A Quick look at Divorce
It is very timely to discuss about the idea of divorce because this concept is being debated now in the congress of the Philippines, being the only Christian country as they say that has no law regarding divorce.
Almost all the countries in the world have divorce law.
According to Dictionary.com, divorce is defined as (a) a judicial declaration dissolving a marriage in whole or in part, especially one that releases the husband and wife from all matrimonial obligations. (b) any formal separation of husband and wife according to established custom. (c) total separation; disunion:
If we look on the aspect of divorce, we consider not only the husband and the wife but also their children. Divorce laws differ from country to country. Some divorce laws guarantee the welfare of the children, some are not. Those who guarantee the welfare of children mandates child support.
They determine child support payments, the amount of payment depending on the variety of social, economic and professional factors. A child support payment is monies paid by the non-custodial parent to the parent acting as the primary care custodian – or the custodial parent.
They also give emphasis on who will be the custodian of the children.
Whatever the arrangements will be, the court will always decide for the best of the children.
According to the Bible
The Bible says, God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16 “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel. “I hate it when one of you does such a cruel thing to his wife. Make sure that you do not break your promise to be faithful to your wife.”
God doesn’t like divorce to happen between a man and a woman. Marriage is so important to God, and was given a lot of emphasis in the Bible many times. Marriage is a choice between a man and a woman, a promise that they will be together and a sacred covenant, which the two of them made not only in the sight of the people around them, but most especially in the sight of God.
The Bible views marriage as a lifetime commitment. A contract that can only expire when one of them dies. A man and a woman become one, they are no longer two. Mat 19:6 So they are no longer two, but one. No human being must separate, then, what God has joined together.”
So, basically, if we are to ask God if He likes divorce – the answer would be a big NO.
The Law of Divorce in the Old Testament
Israel, the people of God was a hard headed nation. They always seek what they want and do not follow the will of God. And so, divorce was permitted to them, not because it is God’s desire for them, but because of their hardened hearts. This laws on divorce were given to protect the rights of the divorcees especially on the part of the women.
Deu 24:1 “Suppose a man marries a woman and later decides that he doesn’t want her, because he finds something about her that he doesn’t like. So he writes out divorce papers, gives them to her, and sends her away from his home.
Deu 24:2 Then suppose she marries another man,
Deu 24:3 and he also decides that he doesn’t want her, so he also writes out divorce papers, gives them to her, and sends her away from his home. Or suppose her second husband dies.
Deu 24:4 In either case, her first husband is not to marry her again; he is to consider her defiled. If he married her again, it would be offensive to the LORD. You are not to commit such a terrible sin in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
Did God really want divorce to happen? Mat 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
Is it really allowed in the Bible?
Yes, it was allowed with the people of Israel before because of the hardness of their hearts.But notice in the words of Christ in Matthew 5: 32 - Mat 5:32 But now I tell you: if a man divorces his wife for any cause other than her unfaithfulness, then he is guilty of making her commit adultery if she marries again; and the man who marries her commits adultery also.
The only valid reason for them for divorce is if anyone of them committed marital unfaithfulness. Mat 19:9 I tell you, then, that any man who divorces his wife for any cause other than her unfaithfulness, commits adultery if he marries some other woman.” The word in Greek for immorality is porneia from which we get the word pornography. Sexual immorality, adultery, are grounds for divorce according to the Bible.
Another reason is abandonment. Paul says “Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace,” (1 Cor. 7:15).
What others believe
Others believe that abuse (be it to the spouse or child) is a valid ground for divorce even if it is not written in the Bible. This can be the case for many people who wants divorce but the Bible is silent about this. We cannot presume anything when it is not mentioned in the Bible.
Others believe that if any of the couple committed mistakes or sins against the other, there is an option to forgive the sinner and begin to rebuild their marriage. They say, if God forgives us, then why can’t we forgive our wives or husbands too. But this, do not apply at all times. Some spouses are not repentant enough and continue in their sexual immorality. In this case, the law of divorce can possibly be applied as written in Matthew 19: 9.
If we are a Christian, we will not follow what the unbelieving world does. We stick to what God wants and that is to hate divorce too (Malachi 2: 16). After all, some only make divorce a big excuse for their failed relationship. Through the grace of God, a Christian couple can always opt to forgive each other, work on the marriage and keep it strong.