus said all of them are summed up in love.

  2. Forget the subject at hand – I want to know whose donkey you kidnapped and popped down a well to make your point!
    (I hope you remembered to return it – it isn’t yours o!)

  3. Bro Yomi, in the text you cited, Yes, God does make allowances for divorce, but the person can only remarry if the reasons were for adultery and death of the spouse. Just wanted to add this caveat. Thanks and God bless

    1. @ Stanley, there is a lot of infidelity in most abusive relationships. So, if either party departs and there is no reconciliation for 2 years at least, Adultery is already present. They should pray hard, shine their eyes and remarry. Read Hagins book on love, marriage nd divorce.

      1. Anonymous,

        there is a lot of infidelity in most abusive relationships. So, if either party departs and there is no reconciliation for 2 years at least, Adultery is already present.

        Good point. A situation where a couple haven’t had sex for two years suggests that at least one person is getting it somewhere else – even when living together.

        One woman said her husband hadn’t touched her in two years. That marriage is over, and she might as well leave and go re-marry.

  4. First, I am a Christian. Having said that, I agree that laws were made for man. I have a friend who has a wife that has tortured him emotionally for 7 years. I have told him to walk away, but he won’t listen. Anyway, i have told him that if the woman kills him, I will eat akara at his burial.

    When emotional and physical abuse is involved, biko waka from that marriage. At least start from a separation before considering a divorce. That’s my 2kobo.

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