America’s Favoriate Pastime: Divorce

What does Jesus have to say about divorce?

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.

Matt 19:5-6

That seems pretty clear

But they weren’t satisfied with his answer, and the pressed him

Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?

Matt 19:7

This is as if to say “oh yea, well what about this situation…”

The way I usually hear it as “well, if they cheat on you, you are ‘a-okay’ to get a divorce…” or “you can have a ‘biblical divorce’ if they commit adultery”


I have found that these kinds of questions “what are the biblical reasons for divorce” are the wrong kinds of questions to ask. We should not be asking “what’s the worst thing I can do and still not technically be sinning?”

This must break God’s heart. What if your child comes to you before her first date one-on-one with a boy and she says “how far can I go…?” I’ll tell you how far, no more than 3-feet away from me and my guns!!!

Can’t you see the analogy? “What is sin God, so I can get as close to the line as possible…”

What Jesus says about a “biblical divorce” is this:

Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.

Matt 19:8-9

So it’s not as though you are simply allowed to get a divorce if your spouse cheats, that’s a pretty low bar, Jesus says IF you REMARRY except for adultery, you are causing adultery. That doesn’t make it “okay” to divorce under these circumstances. In other worlds, divorce ALWAYS involves adultery. That’s far from an “approved reason” for divorce.

The recommended action in a broken marriage is forgiveness, after all, have we not been forgiven for much worse against God?

forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

Luke 11:4

Obviously, if you are divorced, or even going through a divorce, or perhaps will go through a divorce, FORGIVENESS is God’s method of dealing with us as well. So, it’s not the unforgivable sin, it’s not something you can’t come back from, you are not destroyed beyond repair, FAR FROM IT! This is the exact thing God does, He saves, He forgives… this is why Jesus came and died!

So, the biblical teaching on divorce is summarized as this: “if at all possible, don’t do it”

what do you think? 

About John Harris

I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

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  • Linda Garcia

    John what about women who are physically abused. What should they do?

  • (1) Press charges; (2) document EVERYTHING; (3) legally protect one’s self and children (separation, restraining order, etc.) (4) if he claims to be a Christian, the deacons from his church need to be all over him; (5) pray like crazy.

  • Did I reply to this? Maybe not. So, I’d just say, if a woman is abused, she needs to protect herself and her children. we are called to submit to each other as is right in the Lord. So, we are never called to break God’s law, obey God not men… but divorce should not be our first resort. Sometimes, for full protection, divorce cannot be avoided, but I do think we run to divorce far too quickly.

  • Dolly Dee

    They should either do as I did for many years and suck it up and learn how to use make up really well or do like I finally did and turn their backs on God and accept that hell is their new home because they are Jezebels.