God hates divorce! "For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce…” (Mal. 2:16). That is an emphatic statement. Yet statistics state that there is almost one divorce granted for every two marriages joined in our country today, and it has been pretty much that way for decades. Why would so many people do something that God hates?
One reason for the prevalence of divorce is the fact that so few people know much about the Bible. Faith develops by hearing, studying and contemplating the meaning of the teachings of God’s word (Rom. 10:17). It only follows that people who spend little or no time studying the Bible will have little knowledge of its teachings and consequently will be people of weak faith. That is one fundamental reason we are urged to study God’s word diligently (2 Tim. 2:15).
It also follows that people who have little knowledge of what the Bible teaches will naturally, and most likely frequently, do things that violate those teachings. Many people are rather shocked when, later in life, they learn that Jesus condemned divorce except on the grounds of sexual immorality, or adultery (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:8-9). They didn’t know, they were ignorant. But the apostle Paul told the Athenians that ignorance of God’s will is not an acceptable excuse; God will hold us accountable (Acts 17:30-31).
People ask, “But what if…” Everything that comes after those initial three words is an attempt to find an exception to God’s law on marriage. There is no exception other than sexual immorality. Whether or not society agrees, whether or not a married couple respects it to that extent, in God’s eyes the marriage commitment is for life (Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:39). That was His intention “from the beginning” (Matt. 19:8; Mk. 10:4-9).
God instituted marriage in the beginning (Gen. 2:21-24). His plan for marriage is simple- one man and one woman together for life! Whenever we start tinkering with God’s design we quickly end up with a tangled bowl of spaghetti. If we’re not careful, that tangle can wrap itself around our eternal salvation and pull us down to the pits of condemnation.
What’s the answer? Be circumspect in preparing for marriage (Eph. 5:15). Know and respect what God’s word teaches on marriage. Pray for His wisdom, guidance and blessings in finding a good potential spouse. Be careful whom you date, for you’ll almost certainly marry someone you date. Don’t marry someone with whom you incompatible. Be sure that the person you marry will be someone who will help you get to Heaven.
In a minority of cases, there seems to be no alternative other than divorce. But those cases are in the minority. Most of the time, with determined persistence, reliable counsel, diligent prayer and dedication to follow God’s way divorce can be avoided. A good, fulfilling marriage is worth the effort. However one might try to sugar coat it, divorce means a failed marriage…
Gary L. Hutchens