Divorce affects a lot of people in our community. Many people in the church have been through it themselves. Some are in the midst of divorce right now. And many people know about divorce from a different angle, growing up with two homes—one for mommy, and one for daddy.

Sadly, many Christians talk about divorce as if it’s the unforgivable sin, the one line in life that once you cross it, you can never really recover from. Many divorced have been told—and believe—that their divorce means condemnation. They think that God has given up on them. It’s as if you are wearing a Scarlet D that demonstrates to God and the world that you are a divorcée, and a second class Christian.

I feel the need to be abundantly clear on this: divorce is not the unforgivable sin. As a Christian, the only scarlet God sees on you is the blood of Christ, which covers your sins and presents you before God as his blameless child.

This is not to imply, of course, that God enjoys divorce. When Jesus was asked by the Pharisees about divorce, he responded, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” In fact, “Whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” (Matt 19:8, 9).

The Pharisees, you see, thought they had trapped Jesus. (No one told them, I guess, that it’s never smart to get in a game of wits with Jesus, especially when the topic is Bible). But Jesus points out to them that God allowed for divorce; he didn’t command it. Divorce was a concession, something God allows because of man’s fallen condition. But from the beginning God intended something else—a lifelong, covenant relationship, reflecting God’s covenant with us.

If you’re divorced, this can be a tough truth. “See?” You say, “God hates divorce. He hates me.” Not quite. Yes, God hates divorce. But the reason he hates divorce is that he loves you. If you are facing difficult times in your marriage—you’re separated or headed for divorce—you should do all that you can to reconcile the marriage. Ask for help. Seek counseling. Pray to God to heal your marriage. And give him time to do it. Our God is about reconciliation, and you never know what he can do unless you give him the chance.

But does God hate you? No. In fact, God himself knows the experience of divorce. In Jeremiah 3:8, God has the audacity to call himself a divorced person! That’s the sort of thing that I’m glad he said himself. Of course, the major difference between God’s “divorce” and ours is that our divorces always involve sin on both sides; for God, we were faithless while he was completely faithful.

Don’t miss, however, what follows God’s pronouncement of divorce: reconciliation (Jer 3:11–14). Whether you reconcile with your spouse or not, God desires reconciliation with you. If you trust him, then when he looks on you, he doesn’t see a divorced person: he sees Christ, who took your sin and gave you his perfection.

And never underestimate the redemptive power of God in the midst of a broken situation. Just think, for instance, of David and Bathsheba. That relationship started under the worst of circumstances: Bathsheba cheated on her husband Uriah, and David eventually killed him to cover it up. And yet it is from David and Bathsheba—generations later—that God brings Jesus Christ. God brought Jesus out of a sexual relationship that began as an illicit affair and led to murder.

Why would God do it this way? Because, as Tim Keller says, “God is trying to say to all of us, ‘I love redeeming the worst situations. I love redeeming the hardest cases. Go ahead, try me.’”

Our relationships may be broken. Perhaps they are dead. But ours is a God of resurrection, and just as he overturned the curse of Jesus’ death, he can overturn the curse of a broken marriage. The empty tomb is the answer for a soul broken by divorce. So go ahead: try him. Open your broken heart to him, and see if he won’t heal you. He hasn’t changed: his cross still assures you of his endless compassion; and the empty tomb assures you of his endless power.

 

For more, be sure to listen to the entire message here.