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“When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.’”—Mark 10:10–12 (NIV)
A topic like divorce is a delicate one for sure and, sadly, statistics show that only half of marriages both inside and outside of the church survive. I can speak from personal experience how painful divorce can be, so I come to today’s topic with a sense of humility and reverence for what God’s Word says about it.
Read on its own, this passage seems to indicate that remarriage is not an option for the believer, which can feel disheartening for anyone who’s been through a divorce and is hoping to remarry. But it’s important we consider “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27 NKJV) and not take a single verse at face value.
In Matthew’s more detailed account of this event, Jesus said, “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9 NKJV). Later, Paul added a provision for divorce when an unbelieving spouse abandons the relationship (1 Corinthians 7:15). Clearly, God allows for divorce and remarriage under certain circumstances—but not for any and every reason.
As Jesus noted earlier in the chapter, divorce was never God’s original intent when He brought men and women together in the covenant of marriage. Just as we must enter into marriage seriously, we also need to consider divorce as a very weighty decision that requires fervent prayer and godly counsel.
In his commentary on Mark 10, David Guzik says, “We must come to grips with the fact that marriage, as a promise made to God, our spouse, and the world, is a binding promise and cannot be broken at our own discretion. There are certain cases where God allows the promise to be dissolved, but it is up to God and not to us.”
If you are in a difficult season in your marriage where divorce seems like the only option, I encourage you to talk to your pastor and seek counseling to reconcile whatever differences are driving you apart. It may be that separation is required for a season, but God’s heart is to bring healing where there’s brokenness.
To those who are divorced, I’d like to encourage you to seek Jesus and His will for your life before looking for another spouse. He may have someone in mind for you but leave that decision to Him and ask Him to heal the hurt you may still feel over the loss of your marriage.
Regardless of the circumstances, know that He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
Pause: Why do you think God put such strict parameters around divorce? Is there something God wants to speak to your heart about today’s passage?
Practice: If you’re married and are considering divorce or are divorced and looking to remarry, schedule a time to talk to your pastor or a Christian counselor about your intentions. If you’re single or engaged to be married, take time to search the Scriptures and consider the gravity of the marriage covenant before entering into it.
Pray: Jesus, help me to surrender whatever decision I’m considering making about marriage or divorce to Your will, not mine. I want to honor Your Word and the covenant of marriage You created, and I trust You with the outcome. Amen.
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.