Divorce Musings

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by TexasSky, May 24, 2005.

  1. TexasSky

    TexasSky
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    I get a lot of grief in my life because I am totally against divorce. The interesting thing is, I happen to BE divorced.

    I took a vow to God very seriously. If I was dating someone and discovered they were not a believer, I ceased to date them because I made a personal committment to God to marry a Christian or remain single.

    When I took my wedding vows I made a vow to God. Not to the state of Texas, not even to my spouse. I made my vow to the Almighty. I did the best I knew how to live up to that vow. The man I married had a personality change following a car accident, and part of that personality change included the announcement he was not going to be a husband and father any more. I get people who tell me its okay for me to "move on" and "meet someone else" because "he left" or "he committed adultery" or "the man he was died in the car accident." The problem is, I told God, "in sickness and in health," I told God, "For better or for worse." I told God, "Until death do us part." So, despite how the great state of Texas views it, I figure I am still, in the eyes of God, married. I try to live my life in that stand point. I still treat my ex with respect. I still include him in family events for the children.

    However, I also take the standards for leaders in God's church very seriously. I have not returned to Children's Ministry or Youth Ministry since my husband filed for divorce. Frankly, I don't think it sets a good example for children. I get grief over that. My ex teaches a Sunday School class, and people think I am "back sliding" because I don't. I don't know how you can lead children when you are. We are supposed to be their examples. I can't very well explain to them that my ex had an affair, or that he had a huge personality change for a few years and is better now. (BTW, he filed. Even after I learned of the affair I knew he was suffering a mental illness and figured if God could forgive I could forgive.)

    Well, now, I wonder about a lot of things.

    I ran into someone who told a class of single adults, all of whom were divorced, "I can show you how to be pleasing so that you won't be alone anymore." Since when was paring up divorced people the Church's job? And frankly, I would really resent being put IN a single's class for divorced people.

    I am told one of our Deacon's is divorced. I felt he should have resigned from the deacon board, but I've never said that to anyone but you folks here.

    Even though I don't blame my ex for what he did when he was having dellusions, I think he should not be teaching a Sunday School class.

    Am I too hard on the divorced? Am I too hard on myself? On my ex?
     
  2. dianetavegia

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    I salute you for standing firm on God's Word! I'm not divorced but would hold myself to those same standards.

    Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."
     
  3. Brian30755

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    I am divorced (and now remarried), and I teach an adult Sunday School class at my church. Everyone there knows I have been married before. Am I wrong to do what I know in my heart God has called me to do, or should I let the mistakes of my past (for which I've been forgiven by God) keep me from being obedient to Him now?
     
  4. TexasSky

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    Brian,

    I honestly don't really know how to respond, because I wrestle with that "am I wrong to do what I know I was called to do," part of it every day.

    I think teaching children and teaching adults is very different. There are probably many who disagree with me. I think you could tell an adult class, "I am divorced, and God has forgiven me." I also think that the fact you are willing to admit it is something we need to seek forgiveness for matters.

    I'm not trying to judge you. I promise you that.

    I'm just trying to figure out where thoes lines between "condoning" and "admitting it is wrong" and "accepting forgiveness" are.

    One thing that makes me feel Christians who are divorced need to step aside is my daughter's reaction to all of this.

    Granted, any child feels ... torn.. when their parent's divorce. My daughter almost got sucked into a cult because of our divorce.

    The Mormons were in her school, and they started teaching that in THEIR faith, marriage was forever, and marriage mattered, and marriage really IS a committment to God.

    She came to me and told me that obviously the Baptist Church was only giving lip service to that, and she wanted to convert to Mormonism because "they really were Christian."

    I told her, "Pray, read your bible, ask God to show you where you should be, and find out what the Mormons REALLY teach. I'll accept whatever God leads you to."

    She came back to me in 2 weeks telling me that God had shown her that the Mormons are NOT Christian, but saying she still was not satisfied with being Baptist.

    I told her I understood and urged her to ask God to guide her where she needed to be.

    Well, its a few years later. Her strength and faith in God has grown astronomically, and she is still Baptist. Her speciality is ministering to members of cults, specificaly she leads Mormons to Christ.

    She still though, tells me, that she is hurt by the fact that the Baptist ignore Christ when it comes to divorce. That in our efforts to say, "God loves and forgives," we have turned it into a message of "It doesn't bother God."

    You cannot imagine how much her reactions to all of this affected me. Had God not already taken my Child in His hands, had she not already been saved - Divorce could have lead her into a cult.

    As her parent, it was an awesome responsibility. My responsibility to any other child is just as great though.

    Children need to see good, Godly marriages. They need to SEE that it works in God's way.
     
  5. Brian30755

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    I totally understand where you're coming from, TexasSky. I struggled with this at first, too. It was only through much prayer that I received peace from God about it. I was actually asked to be a Deacon at my church, which I turned down because of the "husband of one wife" thing.....but also I turned it down because I just didn't believe it was my "calling". Yes, I believe you should have a calling to be a Deacon. Anyway, I do totally understand your position, and I respect it. I just know this: Yes, God does hate divorce, but he doesn't hate divorced people.
     
  6. Scott J

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    Much of this will ultimately be determined by your convictions.

    There was a long running thread awhile back that discussed the issue of whether a deacon could be divorced. I took the strict literalist approach to interpretting the texts of the Bible that deal with the subject. When Jesus said that divorce could be justified by fornication, I take Him literally. When Paul said that a believer was obligated to try to make a marriage work but was free if abandoned by the spouse, I accept the authority of his teaching.

    And, when the Bible says that a church leader must be a "one woman man" then that is the principle to follow. The only two literal approaches to those words is that the disqualify any man that has ever had any thought, emotion, or action toward a woman that would be considered unfaithful if done during marriage or else it means that the man's present, demonstrated character is that of one who is faithful and devoted to his spouse.

    The idea that those texts deal with (or even exclusively deal with as some seem to contend) divorce is purely interpretative.

    To answer your questions:

    I think you may be too hard on the divorced party who is biblically in the "right". IMO, you perhaps aren't hard enough on your ex. His actions are inexcuseable.

    I think you are definitely being too hard on yourself.

    Again, not hard enough on your ex... especially if he has gone on with life in the church as if he did nothing wrong.
     
  7. exscentric

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    TexasSky I think you are right on, follow your leading from God. You can find someone to tell you anything, but your conviction from the Word is the thing you are in need of following.

    My sister-in-law (and many others) went from counciler to counciler till she found one that said she should get a divorce - she did :-(

    What is right is in the word, not in the minds of men.
     
  8. Scott J

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    Sidenote:


    My wife and I had a Mormon couple as neighbors a few years ago. In an effort to understand and witness to them, we read several books on Mormonism... one in particular was by an ex-Mormon.

    Statistically, Mormons had a slightly higher rate of divorce and illegitimacy than the US population as a whole. The couple in question "had" to get married... and she admitted to my wife that she had doubts about whether their first child belonged to the husband or another guy. They go to great lengths to cover these things up and preserve the wholesome facade cultivated over the years.

    I think they may even have something like the RCC's annullment so that they don't have to call divorce, divorce.
     
  9. Scott J

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    I hope you won't think me boastful...

    BUT, I believe that my wife and I have the best marriage I know... and she was divorced before our marriage. I am not ashamed to present my wife to our children or the church children as an example of how Christian lady should behave nor am I hesitant about our marriage being a godly example to the young people in our church.

    We condemn divorce in the same way God's Word does... but that does not include a condemnation of divorcees or restrictions on divorcees beyond the literal declarations of God's Word.
     
  10. paidagogos

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    I recommend your reading of The Divorce Myth by J. Carl Laney. Our views on divorce should be determined by what Scripture says rather than what we think or feel. Also, we must reject any so-called extra-Biblical revelation based on God gave me peace about . . . . It was very clearly stated by Jesus in Matthew 19:4-9 that God's intentions from the beginning were one man married to one worman for life.
     
  11. Scott J

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    Not familiar with him. What is his conclusion? q
    Absolutely.
    ... as well as extra-biblical revelations based upon what I or some teacher gave me guilt about.
    It is just as clear from that very same passage that Jesus made an exception for "fornication". The understanding implicit in the discussion of Moses allowance of divorce is that putting away allowed for remarriage since remarriage was the whole point of being able to "put away" a woman that was not pleasing to her husband.
     
  12. Gregory Perry Sr.

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    Paid...I havent read that book but I'm sure Bro.Laney is giving what HE believes the Bible says about the subject matter just like EVERY OTHER AUTHOR.That doesn't make what he says wrong but knowing firsthand that many good men of God have widely differing opinions on this subject,I would say his would be subject to scrutiny just like all the others.....and yes...I am divorced...TWICE...both times I was WALKED OUT ON and both times they divorced ME.Both of them went on to remarry(I have not as of yet)and the first one has been remarried several times(she is a BJU graduate).The second one remarried to a guy she met on the INTERNET while she was married to ME.Believe me....I have heard it ALL....and as a christian who has BEEN THERE I have studied this as thoroughly as I know how.I won't at this time share my own convictions with you.All I will say is that this is NOT a black and white subject or a "one size fits all" topic.I pray constantly for GRACE to be able to endure much of what I see and hear when it comes to this.

    Greg Sr.
     
  13. Brian30755

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    I don't think anyone is disagreeing with this (whatever a worman is :confused: ).

    The question I have is, once someone HAS messed up, once they HAVE divorced......what then? What if they didn't mess up at all? What if they were walked out on?

    Now, what if God calls them to preach, or teach, or be a deacon? I know of at least one church in the little town I live in that will not even allow a divorced person to become a member.

    We all can see and believe that God is against divorce. No question about that. But if it does happen, is one's spiritual life completely over?
     
  14. Gregory Perry Sr.

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    [​IMG] Brian...Brother...didn't you get the memo?Among many "fundamentalists"(and I consider myself one)divorce might as well be the unpardonable sin.It's like you came down with the plague.I know...I've been there.I suffered more pain at the hands of some of my "brethren" than I ever did at the hands of the women who seperated from me and filed for divorce to "put me away".They just abandoned their "vows" they made when life got tough(mostly about $$$$).More sad than that,many of my "christian brethren" abandoned me.Do I sound bitter?Well I'm not....worked through all that long ago....but I must tell this like it was and sometimes still is.I'm sure I'm not alone.
    Now...all that said I do want to add that I do personally believe that a divorced man SHOULD NOT be a pastor or a deacon and I would never consider either position myself.Why? Well...it's this simple...A Pastor or a Deacon is in a leadership position and as such must be blameless and as much as lieth in him be above reproach and an example to the believers.As for divorcees,even if the man was the "innocent" party the truth is that no man can honestly say he was TOTALLY BLAMELESS in the failure of a marriage.There will always be that question mark on what really happened.The woman still has no BIBLICAL excuse for leaving....but there still is no such thing as a perfect man(or woman).I do believe a divorced and remarried man CAN STILL PREACH or do the work of an Evangelist...or even teach sunday school.The Bible does NOT prohibit any of that.But...to Pastor a church or lead as a Deacon does carry a higher standard of purity upon the office they hold.JMO....but I believe the scriptures bear that out.I could never have a high degree of confidence in any divorced man standing in the pulpit trying to teach me how to have a good marriage(among other things).I just get MAD :mad: (or should I say righteously indignant) when some of these "preachers" get up and relegate their divorced church members to "second class" status when many of them do not even have their own homes (and children) in order.Most of these people are already WOUNDED enough.Like I said...been there,done that,got the scars and wasted years to prove it.Some people get so beat up they NEVER recover from it.Thank our Merciful God.....I did...by HIS Grace!

    Greg Sr. [​IMG]
     
  15. Copper

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    Hi Texassky,

    I tend to agree with you that divorce is a horrible thing. However, being divorced does not and should not prohibit you from service to the Lord.

    There are only two offices in the New Testament church; Pastor and Deacon. These two offices have certain Biblical criteria that must be met; one of which is the husband of one wife. There are no other positions with similar criteria. You are not prohibited from being a Sunday School teacher, bus worker, nursery worker, doorknocker, etc.

    While I understand that you want to present a pristine lifestyle to impressionable children, the bottom line is - none of us are pristine or perfect. We've all failed. As long as we are wearing flesh - we're going to sin and make mistakes.

    Divorce is just one of many sins and there is no sin greater than another.

    However, I need to segway a moment to an item of note that I would invite you to think about...

    In the Old Testament, when someone committed adultery, what happened to them? They were put to death, correct? In the New Testament, do you recall the woman who was caught in the act of adultery and they were going to stone her? Jesus said, let he who is without sin cast the first stone? Well, if Jesus hadn't said that and stopped her from being stoned to death for adultery, what would have happened to her husband? Would he have become a divorced man or a widower, upon her death? He would be a widower. And as a widower, would he then be eligible to remarry? You betcha.

    Having said that - does the New Testament only have compassion for the adulterer and not the injured spouse?

    Is Law really more compassionate than Grace?

    Just my two cents,
    Copper
     
  16. TexasSky

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    Thank you all.
    You have all given me a lot to pray and think about.

    I certainly don't want divorced, or remarried, people to be persecuted, prohibited from serving God or to wear a Scarlet Letter.

    Wasn't Paul divorced?

    I do worry about contributing to the image that divorce is really nothing major from a spiritual standpoint.

    I know what Christ said. Any Christian IN a divorce probably falls asleep at night asking Christ about that verse. However, for me, it wasn't what He said there, it was the words I said at my wedding.

    A vow to God.
    Did they even make those at weddings back in Christ's day?

    I mean - how do you back down on vows to God without REALLY screwing up?
     
  17. Copper

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    You didn't.

    Marriage is a covenant. A vow taken TO God. You are treating it with the correct respect and duty and I admire you for it. More Christians should realize the importance of marriage and divorce.

    But your husband left you. He broke the covenant by being with another woman. If this were the Old Testament, he would be ... dead. [​IMG]

    Blessings,
    Copper
     
  18. Thankful

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    I really can't speak from experience because fortunately, I have not experienced divorce personally, nor any of my family. I am against divorce, but each situation is different.

    My input to TexasSky's problem is that one person cannot be responsible for another person's actions.

    From the information that you have provided, I would say that you have kept your vows to God. Your husband divorced you. He broke the vows of marriage and it appears that you do have a Biblical basis to remarry if you wish. But it is really between you and God.

    Now as to working with children...I doubt that any child would even know that you are divorced unless you tell them. Children are usually not concerned with the problems that we adults have unless they are like your daughter actually involved in a divorce.

    There are people in my church who are divorced and there is no way that I would even know about it if some person didn't tell me.

    Our church does stand firm on no one who is divorced can be a pastor or a deacon, but we do have other very dedicated workers who are divorced, remarried, and are a Godly example for others.

    From my observation, there is life after divorce, and it is not the unpardonable sin.

    Your solution might be to go to a different church than your husband. Just a thought.
     
  19. exscentric

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    TexasSky asked "Wasn't Paul divorced?"

    Was he? References might be nice.
     
  20. dianetavegia

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    Must be in the book of Hezekiah! :rolleyes:
     

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