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Divorce: Diminishing the Uniqueness of Christianity


Last Friday, on March 30th, 2012, we conducted a gospel meeting in our training center. It was a joy to witness the presence of unbelievers who came to listen to the message apprehensively. The one who ministered to the participants, brother Vimal, came from Gujarat, which is one of the challenging states in India for gospel work. For the entire time, he shared his wonderful testimony—how he came to Christ from a strong Hindu background and how his life and family were radically transformed by the power of the gospel of Christ. 

What struck me in his testimony was his marriage life which went through severe crisis and crumbled. He and his wife came to such a point of bitter experience towards each other that they eventually got divorced. Then came a time in his life, when he was in utter despair, he heard the gospel of Christ Jesus from a pastor, who was a former Muslim, and was convicted of its truth. He put his trust in Christ and witnessed amazing change in his heart.

What happened later is quite interesting. He went in search for his divorced wife and when he found her, he shared with her the dramatic change that took place in his life and humbly asked for reconciliation. She was surprised to see the evidential change and agreed to recommit herself to him. Since they both were already divorced, they got remarried and now they serve the Lord Jesus Christ as a blessed family. Their family is now a tremendous blessing to many people.

Losing Christian Saltiness
After I listened to his testimony, I wondered how the gospel of Christ Jesus not only saved this brother’s family from eternal destruction, but also rebuilt his family and made them one in God. I wanted to rush to the unbelievers and testify about what the gospel of Christ can do in the life of a person, bringing transformation in every aspect of life. But then I paused and thought—what if they point out to so many Christian families who are divorced. There are more people today who are getting divorced as Christians and testimonies like getting reunited in Christ are seldom heard.

I think if the brother who shared his testimony comes to know how numerous Christians are getting divorced every year, particularly in the West, he would be shocked. He may question, “I thought, by believing in Christ, the broken marital relationships can be healed but how can you people leave your marriage partners even after claiming to believe in Christ?”

How Christianity is losing its uniqueness and saltiness in the area of marriage! Rather than the world looking at Christians and getting attracted to the gospel by seeing Christian marriages built in love and unity, they are now questioning the validity of the gospel in changing lives by pointing to divorced Christians.

God Hates Divorce
God made it quite clear in His word, “I hate divorce” (Mal. 2:16). He hates divorce because marriage is His design, not man's invention, "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matt. 19:6). Jesus said, “Anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery” (Matt. 5:32).

It is not surprising if the world is breaking God’s laws, but it is aching to see so many Christians openly rebelling against God’s word, getting divorced without biblical grounds and going for remarriage when it is in fact adultery. It seems they are looking more to the world for their inspiration than into the Word. They are not seeing how sinful this is in the sight of the loving Christ who loved us and laid His life for us on the cross. They are not understanding how displeasing it is to the holy God, and if there is no true brokenness of heart and repentance, they have to give an account to Him when they face the judgment seat of Christ.

There may be many shallow causes, but I believe, the primary reason for divorce in Christian families is this—there is no reverential fear of God and appropriate biblical role, either by any one or both partners. Of course, we may go to church, sing songs, read the Bible, offer short prayers and even participate in church activities, but is there practice of God’s word in personal and family life? O, if we deny our selfishness and take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, there would be more peace and joy in our Christian families than ever before!

Fight for Your Marriage
Since the world is failing to have perseverance and peace in family life, it is time for Christians to submit themselves to the authority of God’s word and represent to the world an exemplary family life. Did not Christ say, “You are the light of the world”? (Matt. 5:14) Sadly, when it comes to family life, many of us are more like the world rather than being the light to the world.

Don't you think it is time for us to repent of our sin of worldliness, live different and make a difference around us?

My wife and I have been married for more than thirteen years. I can say we are together only because of the gracious work of Christ Jesus in our lives. And I often remind my wife not to let our family life bring dishonor to God and to the gospel in any way. We have a lot of weaknesses and we have to fight together, by the grace of God, against all the temptations trying to ruin our relationship.

Remember, divorce diminishes the uniqueness of Christianity in this corrupted world. It is a stumbling block to the gospel of Christ Jesus. It brings grief to the Holy Spirit. It is dishonoring God’s word. It brings disgrace to the name of God, by whose name we are called. Moreover, it shatters the lives of marriage partners, even those of children. It brings hurt to the dear ones and well-wishers of the family. It does not bring about the righteous and loving life that God desires.

Therefore, for Christ’s sake, for God’s glory and honor, I plead with Christians to fight for our marriages to stay together. Let us seek God’s face, get godly counsel from mature ones, examine our own follies, talk to each other without accusing, but let us make every effort not to follow the footsteps of the world in giving up our partner to whom we have vowed before God, “I, ____, take you, ____, for my lawful (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

Our Father in heaven, forgive us of our sin and selfishness. If we truly think about your glory and the welfare of our partner, our families would have been quite different today from the world. O Lord, we have become much like the world, focusing on self-love and self-desires. We are following the worldly standards and turned our back against your Word. We pray that you have mercy on us, bring revival in our Christian families and bless our homes with your abundant joy and peace. May our families live in such a way that the world would praise your name as you reveal Yourself holy to them through our exemplary lifestyle. We pray in Jesus Name. Amen.
_______________________________

Enquiries:

cstephendavid@gmail.com (or) stephen@tents-india.org

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