Welcome to Lavish Grace,
Divorce, and to a lesser extent separation, remains a taboo subject in parts of the Church – discussion on which is avoided by many Christians. In other Christian circles it is the topic of fierce debate, particularly today when over two-thirds of marriages in the church, on average, end in divorce. And these figures are not unique to the Western Church. The so-called ‘developing world’ is also witnessing increasing rates of divorce.
I am divorced, a committed Christian, in my late-thirties. I was a committed Christian before my marriage and remained so during my divorce. As I struggled to hear the voice of God through the different stages of my journey, it was quite sobering to experience firsthand how some Christians treat divorced people. I must admit that I had never really spent any significant time studying divorce in the Bible, before door. As I grappled with God’s Word (see ‘God’s Truth’ page), I began to understand a bit more of the two standpoints I alluded to at the start.
Nevertheless, I was shocked and disappointed to see that for many, divorced Christians are only fit for the rubbish bin because of the ‘finality’ attributed to our situations – seen as damaged ‘goods’, they can never really be used by God . Let me explain what I mean.
Whilst separated, I found myself on a six-hour train journey with a pastor with whom I had just spent seven days attending an in-depth healing and deliverance course. As he ranted on about divorce being the unforgivable sin and how the divorced should never be given any responsibilities in church, he at no point considered it relevant to enquire what my marital status was – I didn’t volunteer the information. God knows he may have pulled the emergency cord! But when he began to decree that no one who was divorced could ever be fruitful in Christian ministry, I could no longer hold my tongue. I gave him two examples of divorced Christians whom I knew he would have to agree were very fruitful in ministry; one of whom had started the ministry we had just left. He was confounded, said I could not possibly be right, and even tried to call his wife to verify what I was saying. As we stepped off the train, he was outraged and told me he would be checking the veracity of my story. The realisation that he had spent a week under the ministry of someone who had been divorced was overwhelming. The journalling I started that evening culminated in this site.
How do I, a divorced Christian woman, see divorce? I see it exactly how God sees it: ‘I hate divorce,’ the prophet says, speaking God’s words (Malachi 2:16). God’s will is for marriage to last for life — with each partner loving, honouring, caring for and cleaving to the other – just as Christ loves and cares for his church (Ephesians 5:22-33). So, whilst I know and have to accept that God hates divorce, I know he does not hate divorced people. I totally and utterly believe in a God, who because of his unconditional, covenantal love provided a way out for me through the blood of his son, Jesus Christ. I sincerely believe that the Blood of Christ is more than sufficient to wipe away all our sins, mistakes and iniquities, even that of divorce. I am yet to find the annex, at the back of the Bible, to which some have added ‘divorced people’, as one of those categories beyond the redemptive work of the Cross. I remain an advocate of marriage too, for God remains passionate about it, even in a society seeking to redefine the God given boundaries of marriage between one man and one woman.
Whilst some of us in the Church are busy debating, often in very insensitive ways, the topic of divorce, and divorced people, we are inadvertently condemning those who find themselves there (whether through their own fault or not) and worse, causing some to feel so condemned that they leave the faith for good.
I hope we can agree about one thing. That whilst true teaching on the topic remains vital, divorce involves two key people – some of these people are God’s children; they are Christians, and therefore remain precious to Him. There is no rubbish tip to which God ever relegates his children. I pray we can follow his example.
I also pray that you will find the space and time in your life to walk alongside someone you know who is contemplating separation or divorce. You can be with, comfort, hug or pray with someone going through a separation or divorce – they’ll be grateful.
And for you who are going through it. Have a look at the resources we have: prayers, book reviews, events, teaching on God’s Truth. I pray you will still hear God’s voice; seek right counsel; stand strongly on Truth and be patient to do all that He asks of you.
Remember that His strength is sufficient for you and that there is always room for you at the foot of the Cross.
Let me know if there is anything else you would like to see on this site.
Thanks for reading,