Christian divorce can be confusing for everyone. Fellow Christians don’t know what to say and church staff can be lost as to how to help. This means opportunities to support healing may be missed. This series of 4 posts dispels myths about divorce and intends to inspire the church and its members to reach out to those who hurt from divorce with understanding, compassion and the redemptive love of God. This post on faith and divorce is part 4 of the series.
Faith and Divorce
We are clear that God can do immeasurably more than we hope or imagine. So, when a person is facing divorce, our natural faith-driven instinct is to highlight this truth of the Christian faith. We want to do what we can to encourage trusting God for healing in the marriage. That’s first priority.
And, because we know the power of God, we can be quick to assume that the person who is accepting divorce as their reality simply hasn’t given God time to work, or believed hard enough in God’s faithfulness. Faith and divorce just don’t seem to go together.
You don’t have enough faith, we think or say.
And sometimes it’s true. Sometimes people need to be challenged to give more to their marriages and to believe more in God’s ability and willingness to work. These people need to trust more wholeheartedly in God’s timing, faithfulness, and power. They need to be still and wait.
We know that saving a marriage requires fighting for it. To save a marriage a couple needs faith in God and a determination to act to create a healthy union. Add to this knowledge our beliefs about the sanctity of marriage, and our knowledge of the devastation of divorce, and we may come to believe that if a person accepts divorce, he or she just doesn’t have enough faith.
But, is this always the case?
I’ve worked with many Christians who have endured, believed, sacrificed, had extraordinary faith in God, and still found themselves facing divorce. Divorce wasn’t a product of their lack of faith. When fellow Christians told them to “have more faith,” it felt like a judgement rather than an encouragement. It suggests that this divorce wouldn’t be happening if you had more faith.
When a person has had tons of faith but their marriage fails, the explanation can often be found in how their mate is responding to, or failing to respond to God. The person’s mate may choose divorce or behave in a way that results in the divorce.
It’s true, faithful people can find themselves divorced. Generally, it is a difficult if not devastating experience. Many struggle with how to move forward with their lives.
For these Christians, accepting divorce doesn’t reflect a lack of faith.
Accepting divorce is the beginning of their healing. Accepting divorce allows them to let go of the past and begin to prayerfully rely on God to help them heal the deep wounds of divorce. It is a time to accept forgiveness and learn how to forgive. Accepting divorce at this point, claims the promise that God can indeed redeem a person’s life and bring beauty out of chaos.
For these people, accepting divorce is indeed an act of faith.
Other Topics in this Series on Myths:
Revised. Originally published October 23, 2018.
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Series Topic: Myths about Christian Divorce – Faith and Divorce