I posted a blog on “The promise to never divorce”. A friend of mine responded to that blog and I posted her response “The other side of divorce”. The links to these blogs are below.
In response to these posts another friend sent me an email commenting on what we had written. He has been happily married to the same woman for many, many years and I asked him if I could share his email and my response to it. He very graciously agreed that I could.
I found what he wrote moving and insightful and feel he expresses and captures the pain of divorce in a very real way.
HIS EMAIL IN RESPONSE TO ‘THE OTHER SIDE OF DIVORCE’ AND ‘THE PROMISE TO NEVER DIVORCE’:
This is a very good perspective from somebody who has been through the agonising road of divorce. Thanks for sharing. Only one comment from a non writer but I feel this needs to be said, given the comments about having sinned when divorced. So here goes:
Whether we have sinned or not is only for God to judge, not man.
Firstly let me say that I firmly believe and hold onto the ideal that when one marries, it is for life. For better or worse. That is my belief and I am very grateful that I have married a stunning woman who shares this ideal.
But in many cases, the pain and suffering that people go through in a failed marriage, and the people around them, is a huge burden to carry, and as this person puts it, more harmful than separation. To call it sinful in those cases to divorce is not our call to make. God knows the heart. He knows the person. He knows the circumstances. He loved us into life, he loves us through life and he guides our thoughts and deeds if we let him. Too many people live with tremendous guilt when they get divorced and find it difficult to reconcile this with what they have been taught in catechism. And victims of abuse in marriage and unfaithfulness live with enough of a burden. To have to also deal with getting out of that marriage being labelled sinful is probably even a tougher form of internal abuse caused by the turmoil between what their faith tells them and their situation. The two together are two big reasons abused people cannot bring themselves to getting out of an abusive situation, or leave it too late.
So to people in those situations I say. Be close to God. Live a life guided by His teaching as best you can. When things are tough, confide in Him. When things are going well, thank Him. And when things go wrong, ask Him for guidance, listen to His answer and trust in Him. And the decisions you take when you truly believe they are guided by Him will not leave you wanting. Let Him be the ultimate judge as to how you have lived your life, not man.
I just want to say that neither my friend or I would ever presume to judge anyone about divorce. We are far from perfect ourselves and that verse “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) applies to me on a regular basis!
When I say that divorce is a sin, I am stating a fact – not judging. I realise that we can spend a long time discussing the semantics of ‘judgement’ versus ‘factual’ but I will try and explain what I mean. God Himself calls it a sin. That is a fact.
In Malachi 2:16 God says “I hate divorce”
When we get married we vow before God not to get divorced “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder”. This is a promise that we make to God – breaking that promise is a sin.
Lying, stealing, cheating, murder are sins. When we say someone has lied, which is a sin, we are not judging – we are stating a fact. Again we could argue about semantics here!
This is why it is so liberating when God says He will forgive us our sins (when we say sorry to him for breaking our vows of marriage that we made before Him and to Him) and will remember them no more.
There is healing and freedom and a future after a divorce and we don’t have to ‘carry’ that pain and hurt and guilt with us if we believe in Jesus Christ. (after a grieving process of course).
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”. (Matthew 7:1 & 2)