In earlier times, Christian divorce was something that was almost never encountered. Today, however, it has become a very real problem in many evangelical Christian circles. Even Christian leaders are prone to Christian divorce.
Always, the issue seems to be infidelity, which is no longer a rare occurrence. And with such an example from their Christian leaders, no wonder then that followers have also stopped hesitating over getting a Christian divorce as opposed to hoping for reconciliation with the erring spouse. As a result, the stability of today’s Christian home is on a steady decline.
So how do you, as a Christian, deal with the possibility that you may some day get a divorce? How do you reconcile it to the fact that marriage is supposed to be a lifelong commitment to one’s spouse and nothing else?
In the Old Testament, divorce was permitted in some special cases. However, Christ made it plain that this was not God’s ideal. Matthew 19:4-6 states: “He answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that He which made then at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
The exception, He provides in Matthew 19:9: “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”
From this statement, you can conclude that the discovery of one spouse’s unfaithfulness could be a possible ground for Christian divorce. Much high value is placed on faithfulness, on the part of both bride and bridegroom, since this the very basis for a happy and lasting marriage. In both the Old and New Testaments, fornication is condemned as a sin.
However, unfaithfulness in a marriage is commonplace these days. Would this common ground for Christian divorce not dilute the principle of “one flesh” used by God to describe a true marriage?
In Luke 16:18, Jesus Christ notably failed to mention fornication as an excuse for Christian divorce: “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery; and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”
Since it is impossible that God fails at anything, it can therefore be concluded that while in some situations, fornication is permitted as a ground for Christian divorce, it is not always seen as a viable excuse to terminate a marriage.
However, this is not the entire story. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy… For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:8, 14). “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (I John 1:9).