God Hates Divorce- Why would He help me?
If an abusive marriage is good for anything then it is good for causing confusion and heartache. God intended marriage to be a blessing, something that brings glory to Him. Though some conflict is normal, and couples will face things together in life, your marriage should not be the main source of pain. So often women in abusive marriages feel like 1. They have to stay in an abusive marriage to keep from disappointing God or 2. They have to walk away from God and their abusive husband if divorce is what they choose.
I hope that as you read this you will no longer question if you have to choose between being safe and obeying God. No matter what He loves you, and He will not leave you!
So you have heard, God hates divorce. It’s true He does, but maybe not in the way you might think! Let’s look at why.
We will cover these ideas:
- God is LOVE and He LOVES You
- God has a plan for you
- Gods Plan for Marriage and Why He Hates Divorce
You will learn about God’s character, His plan for your life and know what He actually says about divorce in the Bible.
God is LOVE and He LOVES You
God’s love can be a hard thing to comprehend. Imagine a love so big and pure that you will never know its depths or understand how much He has for you. You grow up hearing songs like “Jesus loves me” and maybe you think “ya, He loves everyone!” And though He does love everyone, His love is also personal. In other words, God loves humankind as a whole, but He also loves you as an individual. When God created humankind he was careful and intentional in a way he was not with the rest of creation (Genesis 1:26). But He also knit you together in your mother’s womb. He knew who you would be before you were born. He knew the good and bad that would come your way. He knows who you are now, and He knows who you will be. God is omniscient and that means he has all knowledge past, present, and future (1 John 3:20).
He did not withhold His only son from you. As a sacrifice Jesus died for you, so your healing and cleansing would bring you close to the Father. He did not withhold His son from you, He died so you could choose Him, knowing that you might not.
DID YOU READ THAT? He loves you so much He allowed His son to take your place.
“When we were unable to help ourselves, at the right time, Christ died for us, although we were living against God. Very few people will die to save the life of someone else. Although perhaps for a good person someone might possibly die. But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:6-8
God is love and God is the author of love. It is out of His love that He created us. It was out of His love that He did not withhold His only son from us. It was out of His love He gave us the Bible. It is out of love that He allows people to make their own choices, and enjoy the blessing or learn from consequences.
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” — 1 John 4:16
Jesus Died for People, Not Institutions
A heartbreaking reality is that divorce is looked at like the one- unpardoned sin. There is this idea that if you “love God” then you will choose to stay in an abusive marriage. Thus, leaving an abusive husband is equivalent to renouncing your Christian faith and abandoning God as well. In our Christian culture, we put marriage so highly that we act as if marriage is what Jesus died for, but the truth is that He died for you, not your marriage.
Proof of People Placed above the Law
Jesus healed several people on the sabbath day. This was a day the religious leaders of the time dedicated to a day that was dedicated to resting. No work was to be done on the sabbath day.
But was Jesus breaking the law God made? Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Exodus 20:8 Exodus 20:8–11
Religious leaders saw what Jesus had done and persecuted Him for it. “He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:11-12.
In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions." Then he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." Mark 2:27-28
What Jesus meant was this: The sabbath day was a gift for people, something God set apart to help people. The sabbath was not to be worshipped, the God who created the sabbath is to be worshipped. The Pharisees were turning the sabbath day into something burdensome and using it in the opposite way God intended it to be used.
I think the same can be said about marriage.
Marriage was made for people, people were not made for marriage.
Marriage should not be worshipped.
The Son of man is also Lord, even over marriage
The God who created marriage should be worshipped.
He desires to bless his children.
I am not talking about the prosperity gospel here. Many people equate God’s love with riches. But our riches are in the richness of the love of God and the salvation that we have through Him alone.
As God’s child, you have God’s guidance and protection. There are many examples of this throughout the Bible.
- In Jobs’ life (book of Job) we see that God only allowed Satan to take so much. There was a limit, Satan could not have all he wanted, he had to get permission to take anything from Job. Though sometimes protection is thought to be equal to safety or comfort, that is not the case. Sometimes God desires to use circumstances to refine us. (James 1:2-3)
- Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. nHe will not leave you or forsake you.”
“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God…” Psalm 146:5
God has a plan for you
God has a plan for your life, and His plan comes with His knowledge that you are not perfect. He knows you will make mistakes, you will sin, but He has a plan anyways.
Now, I do not believe that being human is an excuse to sin. People are not sinless even after we have accepted Christ as our savior. However, as we learn and grow closer to God we start to act more like him too.
There are still consequences for our sin. Forgiveness is not a free ticket to be able to sin. But He will work out His good plan for our lives that will give you hope.
“'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. '” — Jeremiah 29:11.
Review of Idea #1:
- God Loves you.
- God has a plan for you.
- He desires to bless you.
- Your compliance does not make you lovable to God.
- God created laws to bless people.
- Religious leaders caused God's blessings to become burdensome.
- When Jesus was on earth, He held people higher than the law.
- Jesus is the Lord over people, and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30).
- Jesus created marriage, Jesus is the Lord over marriage.
How can this help? You can see that God is for you and not against you! He will not leave or forsake you. He knows your name! You are known by Him.
Abuse goes Against Gods Plan for Marriage
“And He saw that it was good” is the comment after every day of creation. Because God made all things good. But when God made Adam he saw that it was not good for him to be alone, so He made Eve. (Genesis 1 & 2)
When sin was brought into the world. The perfect unity with God and man was tainted. And so was the relationship between husband and wife. Evil was now overall creation, and it would not be the same until Jesus’ second return.
The role of the husband is to:
- Love your wife as Christ loves the church. (Eph 5:25)
- Nourish her (Eph 5:29)
- Cherish her (Eph 5:29)
- Feed and care for her as he does his own body. (Eph 5:28)
- Leave his father and mother and be united to his wife. (Eph 5:31)
- Love his wife as himself. (Eph 5:33)
The role of the Wife is to:
- Submit yourselves to your own husbands. (Eph 5:22)
- As the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. (Eph 5:24)
- Respect your husbands. (Eph 5:33)
Husbands are commanded to love their wives perfectly. Their love should reflect Christ’s love for believers. Christ laid down His life, paying the ultimate sacrifice so His bride (the church) may have eternal life. Husbands are commanded to love, nourish, provide and lay their lives down for their wives.
Wives are supposed to submit as the Church imperfectly submits to Christ, and they’re called to respect their husbands. But wives are supposed to submit to their husbands in everything?
Proof of Marital Resistance in the Bible
In 1 Samuel, we meet Abigail who saved her husband because she acted contrary to how her husband was acting. You see, Abigail’s husband was rude and uncooperative (harsh and badly behaved 1 Samuel 25:3). Refusing to help David escape King Saul, an understandable request. Abigail saw this, she stated that her husband was a fool, just as his name meant “fool”. Nabal was a rich man and a fool. But as Abigail begins to show she understands Nabal’s character and fulfills Davids’ request for shelter and food. This all ends with Nabal’s failing heart. The Lord struck him and he died.
Abigail did not bend to her husband’s bad attitude and refusal help to David. Abigail went against her husband, saw her husband for what he really was, and went ahead and did the right thing without him. Nabal lost his life and Abigail kept hers and was provided for as the wife of David.
What Submission Does Not Mean
You are not called to submit to… bad attitudes.
You are not called to submit to… actions that go against God.
You are not called to submit to… anything that does not look like God.
You are not called to submit to… sinful behavior.
Why? You are first to be in submission to God, and then your husband.
An example of this in the bible is the account of Abigail and Nabal
Why does the word submission leave such a bad taste in people’s mouths? I think it is because of the way it has been used by others to mistreat and manipulate. Submission means a “mutual yielding”. Husbands and wives are to yield to one another.
Women are not called to submit to men but to their own husbands. You are not a second-class citizen, you are equal to men by biblical standards.
Submission does not mean that the husband gets the final say.
Submission does not mean that the husband’s opinions or beliefs are superior.
Submission does not mean that the husband can do what he wishes to his wife.
God hates divorce because He loves you!
If you have been in Christian circles for long, you have likely heard someone say “God hates divorce!” And it’s true God does hate divorce. But maybe it’s not in the way you might think.
Malachi 2:14-16 (NLT) says:
“You cry out, “Why doesn’t the LORD accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows. Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit, you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty, ” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
So now we know that:
- God is a witness to the marriage vows between the husband and the wife.
- God is a witness to the husbands dealing treacherously (betray trust or act dangerously) with their wives.
- God desires Godly children from the marriage.
- God says that to divorce your wife is to overwhelm her and cover her in cruelty.
- God wants husbands to guard their hearts and be faithful to their wives.
So, I leave you with this question. If God hates divorce because He knows it overwhelms the wife and covers her in cruelty, then does He hate a marriage that overwhelms her and covers her in cruelty?
God is for the Oppressed
Throughout the Bible, we can find accounts of how God was on the side of people who were being treated unjustly and cruelly. sometimes the oppression is external such as when the Israelites were in slavery or under the rule of corrupt and evil rulers. Other times the oppression was from within like when there was evil found within people and within the Israelite nation. Some of them are given below.
- In Exodus 3, God speaks to Moses and says “I have surely seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.” God’s people were slaves in Egypt and were being treated horribly. God called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. He made a way for His people to be delivered. God moved and sent many warnings and plagues to move Pharoh to “Let His people go.” Eventually, as Pharoh’s heart heartened, the Israelites were allowed to leave under Moses’ lead, and God did not allow them to be taken captive in the pursuit by the Egyptians. Want to read more? You can find this account in Exodus 1 through 14.
- In the book of Esther, you can learn about how God came through for His people when there is a genocidal plot made against the jews. What she did was risky, but God worked out His plan through her to save His people. God came through for His people in a mighty way. He saved them through Esther, who could have easily lost her life while trying to speak out against the plot to kill her people (God’s people).
- God made a way for all people to be forgiven of their sins. So that they may have eternal life through His only son, who paid the debt through the sacrifice of His own life. We are all oppressed by sin, and He came to set you free.
He is for you, and He wants to be in a relationship with you! He loves you!
God often delivered His children (including you) from the hands of cruel and evil people. He shows us the ways He delivered His people, the Jews, throughout the bible. He shows us how He delivers people from sin and the oppression of sin.
How to turn to God for Help
Shame can make it near impossible to ask for help, and it is usually a burier that keeps you (and me) from turning to God. I have outlined several ideas for you to show you God’s character. This is important because we often think God is the same as people in authority in our lives. Even worse, you think He is going to abuse His power as people in your life have.
I am here to tell you that God is not like your earthy dad that abandoned you or abused you. He is not the one who forgot your name or never cared to find out. He is not the one who laughed at tears streaming down your cheeks.
God is not the officer or judge who did not see (or did not care to see) the whole picture. God did not make rash decisions that put you in harm’s way.
So where do you start?
- Pray! Build a relationship with God by consistently and continuously going to Him in prayer. He already knows you, but He desires to be known by you.
- Believe! Believe what you read about God in the Bible as you study His word (His love letter) to you.
- Trust! Allow your heart and mind to seek Him for help and trust Him that what He says about you is true. You are His creation. He knows you by name. He longs to be in a relationship with you.
- Relearn! Relearn who you have been taught God is. Seek Him, Study His word. Learn How scriptures have been twisted to abuse and control. Untwisting Scriptures is a great resource for this.
When divorce is addressed in the Bible it is always directed towards men, never towards women. I find it interesting that so many times pastors, Christian counselors, or even family members are so quick to say that God hates divorce, or why He hates divorce. Just as the religious leaders in Jesus’ day burdened people with the law of the sabbath, people are burdened in our day by the burdening of marriage.
Marriage is a gift created by God to bless people, and out of God's desire for godly children. So what do you do when your marriage isn’t safe? Walking away from an abusive marriage is does not automatically mean you are also walking away from God.
I have to say that again: If you leave an abusive marriage, you’re not simultaneously leaving God or abandoning your faith.
Abuse is hard: and God's burden is light. He will help you. He has a plan for your life and for your children's life. God does hate divorce, but that does not mean you are bound to an abusive marriage forever. It means He hates what is happening to you.
He will NOT LEAVE YOU!
Are you willing to take your broken heart to the One who created it? He will help you put the pieces back together.