Divorce – a common word these days as at least half the marriages taking place right now will end in a matter of years, or months. Let’s see if we can answer the question; “What did Jesus say about divorce?” in the Book of Matthew.
I often think about the various questions we have about Jesus and his teachings. One of the most common questions that I get asked is what did Jesus say about divorce?
Studying Scripture verses from Matthew 5, we will take a look at what Jesus said about divorce.
Also, we’ll learn how Jesus’ views were likely influenced by the culture of His time, Then, discover his key takeaway points when it comes to the topic of divorce.
We will also find how Jesus’ words on divorce can enrich our understanding of marriage and family life today.
Jesus did not take divorce lightly and neither should we. Many people consider this the one big sin for which there is no forgiveness.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
What Did Jesus Really Say about Divorce?
“It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. ” – Matthew 5:31-32 NASB
Divorce – The “Big” Sin?
These Bible verses from Matthew deal with divorce. But, how do people view it today?
There seems to be a difference (in peoples minds) between “big” sins and “little” sins.
How Does God See Sin?
A little sin is like that white lie you told to your hairdresser when you didn’t want to keep an appointment or a little omission on your income tax return.
Those sins may seem small but are still sin in God’s eyes. One of the “big sins” is divorce which is the topic today.
What is Divorce?
Wikipedia tm describes divorce as ..
“the final termination of a marriage, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between two persons.
In most countries, divorce requires the sanction of a judge or other authority in a legal process to complete a divorce. A divorce does not declare a marriage null and void, as in an annulment, but divorce cancels the marital status of the parties, allowing them to marry another.”
Divorce Affects Families
The Wiki definition sounds a bit cold and legal, doesn’t it? In truth, divorce presents a painful situation for all involved.
- the husband,
- his wife,
- their children (sometimes grandchildren),
- the parents on each side,
and the list goes on.
So, divorce is not only the separation of a couple, but the separation of the family as a whole in many cases.
Modern Day Divorce vs Jesus’ Time
You may well know divorce is just as hurtful and destructive today as in Jesus’ day. God intends marriage to be a lifetime commitment (Genesis 2:24).
Marriage is a fragile thing, especially in today’s world of hustle and bustle, kids, money and career conflicts.
Quick Decisions in Relationships
As I was reading this passage I thought to myself; Any two idiots can get themselves married.
All it takes is a blood test, a license and some sort of ceremony and viola’, they’re hitched!
Although it is easy to get married, staying married is another matter all together. It takes work, commitment and unending love for one another to make a marriage last a lifetime.
Let’s face it, a marriage that lasts for 25, 30 or 50 years is a miracle!
Is It Too Early to Consider Divorce?
When entering into marriage, people should never consider divorce as a first option for solving problems or a way out of a relationship that seems dead.
There are some exceptions to this as in the case of abuse. My friend and mentor, the late Dr. Brooks Walker talked in detail about abusive relationships. For a deeper understanding, I suggest you read it for a Biblical perspective. It is especially helpful if you find yourself in this situation. I placed a link to Dr. Walker’s article below.
Be Careful of the Break-up Reasons
In these verses, Jesus attacks those who purposefully abuse the marriage contract, using divorce to satisfy their lustful desire to marry someone else.
Are your actions today helping your marriage grow stronger, or are they tearing it apart?
Jesus said that divorce is not permissible except for unfaithfulness. This does not mean that divorce should automatically occur when a spouse commits adultery.
The translated word, ‘unfaithfulness’ implies a sexually immoral lifestyle, not a confessed and repented act of adultery.
Using Forgiveness Instead of Divorce
Those who discover that their partner has been unfaithful should first make every effort to forgive, reconcile, and restore their relationship.
We should always look for reasons to bring back the marriage relationship rather than find excuses to leave it.
Can Your Marriage Still Work?
If you and your spouse are having trouble in your marriage, first exhaust all alternatives for divorce. Include professional counseling but first and foremost – pray to God for answers.
He will hear you and can reveal some solutions you haven’t considered, if you ask Him.
Love in Christ
If you would like more information about how to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16.