God Hates Divorce, But Loves Divorcees
You often hear people quote the scripture, Malachi 2:16, which states that God hates divorce. That would be pretty damning if you were to stop there and take this one scripture out of context. It serves some well to use this one scripture as a bludgeoning tool. Many use it to beat people, who are already hurting and who are already down, across their heads.
God hates divorce. Yes, he does, but read on and understand what is being said. The scripture goes on to say what God hates about divorce is the violent tearing of flesh that occurs when two people divorce. It continues on to admonish those involved in divorce not to deal treacherously with one another. Well that sheds a whole different light on this oft used saying! What God hates is the pain of divorce. What he hates is His precious children experiencing the pain and agony of the process. Matthew 5:4, reads, “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted”. God hates divorce because of the pain; because of the mourning that goes along with it. But here is another mindblower . . . God also hates divorce because of what it does to the children. In Malachi 2:15, it says that God expects “godly seed” to come out of the marriage. When divorce occurs, there may be no godly seed from the marriage or if there is, that godly seed may be injured or harmed.
Often times, divorce leaves a path of destruction, which almost always involves children. It does not matter their ages. When I got divorced, I waited until my children were teenagers, thinking they could handle it better. Boy was I wrong. My mother tells a story that her parents were divorced after she was an adult and married. It devastated her, and her siblings, just the same. There is no magical age that lessens the impact and pain that divorce brings to a child. When I wrote my book, “Divorced But Still Dad - Faith Principles of Fatherhood for Divorced Men”, I asked my daughter to write a chapter sharing with fathers how their children feel during and after the divorce. On the outside, my daughter, who was twelve when her mother and I divorced, seemed like she handled the divorce quite well. However, upon reading her chapter, I was hugely surprised. I can sum up my thoughts in three words - Divorce Hurts Everyone. No matter the ages. No matter the gender.
So, this is why God hates divorce. The ripping of the flesh. The tearing away of two which were once joined as one. The destruction of the “godly seed”. I totally get it. But here is the thing. God can hate divorce without hating those who get divorced. On the contrary, God loves those who get divorced more than ever. Matthew 11:28 reads, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. God knows that divorce makes you weary. He knows it creates burdens. He wants us to come to Him when we are weary and burdened. He wants us to come to Him when we are hurting. Psalms 34:18 reads, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. When you are divorced or going through divorce, you are brokenhearted, and you are crushed in spirit. God does not hate you. He wants to save you. He wants to comfort you. He wants to give you rest. He wants to love you.
The truth is, delivering a message that God hates divorce allows people to judge. It allows those who have misinterpreted that scripture, and many others, no doubt, to serve as Judge, Jury and Executioner. With that proclamation, people force others to wear a large scarlet letter “D” on their chest. And for too long, the church has accepted it without question.
The church has blindly and silently accepted the exorcising and overt chastisement of many who are divorced. They have wagged a finger in their faces, given them some drivel about how they should have prayed more or told them they should have had more faith or some such absurdity. The church has ignored the problem; as if through prayer, fasting and attending a good Bible-based church, marital issues will just go away. The truth is, divorce is here to stay. That is not good news or something you want to hear, but like my old Pastor used to say, “It may not be right, but it is real”.
So, what to do? We must stop treating divorcees like lepers or people with a disability. Divorcees are not to be avoided or ignored. Divorcees are to be embraced and loved. The Word of God says he is close to them with a broken heart, so we must pull divorcees close and minister to them in love. We must minister to their hurt and their pain. We must help them resist the temptation of believing they are not children of God, not “saved”, or not a Christian because of the divorce. By the way, this means no matter who was at fault and who did what, God is a God of forgiveness, who will not despise a broken and contrite heart (Psalms 51:17). Therefore, we, who follow after Christ, must forgive and not despise, as well.
The church is supposed to be for those who are sick in spirit. The church is supposed to be a place of healing and refuge. This extends to everyone, to include divorcees. Yes, God hates divorce. He hates the tearing of flesh. He hates the terrible impact it has on the beautiful Godly seed. He hates the brokenness it causes. BUT, God loves divorcees. He loves them because they are broken and hurting and in need of Him. God loves them because He does not want any of His children to suffer and be in pain. God wants all of us to prosper and be in health, even as our soul prospers (3 John 1:2). So, the next time you are tempted to say, or hear someone say, “God Hates Divorce”, please make sure you butt in and add, “ . . . But He Loves Divorcees!” Then give the person a Godly anointed glare right before you pray that they will search the scriptures and stop using them like weapons to judge and inflict harm. Blessings!