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AAA Pro Life
Everything You Should Know
You Get A Divorce
Looking At the Marriage Commitment
article has been a long time coming. Just about every day we get letters asking us to tackle this subject. On several occasions we have planned to do a whole issue on it, but each time we began, we realized that the subjects and Scriptures involved were so heavily debated, and interpretations so varied, that we would just be stirring up a hornets' nest to put "our" position in print. So we kept putting it off.
But as time has passed, we have become acutely aware of this tragic problem growing in the Church. First of all, my wife and I have many personal friends whose marriages have "fallen apart" during the past few years. These include many well-known Christian musicians and ministers. This has cut Melody and me to the heart as we have watched marriage after marriage disintegrate, hearing one excuse after the other why "we just couldn't live together anymore…" Then we have watched while many of these people quickly got remarried, saying to us "Oh
happy! God has really worked this out… Maybe it was His will all along!" Meanwhile somewhere, the former husband or wife is still aching, bleeding inside, and wondering, "What happened? Where do I stand now?" And then comes the guilt and torment.
We have also received letters from many wives and husbands begging us for help and advice on what to do. They paint the saddest pictures of fights and mistrust, broken promises, and worst of all - scared children who are innocently caught in the crossfire.
This article is not going to answer all your theological questions concerning divorce or remarriage: "Is it okay to do this?" "Am I allowed to do that?" "What if I'm already remarried?" These questions are among some of the hardest in scriptural study - and have been the cause of no end of debate among Bible scholars. The reason is because the Bible seems to be unclear in many of these areas. Of course "we" have an opinion on all of them (and so does every church on the block!), but we do not want to print merely opinion, we want to share rock-solid truth - ABSOLUTE truth! That is why this article is called "Everything You Should Know
You Get A Divorce."
We know that God clearly said,
"I hate divorce!"
(Mal. 2:16) And so we want to reach you
you make that fatal mistake. That is the best time to deal with sin - BEFORE it occurs. Sure God has made provision for repentance and healing, but the "who can's" and "why s" involved in divorce and remarriage are so heavily debated in Church circles, we just want to stay out of the fray. (Please
write us and tell us what you think God will let
do; or "such and such a person can get a divorce and still be right with God.") Frankly, the purpose of this article is not to deal with all the "what if's." We are interested in saving the marriages (and families) that are still able to be saved.
Just as Melody's articles on abortion have been responsible for saving little human lives, we are praying that this article will save the family-lives of many homes, so that many little ones will be protected from the anguish of being brought up by separated parents - completely contrary to God's expressed plan for the family in the Bible. It is never our purpose to "wrangle about words" (II Tim. 2:14), for "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (II Cor. 3:6) We want to spread the Spirit of Christ, who "came so you might have life, and have it more abundantly!" (John 10:10) It is this "life," full of victorious battles and overcome trials, that we aim to share in this article. - Keith
Marriage Passion Or Patience?
Some time ago I received a phone call from a very sad brother who had been trying to get a hold of me by phone for many days. He shared that his wife was about to leave him, and she wouldn't listen to him or their pastor, and just didn't want to talk about it anymore. He said that the reason he was calling me was that she really liked our Newsletter and had a lot of respect for me and our ministry. He felt sure - that if I was willing, she would talk to me and maybe listen to reason. I told him that I would be glad to try to share with her. So he left the phone, and in a few moments she was there on the other end, sort of giggling nervously.
I said, "I hear you wanna go and get a divorce and end your marriage."
"Yeah," she said.
I said, "Why?"
She said, "Because I just don't love him anymore... anyway, even if we get divorced, I can still serve the Lord, and so can he."
"Well," I said, "concerning 'love,' the Bible says wives should
their husbands. It doesn't say you should
love, it says you should
Love isn't a feeling, it isn't 'romance.' It's an action based on commitment. In fact, it is COMMITMENT!"
There was silence on the other end for a few seconds. Then she said, "No one ever told me that before. I thought that if I didn't FEEL love toward my husband, then what's the use of trying to "act" loving. What's the use of pretending there's hope for our marriage when I didn't 'love' him anymore?"
"I understand," I said. "The world has perverted the concept of love so badly that people go from one relationship to another, one marriage to another, simply because the 'love' feelings are gone. The simple truth is that those feelings were never 'love' in the first place! They were merely 'romantic emotions' that come and go with the wind. They're based on moods and circumstances, but mostly on the excitement and mystique of a 'new' relationship. As soon as the "newness' wears off, you find yourself sitting across the dinner table from just another human being - and
when the challenge begins. You've made a bunch of promises - and a commitment to love and live together 'till death do us part,' - and now you'd better find out what this word 'love' really means, or there's just no hope for your marriage!"
Just then another long-distance call came in on another line and I had to go, so I prayed with that woman, right there on the phone. In the prayer I asked God to "burn these principles into her mind," so that wherever she turned, all she could see would be God's commandment to "love your husband!"
Well God's power truly fell on us during that prayer! This couple later visited with us and shared that God really healed their marriage. This woman reported that within one half hour after our phone call, she was weeping and praying with her husband. She said that I had asked God to "burn" my words into her mind, and that's
exactly what He did!
She shared that she had never understood before that love was not a feeling or an option, but a
action and a choice to keep the commitment she had made to her husband and God that she would
always love him
How free she seemed! She was no longer a slave to her "non-loving" feelings; she now understood that love was something that God had not only commanded her to do, but had
her to do.
And the feelings came after the obedience!
She said that whenever she did the loving thing, she really FELT love for her husband. How grateful Melody and I were as we saw their tears and praise to God. And as their two little girls played at our feet, we had more cause to rejoice that God had spared these little ones by keeping their daddy and mommy from destroying the family they had.
How many times have you heard this: "They're just staying together for the children." I remember the first time I heard that. I wasn't a Christian at the time, and I thought, "What a drag! How can they keep a miserable relationship together just for those kids?" Well, my wife and I now have three little precious ones of our own to bring up in the love and fear of the Lord. I now can see the reasoning of these tormented parents. They might not be able to stand each other, but they both love their children so much that they wouldn't dream of forcing them to relate to two different parents living in two different homes.
In our current "liberated" society, fewer and fewer people have unselfish standards. And unfortunately, this "me first" attitude is spilling over into the Church. Instead of couples having a primary concern for their children, they reason, "If
not happy, what's the use in keeping my children happy?" "Why, it would be better for the children to live without all this arguing…" More times than not, many of those involved in divorce came from broken homes themselves, and they have promised themselves, "I'll never do that to
kids!" And this only adds to the guilt and condemnation later if they get a divorce.
I am not suggesting that couples stay together merely because they have children. This, in itself is not enough of a reason to keep a shaky marriage together. Many people avoid dealing with the
problems in their marriages by using the "children" excuse as the "only" reason to stay together. Then they just continue despising each other in their hearts, and things grow worse. What I want to deal with now are some rules that will help you avoid ever having to deal with this question - "Should we get a divorce or stick it out?" - by replacing it with this question - "What can we do to overcome the problems we're having in our marriage, so we can make a loving home for our family, and glorify God?"
Never Say "DIVORCE!"
Awhile back I was talking with my neighbor David Wilkerson, and he shared with me his burden for all the marriages that were breaking up in the Church. He told me of ministers and church leaders he knew who were throwing in the towel. Then he said something that really hit home. "You know, Keith, God has shown me a principle that would really save a lot of marriages from ending up in divorce. Words are powerful things, and I believe that Christians should be taught that there is
word they should avoid at all costs:
I can remember when Melody and I first got married, even though we weren't yet Christians, I always said that I never would consider divorce as an option. That way I would always be forced to work through any problem. When Mr. Wilkerson shared his principle with me, I knew it was the truth.
"The tongue is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."
believe that married couples should consider "divorce" the dirtiest word in the English language. It should
be used. (Better yet, it should never be considered as even a remote possibility!) You wouldn't consider murdering your own child if he was uncontrollable, would you? You would try to work it all out. Oh, things would be trying and difficult, and you might lose your temper, but you would never consider killing him! That's exactly what divorce is - the murder of a marriage and a family. And talking divorce is
Thinking divorce is
That's the only way to consider it. You must never, NEVER use that word as a weapon in an argument. And if you've already been using it, STOP now! If you have your eye on the door, you'll never be able to straighten things out. The sooner you stop thinking and talking divorce, the sooner an atmosphere of love and trust will begin to form between you and your mate.
Other Things You Shouldn't Say
One of the most destructive things you can say to your husband or wife is, "Bill doesn't do things like that…" or, "Connie keeps
nice!" Whatever you do, don't compare your wife or husband to others to make a point. God didn't give you to Bill, He gave you to
husband, so you'd better start being grateful and quit looking at and talking about the "greener grass" at Bill's house. And God didn't allow you to marry Connie, so quit using her as an example to make your wife look like a total slob. You must begin by accepting each other the way each of you are, and then work from there in love and patience. Pointing to other people's supposed lack of problems will only hurt. Deal
directly with the problem itself
else into it.
But I Married The Wrong Person!
That might be
true! It's extremely possible that you went ahead and married the first person you "fell in love with." Or maybe you got married because you felt insecure and were thrilled that somebody actually wanted
Whatever your story is, if you got married for any other reason than obedience to God, to glorify Him, it's more than likely you married the
person (or at least the right person at the
time - for all the
Now before you breathe a sigh of relief and call your lawyer, hold on a minute. Even though you might have made your marriage commitment to the wrong person, even for completely selfish reasons,
it is STILL a commitment
and God wants you to honor it!
"When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it, for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not keep it. Do not let your speech cause you to sin, and do not say in the presence of God that 'it was a mistake.' Why should God be angry on account of your words and destroy the work of your hands?" (Ecc. 5:4-6)
Even though it may
true that you got married completely out of God's will, you must realize that it is
God's will for you to admit your mistake, ask His forgiveness, and then by His grace, make your present marriage A GODLY ONE! Don't think it's okay to get a divorce by using that quasi-religious excuse: '"Well, NOW I'm going to obey God and just "un-marry" the one He didn't want me to marry in the first place!" It might sound like a "spiritual" reason to you, but very few people are going to believe you're getting a divorce to "please God" - especially you! (Not to mention God.)
There is a wonderful promise in Romans:
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those that love God, to those who are called according to
purpose." (Rom. 8:28)
How many things?
THINGS! That's right, even our mistakes, our blunders, our downright stupid errors! God is in the business of taking garbage and making it into jewels - look at Peter (whom the Lord had to rebuke so harshly -
look at David (and his adultery with Bathsheba - who later became the mother of Solomon - the next king of Israel!), and look at YOU! Why, if God couldn't take someone's miserable, mistake-filled life and turn it around for blessing and growth, hardly anyone would go to heaven!
The Purpose Of Marriage
When Melody and I first became Christians, we had been married about a year and a half. We began going to a church that had quite a lot of teaching on marriage and the family. We were grateful for this, because we had had quite a few fights during our first year together. One of the things our pastor shared has stuck with us through it all.
He began his marriage series by telling us what God's purpose for a Christian husband was:
To make his wife a success in the Kingdom of God.
And the purpose of the wife? You guessed it:
To make her husband a success in the Kingdom of God!
But what does this mean? Does it mean making sure your husband makes a lot of money, or gets a promotion at work? Not at all. It means that our main function in marriage is to be praying for, encouraging, counseling, and correcting each other in love, so that our mate will fully please God in all they do. This is one of the most exciting teachings about marriage I have heard! After all, love means to serve others for
good. We should have as our goal to make our husband or wife the best Christian possible - in prayer, in ministry, in attitude, in service, in giving, and especially,
If you truly make this your goal, you will have no time for the selfish attitudes that have caused all the arguments you've ever had.
The Scriptures are full of riches on this subject.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present to Himself the Church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless." (Eph. 5:25-27)
This Scripture shows us that the husband should take the lead in all spiritual things as the head and priest of the household. There should be a daily time of prayer and reading of Scriptures together (as well as a time with the whole family if you have children). No couple can fight and stay bitter long, where there is a deep and sincere time of prayer together. (And beware - when you find you
can't or don't want to
pray, the enemy has got a strangle-hold on your relationship - true prayer is the
way to loosen it!)
But for you wives who now are going to bring out the excuse that your husband is not the spiritual leader he should be, and
is why you feel there is no hope for your marriage, the Bible has some medicine for you as well . . .
"In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that
even if any of them are disobedient to the Word,
they may be won
without a word
by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior." (I Pet. 3:1-2)
Ah, the balance of the Word of God!
Finally… Love, Love And Love Again!
I cannot stress enough the principle that I shared with that woman on the phone who was convinced that divorce was the only answer because she didn't "love her husband anymore." Don't fall for that trap! Love is not a feeling, it's a
I pray that God will burn this truth into your mind the same way He burned it into hers. (That's what God means when He says,
will write my laws upon their hearts," Jer. 31:33.
He wants our conscience always to be
"bearing witness to the truth" - Rom. 2:15.)
Remember, God will not do your loving for you - YOU must love your husband or wife. That means choosing to do what's best for
waiting for the right "feelings," but doing the right and loving thing NOW - don't worry, the right feelings will
follow the right action. Your marriage, your family, the body of Christ, and the cause of the Gospel depend upon you making the CHOICE to love - in all that you do.
"For love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things… let all that you do be done in love." (I Cor. 13:7; 16:14)
Keith Green, 2/21/2007
Stan in Oklahoma (Guest)
the Marriage bond can only be broken by death or the rapture.
Those that remarry after a divorce are in a perpetual state of adultery.
This is the teaching of the Lord Jesus and Paul and all the rest of Scripture.
Obedience is better than Sacrifice
I think this a very biblically based article on what to think about before devorce, or marriage for that sake. We should all count the cost before making a commitment with God.
Tom Tekker - Duplicitous Fake (Guest)
Indeed Tom Tekker is a slimy piece of garbage. A FRAUDULENT FELON!!! And I speak from first hand experience. Do not fall for his humble facade. Man of god? Not at all.
maggie in Temecula (Guest)
I feel like a failure. I was so depressed in my marriage I wanted to die! Every moment I asked God for help and strength and wisdom as to what to do, I felt even more dispair! I hated myself and my life with this man. My children kmew how miserable I was. I will now pray and ask God to help me to understand what he wants of me now. I married for all the wrong reasons. and seems like I am going to have to spend my life without ever knowing what it is like to have a healthy Godly relationship with any man ever! I did not even have a good relationship with my father. I have no experience of having had a healthy equal relationship with any man ever! God will hopefully be the only one!
Marrying after divorce (Guest)
Stan, if you are the one in adultery and you dump your husband or wife to marry another person, then yes, you are in a state of perpetual adultery until you repent, and to repent, you must turn away from that sin.
That does not mean you merely said a prayer of repentance and continued on with the adulterous relationship.
That does not mean you merely went through a divorce and marriage ceremony to "legitimize" the adulterous relationship. This is just lying and calling adultery a marriage.
When you steal a car, it doesn't become legitimately yours simply because you said, "sorry", or because the government was stupid and irresponsible enough to allow you to hold a car marriage ceremony. Truth is, if you said your vows and have no intention of keeping them, then there is no sincerity in your heart regarding wedding vows. You either hold your vows binding or you don't. Furthermore, nobody has the right to steal another woman's husband or another man's wife. You can garner all the support you want from the most respected religious and legal names on earth, but Jesus said that except for cause of "pornea" which is sexual immorality, to divorce one's spouse to marry another is adultery.
That does does not hold true when your spouse is sexually unfaithful to you. Many people are dumped by unfaithful spouses, and some pine away hoping and praying for 30 years for their unfaithful spouse to return. Others take their spouses back after they leave for someone else, and they do it several times. I knew a man whose wife left him several times coming back pregnant with different men's children.
Jesus said except for "pornea", and some people distort the meaning of that to mean "fornication" and come up with a long windy tale about Jewish betrothals where the couple is legally bound but abstinent for one year prior to consummating the marriage and that "pornea" means "fornication". So, fornication is supposed to be impossible after marriage and it would then be called "adultery", and adultery is not given by Jesus as an exception.
Therefore, they assert that a person in my situation is living in constant adultery. My first wife left me for another man and forced me through a divorce, and although I waited for her for three years after. After she broke up with him and had another man, she came back for help and comfort in a hard situation, and I took care of her. But, we never reunited romantically.
Please don't get the notion that I somehow became judgmental and disgusted with her and threw her away. She suffered from bipolar and I needed time to pray and know whether this was a result of her illness. And it wasn't until about 3 years later I felt the Lord telling me to take off the ring.
Some judge me and say that could never happen since marriage is forever. And I most certainly will never defend adultery and divorce. But neither do I feel that my actions were a compromise with sin or a caving in to sin.
At the time, I had no intention of marrying again, and I had strict standards for what would be required for me ever to marry again. I know there are people who believe whenever they have an ecstatic feeling of overwhelming lust for another person that it is God, that God has put them together. That was never the case with Eileen and me. The initial observation that we seemed perfect for each other came without much emotion, and it was quite objective and experienced by several people who knew us as well as us. Eileen looked at her list of requests for characteristics of the man she would marry and I was the first one to meet them all. She prayed for confirmation and the song, "With all that I Am" was on her mind. On the way to our wedding, God got our pastor's attention unbeknownst to us and prompted him to add that song to our songlist, and he did not know why, but he did it in obedience. He said that never happened to him before. My ex changed her mind at the last minute and left my mother standing after she took a long train ride to pick up our daughter as we had all planned and agreed she would be one of our bridesmaids, so she missed the wedding but strangely was practicing the same song at the time of our wedding. There were so many other strong confirmations all along, and we were married in 2007, and now we have a 2 week old baby boy.
Some might judge and call it adultery. They're lying. Jesus said otherwise. Some might call it hypocrisy. They're lying. The situation where we would disapprove divorcing and remarrying are not our situation, and the principles supporting an adulterous marriage are in direct opposition to God's known will while ours is in direct obedience to His Will. Some say our marriage is unbiblical. They're lying again. God does not create unbiblical unions.
And if you drive back to Deut. 24, it will show how a marriage like ours is to be regarded binding and that it is utterly forbidden by God's law and God's principle for Eileen and me to divorce so I can go back to my first wife.
Some use this passage illegitimately to support an adulterous, fake marriage, but their situation does not match this passage at all. Nobody tossed them out with a letter of divorce. They left on their own accord for an adulterous affair. The marriage vows of their first marriage were never violated by their legitimate marriage partner. All they did was carry out an illegitimate divorce and marriage ceremony desecrating the vows.
If I lie and say I'm married to Britney Spears or Lady Gaga, is it so, or would I be lying? If a person obeys temptation and disobeys Christ, does he have a moral obligation to stay in son, or come back and be part of the Bride of Christ in repentance?
My first wife had no right to divorce me. But, she gave me a right to divorce her when she went into adultery.
Maybe this makes adulterers mad, and maybe they would like to garner all the Biblical support they can to make their jilted spouses feel obligated to stay with the marriage. But, if you want God and the principles of His Word to guard and defend the legitimacy of your marriage, then you had better be faithful.
One thing I do not support is the notion that if you can get your spouse to look with lust, or buy him or her some porn to look at, or set him or her up with an affair, that somehow Jesus gave the exception of adultery to give you an "opportunity" to end your marriage and get your spouse out of your hair.
We are not to be about the business of destroying marriages. I believe Jesus' exception for adultery is to protect the children and the faithful spouse and family from being a slave to someone unfaithful who does not love sincerely, who puts the family at risk, who is perverted and selfish and willing to destroy the family and basic needs of their own children for nothing more than an affair. It is to allow the one abandoned by an adulterer to marry again without feeling obligated to remain single for life.
It isn't about sinning now and asking forgiveness later.
It is about obeying God rather than the manufactured legalistic constructions of man whether those constructions use the Bible for support or not. Most cults use the Bible for support. The difference with real Christians is that we actually believe and apply the Bible in full seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit with the intention of living it faithfully.
And frankly, sometimes it is tiring arguing with these people who hammer you with the same stupid inept theology again and again pounding the pulpit with a "Thus saith the Lord" that Lord did not truly say or mean. So the matter is closed regarding my marriage to Eileen. We're staying together. And the Bible commands what God hath put together let no man put asunder. Those who would separate us run afoul of God's direct commandment, and my stern word to them is that they should mind their own business and get out of our face if they mean to harass us for marrying. We will take responsibility for whether we are right or not.
Sorry if this is a bit abrupt.
Are you kidding me?!? (Guest)
Having been a Keith Green lover since I saw him At Calvary chapel in the 70's, I stumble across this thread.
Truly the spirit of God does not resonate in any of the texts of criticism.
When Jesus talked with a woman at a well, and it came to light that she had many husbands and was presently living with someone not her husband, Notice that Jesus did not condemn her. He did not even say "go sin no more"
No, what he did was offer the water of life.
if Anyone reads this:
Please understand that in no way do i mean to tarnish the memory of Keith Green or Melody's current state (I understand she just divorced a few years back). I went through a painful divorce with someone that i was truly in love with. She did not cheat on me or so she has maintained during our 22 year marriage.
Bottom line when she communicated to me it was as if I was communicating to two different people. One was a loving mother then other a driven opportunist who had no business being married to anyone but her forgotten ambitions. The same could be said about me. I got used to it and so did she. Then one day during a period where we/I had forsaken the Lord I did not want any more of the pain where I lived in two different realities.
I trusted myself more than God and as a result my marriage fell apart. That is when the pain began to really hit. Despite all her allegations she raised to me through the courts (anyone who has divorced can guess-I had no idea any human was capable of this malicious behavior. I am sure the other side said the same about me.)
No I am broke and practically peniless remarried to someone who recently just became a christian. One thing I will say like Keith had commented earlier, Because you feel no love or are mixed up like my ex and I was, reach out to the Lord. If no legal matters are not yet initiated find a pastor you can trust and start rebuilding your marriage. Don't listen to anyone else but your spouse. He or she might even say they hate you. If you have children and know you can maintain civility then stay living together.
It will take a while but God can rebuild anything. I was fortunate to find someone who chose to Love me and I know this is difficult to anyone who is experiencing this right now, remember God is right there next to you. If there other issues that threaten your or your children's safety then yes remove yourself from that situation immediately. Other than that just keep in mind our God is much bigger than that or any mega church can hold. He died for your marriage that he wants to bless and be Lord of all on your life.
I speak from experience, if you or your spouse cannot stomach unresolved issues, leave it to the professionals. There are churches who do not want to see any marriage suffer. But first trust on our Lord and Savior.
Congratulations. Your comments are exactly what Keith said he DIDN'T want you to write back about. Your comments have cluttered a beautiful article to the point where I no longer want to share it. I feel sick and sad. :( So many excuses...
Situations are not always so simple. I came from a Christian home where my dad would beat my mom and say horrible things to her almost every day. This was done in front of me and my sisters who were scared to death of my father every time he would come home. We would hide knowing that my mom was going to be black and blue.
The police were at our house like every weekend. My mom went to church and asked her church friends for advice. They said you can't get a divorce, it's a sin and it's not good for the kids. Our family went from being loved by the church to being made to feel like we were outcasts and not worthy of God. I have grown up to feel like a coward for not doing enough to stop my dad from beating my mom. My mom suffered so much. People should be very careful of what advice they give others. No one knows all the aspects of someone's home life and what makes them make certain decisions. God is the only fair judge.
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