On the Edge of Destruction: A look at Divorce
Are you on the Edge of Destruction?
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand (Mark 3: 24-25).”
I stood there on an observation deck and peered over the edge of the border. In the distance and on the other side of barbed wire fences, guard towers and a vast amount of nothingness I could see a pretend town. It had been built to give the impression of prosperity where none exists. Sadness swept over me – sadness for the families that were separated by this border, sadness for the people who would never know the joys of freedom in this world and sadness for the very visible and blatant effects of sin, greed and unforgiveness.
I had experienced this same sense of sadness before.
The first time, I stood in a courtroom during a divorce proceeding for two friends. Such sadness. The chasm that now existed between the soon to be former husband and soon to be former wife had been chiseled out by a steady flow of sin and unforgiveness. Both of my friends, their marriage torn apart, were peering into a future shaped by a visitation decree, alimony and all manner of disagreements yet to happen. One pretended that they would be better off once the divorce was finalized. The reality, though, is that they were in court to throw away their earthly freedom and joy, save delivery from their wonderful Father.
I hate divorce.
I hate to see believers give up instead of seeking help from God.
I hate it when we sell short the redeeming power of Jesus.
I hate to see a country torn apart by greed.
There are reasons that merit divorce. Mortal wounds caused by an unrepentant and sexually immoral, unfaithful or adulteress spouse (Matt. 19:9; Jeremiah 3:8), willful desertion or abandonment by an unbelieving spouse (1 Cor. 7:15) and abuse in the forms of physical violence, oppression or enslavement (Malachi 2:16, Exodus) are Biblical reasons for divorce. If these are your reasons for divorce, do not read my post today. This post is not meant for you. But, if you are a believer who has just lost interest in your spouse, or are unwilling to forgive a boatload of small infractions or are disappointed in your present married life because of a lack of status, wealth or health, this post IS for you. If you are considering a divorce of convenience, please stay and read a while. I promise no condemnation; only truths written in love. And the truths I offer you in this blog are God’s truths; not politically-correct ease.
God hates sin and the division it brings.
God loves unity.
DIVORCE IN THE CHURCH
I am concerned about the divorce rates in the US among Christian Believers. The stats are equally ugly for believing and non-believing couples. How can this be? With our political correctness have we painted too pretty a picture of divorce? If so, let me set the record straight – divorce is ugly! The consequences of divorce and the resulting ripples of hurt, pain, shame, and rocked faith go on and on. Children, friends, church family, and community are all hurt when they watch a failing marriage.
The truths of the consequences of division and divorce were driven home on my husband’s and my recent trip to South Korea this past August. During this trip we visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and saw on a global scale and with our own eyes what divorce looks like for a country. It wasn’t pretty.
Our visit to the DMZ was surreal. THE DMZ was set up after the Korean Conflict and after hundreds of years of fighting on and for Korean soil. Mid-way through the Twentieth Century the country was torn in two by philosophical differences and quest for power. Greed and stubbornness, if you ask me. A line was drawn at the 38th parallel to separate North Korea from South Korea.
On the bus ride to the DMZ we couldn’t help but notice the desolation. The bus left a bustling and busy Seoul and drove the hour or so to nothingness. I got it! Who would move here? Anyone who would make such a move would be reminded, every single day, of the failings of their fellow man – their kinsman.
On the tour we walked through tunnels built by North Koreans trying to either escape or attack; I am unsure of which. The tunnels were small and were built at a 10% downward grade. It was extremely difficult to walk as the ground was slippery with water from a river nearly overhead. I was overwhelmed with emotion.
How sad it was for me to think that North Koreans thought that this tunnel would be the path to their salvation. How oppressive life in the North must be to ever even consider such a journey.
I am claustrophobic, so after about 20 minutes of walking down, I turned around and walked back up and out into the light.
How heart-breaking it is to have a country torn in two and families splintered because of philosophical differences. South Koreans appears to be doing well … financially … but they are paying a steep spiritual and emotional cost with the division of their country. In 2015, fifty-six percent of Koreans identified themselves as atheist. On the trip I visited a Buddhist temple. I was the only American on the tour and the guide wanted to practice her English on me. So during the free time at the temple, we walked and talked. I asked her about religion in her country. She was quick to dismiss all religion as a weakness for those not capable of thinking on their own. She stated that Buddhism was dying out with her grandparent’s generation and that she did not know any South Korean under the age of 30 who professed allegiance to any religion or God.
My guide’s statement appeared true given the congregants I witnessed worshipping that morning. I am no sociologist, but Wikipedia declares that in 2015 65% of young Koreans in their 20’s identified themselves as atheist, versus about 15 percent only a few decades earlier. South Koreans have become more Western. And, I believe, they have drunk the green Kool Aid – make money, worship success and be independent; you are enough, be your own god. They are more like Americans than I ever thought possible. Ouch!
We can all see the devastation that has been the result of the division of Korea, but can we also see the devastation that has been the result of divorce here in our own country?
Divorce can, for a few years, feel like a good idea too. The divorcee whose spouse spent money too freely may immediately feel rich, and the divorcee whose spouse was always contrary may immediately feel relief. But all this immediate happiness comes to an end when the truth about the true cost of divorce becomes inescapable. If you are divorced and have children, you know what I am talking about. There is no happiness that comes from looking at your child’s face when they plea, “Mommy, Daddy, please love each other again!”
I do not believe divorce is the unpardonable sin. No. God’s love and mercy can cover every sin. But I refuse to pretend that divorce is in any way desirable. Even when divorce is necessary for the protection of the family, there will be consequence and pain with the splitting-apart of two lives that were once intertwined into one life. And, our hard hearts grieve the heart of God. We can put on a happy face or build a pretend city to bolster approval, but we all know the score. Divorce is second best. God’s desire is for us to love Him with all our hearts and to love our neighbor, our enemy and our spouse as we do ourselves. This is why marriage is compared to the gospel. This is why we of the church are compared to the bride waiting for our groom, Jesus. This life is temporal. Forgiving and working things out, even in a tough marriage, is the right answer.
If you are struggling and standing on the edge of your family’s destruction, take a moment and drop to your knees. Ask your Heavenly Father for help. Ask Him for His abounding love and forgiveness for your spouse. Ask Him for His the supernatural peace that only His Spirit can bring. Then go find a godly couple or a counselor to talk to about your issues. Sometimes just exposing a sin or difficulty to the light is enough – this simple act can take the sting and fear out of the situation.
So, as you sit and enjoy the blessings of living in our unified United States of America, take a moment and pray for the reunification of Korea. Each year, typically in August, South Korea takes a National Day for Prayer for just this purpose – a rejoining of North and South Korea. My husband and I were in Korea on the 11th of August when Koreans held their day of prayer. We prayed for the beautiful people of Korea. And because I know that God hears our prayers, I encourage you to also lift up the people of Korea. God desires unity among the brethren and among His people.
I am believing for the miracle of Korean reunification and for the miracle of marriages all across the world unified with Christ!
Stay washed in the Word, my sweet friends! And, keep reading! 😊
“They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away." And Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.'
'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.'
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."”
Mark 10:4-9 ESV