How many of you here have been a participant in a divorce or you are the child of divorced parents? The sheer number of raised hands is all the justification that is needed for this sermon today. There is a grieving process that is, in many ways, worse than the death of a spouse because it goes on and on. Lest you think I am going to beat you over the head, rest easy. Before this sermon is ended, I plan to offer you a ray of hope out of your pit of despair. [A sermon preached by Dr. Arnold Lastinger. Used with permission]
“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and the one who is guilty of violence,” says the LORD who rules over all. “Pay attention to your conscience, and do not be unfaithful.” (Malachi 2:16)
1. The effects of Divorce
On the Man and Woman:
I. It causes a great sense of failure (what could I have done differently?); guilt (what’s wrong with me as a wife/husband) and insecurity (not having someone to lean on for support).
II. It causes financial difficulty: The income of a married couple at the age of 51-61 is approx. $132,200/- The income of a divorced person doesn’t exceed $33,700 (Source: Time Magazine Sep 25th, 2000)
III. One spouse has to do all the parenting; the other is deprived of the parenting role altogether, with no emotional support. What about loneliness and lack of meaningful sexual fulfillment.
On their Children:
I. According to Time Magazine new research says long-term damage is worse than you thought. Should unhappy parents stay hitched?”
II. Divorcing parents set the stage for their own children’s future divorces. Time reports that because of their fear of marriage, “Children from broken families tend to marry later, yet divorce more often than those from intact homes.”
III. Personally, the absence of a husband/father role model in my life nearly destroyed my home and family until God intervened. The point is well-made; no need to belabor the obvious.
2. Root causes of Divorce
I. We are a pampered society; we want what we want. We will not be flexible even if it will cost us our marriage.
II. Unwilling to give and take. Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition! It is each partner being willing to submit to the other. “Love seeks not its own way!” (I Corinthians 13:5)
III. Men love to quote Ephesians 5:22. but the preceding verse advises us to submit to each other.
Lack of Commitment:
I. Back doors breed insecurity in marriage. Tell your spouse in front of your children, “No matter what. I will never leave you!”
II. The “D-word” should never be uttered in a home; it breaks trust and breeds insecurity.
III. Personal: My wife and I made that vow on our wedding night. It’s still not too late to do that.
I. Saying “I do!” doesn’t make us mind-readers. We need to communicate in order to understand each other’s needs.
II. Never permit sighs, door slamming, throat clearing, tossing & turning, and silent treatment to substitute communication.
III. An argument signals a breakdown in communication. Learn to listen to your spouse. Work at communicating. Get help if needed.
3. The biblical view of Divorce
Biblical grounds for Divorce:
I. On the grounds of habitual adultery, (Matthew 19:9). A single case of infidelity does not qualify! There must be a pattern of infidelity because Jesus’ higher law is to forgive and restore the offender.
II. On the grounds of abandonment, (1 Corinthians 7:15). Does not count unless you make a significant attempt to reconcile.
III. In case of physical abuse time of separation with the goal of repentance and restoration should be the ideal, not necessarily immediately beginning divorce proceedings, (1 Corinthians 7:10-11).
A. In the Present:
Determine that divorce is not the answer; not an option and that doing nothing is not an option. Seek help to resolve the conflict areas in your marriage. Develop a “contract” with your spouse, spelling out your expectations of each other; make sure both agree.
B. In the Past:
If it happened before you were saved, forget it! God already has! Life proceeds as if you had never been married. If there is still a possibility of reconciliation, then pursue it. If, as a Christian, you knowingly disobeyed God’s Word and pursued a divorce, you have not committed the unpardonable sin, But: You do not have the right to remarry! And the consequences of your sin will follow.
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