Divorce—You can’t control choices others make
The final article in a series on Real Marriage—the truth about life together.
As stated last week: If God is ministering restoration in your spirit, wait for it; contend for it; pray fervently for it. “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Although many great bible teachers are divided on the issue of divorce and re-marriage, one thing is certain: God will direct those who commit their lives completely to Him…this we know.
As we close this series on marriage, lets view a few more significant Scriptures. Matthew 19:9 states that a man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery—unless his wife has been unfaithful. Again, God reveals his nature concerning commitment to a spouse. Clearly, a spouse who has been unfaithful releases the other and they are no longer bound. It is unfortunate that all divorced individuals are referred to as “divorced”—it would be helpful and less confusing for those whose spouse was unfaithful to be referred to as “released”. However, unfaithfulness does not mean that the marriage cannot be restored if both the husband and wife seek God’s guidance.
A personal favorite, 1 Corinthians 7:17 states that we must accept whatever situation the Lord has put us in, and continue on as when God first called us. We are to use every situation for God’s glory. If single, use that opportunity to build and strengthen character, and care for the things of God. If separated, use that time to seek God more fervently and pray for guidance, direction, and restoration. Allow Him to mold and direct you, and rebuild the relationship…if that’s an option. If divorced, use that experience to learn while asking God what good can come from it. Your marriage may be restored or maybe you’ll minister to others who have gone through a divorce. One of God’s wonderful characteristics is that He desires to use our brokenness. In fact, it is in our weakness that His strength is manifested. Be assured that all things work together for good as we commit our lives to Him!
On a closing note, understand that you cannot control the choices that others make. You may be able to influence them or encourage them, but ultimately the choice to leave or to stay is up to them. They are responsible for their actions…not you. God has given us the freedom to choose, and in marriage the choices of one will affect the life of the other.
If your spouse has left, and you’ve waited and done all that you can do biblically, I believe that God will consider your heart more than your circumstance. As I said before, King David was not able to build the temple because of his past—he was a man of war, but God said, “Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well in that it was in your heart” (2 Chronicles 6:8); because David’s heart was right, God counted it as righteousness.
Although he did not build the temple, God looked upon him as if he did. In the same way, your marriage may not be restored, but as long as your heart is right, God will direct you. He can rebuild your life and open doors you might not have thought possible. Once I committed my life to Christ, it changed dramatically. It went from weekend alcohol consumption and a career that wasn’t God-centered, to a life nearly void of alcohol cravings, a ministry I never dreamed possible, and a godly wife who has been a tremendous blessing. Did I make bad decisions along the way, yes I did, but I was quick to repent and seek God’s help. Had I became angry and unwilling to change, only the Lord knows where I’d be today. The choices we make today will influence the quality of our life tomorrow. Choose wisely today, because again, the consequences of bad choices take us farther than we want to go, keep us longer than we want to stay, and cost us more than we want to pay.
Granted, life will seem unclear and confusing at times, but God promises that He will guide you. Don’t let discouragement and failure stand in your way. I could write an entire book on my failures, but instead, I strive to follow the apostle Paul’s advice and I encourage you to do the same: Forget about those things that are behind you. Instead, reach forward to those things that are ahead of you (Philippians 3:13). Forget your past mistakes, but remember the lessons learned because of them.