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Oct
07

Divorce is NOT

By

Divorce is Not, Joy JochemsAccording to recent statistics, approximately 50% of unions end in divorce, and the numbers do not vary much in Christian circles. What the findings don’t distinguish are the causes and catalysts that led to the demise of so many marriages. A myriad of reasons can be given for these separations. And while most of us know what divorce is, very few stop to recognize what divorce is not.

Divorce is NOT disqualification.

For years, churches have discussed the qualifications of leadership. Yes, there are guidelines set forth in Scripture.  And yes, there are “gray areas” that are considered and debated repeatedly. But I’m not here to argue a topic that will be batted around for ages to come. I’m here to remind you that from your greatest pain or failure, God can produce your greatest opportunities for ministry. No one “gets it” like those who have walked it. And when you encourage and pray for a sister who is traveling that same road, she knows you understand and her burden is made a little lighter.

Divorce is NOT exemption.

There’s another side to our topic: your responsibility. Finding yourself in a “single” state again is not a license to live how you want. That status should not be allowed to generate an excuse to indulge in worldly cavorting and revelry. Singlehood is not permission to “sin all the more so that grace may abound”.  Every believer – married, single or somewhere in between – is accountable to the standards of Scripture.  We must purpose to be pure in thought and in deed. We must seek to honor our Savior…period. (Here are a few of the many verses that address this topic:  I Corinthians 6:18; I Thessalonians 4:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; Romans 6:11-14; Colossians 3:5; Romans 13:14.)

Divorce is NOT condemnation.

Does God hate divorce? You bet (Malachi 2:16)…and so do I.  I hate that families are torn, that “happily ever afters” are crushed, that the sanctity of marriage has been adulterated in our society. BUT… quit letting the enemy feed you a lie that a failed marriage makes you a failure. Stop believing that you’ve committed an unpardonable sin or that you should be forever tagged with a scarlet “D”. The voice of truth says, “I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are Mine” (Isaiah 42:1). The Lord has promised for His children good plans, plans of a hopeful future and not of harm (Jeremiah 29:11). He reminds us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1).  Ours is a God who can bring beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3).   Remember, God hates divorce, not the divorced.

Divorce is NOT identification.

I remember filling out a job application for a certain ministry, and it asked if I “was or ever had been divorced”.  Before inquiring about my doctrine or my relationship with Christ, and only shortly after asking for my name, I was prompted to declare my marital status and history.  As I filled in the necessary square, I began to understand that divorce is not my identity. Yes, I am divorced, but I am not divorce. It’s not who I am, it’s not what I represent, it’s not how I live. Who I am, my identity, who I represent, my lifestyle … it has to be centered on and dependent on Christ.

And finally …

Divorce is NOT a destination.

Redeemed one, move forward. Put the past behind you, and press on to what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13-14). Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Don’t stop growing, don’t stop serving, don’t stop hoping, don’t stop living. For one day, when the Bridegroom calls us to His marriage feast, we won’t even stop to consider this topic … for divorce will forever be not.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joy Jochems has been in ministry literally her whole life. While Joy is actively involved with her local church as youth ministry coordinator and lends a hand at CWAHM as devotional coordinator and guest contributor, she recognizes that her primary ministry is in her home, to her children. You can contact Joy at joy@cwahm.com.

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