What About Remarriage?
Deborah was back in church growing in the Lord and learning about marriage and relationships. So, it is no surprise that she would wonder if remarriage was acceptable or would be part of her future. "After I had divorced, I read the Word and attended courses on marriage and was convicted about my divorces. And, I eventually became convinced that I could not remarry."
There are at least four views that Deborah could have heard about marrying after a divorce. Remarriage is...
- ...not permitted - it is the same as adultery
- ...permitted in all situations
- ...only permitted if immorality was the reason for the divorce
- ...permitted if it is a Biblical divorce.
If you have divorced, are you sinning if you remarry? Go get the details in the GR8 Relationships chapter 11 videos. You will see some critical explanation about remarriage in those videos. One of the videos is below.
For now, here's the big idea. The Greek words used in the critical verses need to be distinguished as either "send away" (apoluo) or "divorce" (apostasion). In a critical passage like Matthew 5:31-32, you can gain clarity when you are careful to identify "send away" from "divorce". Here is a clear and valid option on how the verse could be paraphrased. Matthew 5:31-32:
31 Furthermore it has been said, “Whoever sends away (apoluo) his wife, let him give her a certificate of innocence (apostasion).
32 But I say unto you, that whoever sends away (apoluo) his wife, except for sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery when she remarries (because she did not get a certificate of innocence – apostasion); and whoever marries a woman that is sent away (apoluo) commits adultery (because she did not receive a certificate of innocence).
We know this appears that we are advocating divorce, or, if not that, then we are certainly making it easier for people to consider divorce. That is not true nor the intent! When promoting freedom and grace, some people see that as giving people a license to sin or saying sin isn't that bad. Obviously, that isn't the message of grace, so too, providing this clear view of divorce in no way promotes a speed lane to divorce.
There are hard-hearted people that are unwilling to pursue the best for their spouse which often leads to divorce and its consequences. But one of the consequences that we want to remove is the confusion related to remarriage and the feeling that divorce puts a red letter on your life relegating you to being a second class citizen in the kingdom.
If divorced, you have an option like in the Matrix - Red pill (God's way) or Blue pill (my way). Which one will you choose?
The family system you grew up in will help or hurt. It was a key factor that kept Louie and I from divorce. It wasn't part of either of our families and it had a strong effect on our thinking, as well as, believing divorce would compound our problems. And, Deborah grew up in a system that was against divorce, but she was unwilling to stay, because she listened to her friends and her own thinking. So, it can be a deterrent, but it is not a preventative.
Deborah, wonders whether it was the right thing for her to not remarry. Often fear plays a major part in that decision - you certainly don't want to experience that pain again. You are not a child of God that He has somehow lost - He knows exactly where you are. The bigger issue is your willingness to choose what is right today and move forward. If your divorce is in the past, it is part of what God has allowed to happen. Trust God's sovereignty and perfection to redeem your past, it is part of how He can use you most effectively. And, look to God's sovereignty for the future. Remarriage could be in your future, but it all starts with today - be responsible today, choose the Red Pill - God's way and He will guide you!
Remember the Ezekiel 18:21-32 (click here for radio show - click here email) - if a man is doing wrong and starts doing right, he will live. If he was doing right and starts doing wrong, he will die. What is the message again - today, right now, get into God's Word and do what is right - don't let the past fool you into thinking bad decisions today will be outweighed by good decisions in the past or vice versa. Not true, the decision today is the only thing you can do anything about. Do right - NOW, that is the only way to REAL life (Ezekiel 18:32, Romans 6:23).
One last consideration, is no fault divorce actually a divorce? If there is "no fault", there is no contract that was broken. I am not sure how to deal with no fault divorce. It is definitely within the legal elements of society, but that doesn't make it right. I am still wondering about that. If that is what you are considering, it would be better to focus your energy on simply pursuing the best for your spouse, even if you are at the point of hating them. After all, God did say that we are to love our enemies. And too often, marriages create enemies! But, don't let a sinful, hard heart choose a bad option and the pain associated with it.
GR8 Relationships—Pursuing the BEST in work, in life, in love.
Right Thinking—Right Relationships—Right NOW!!