Exerpt: "God is My Witness"
Making a Case for Biblical Divorce
My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. Psalm 7:10
While people may misunderstand me, God cannot. And while others may not see where my heart lies, He does. I take great comfort in that, for I will, at times, be misunderstood, misrepresented and misjudged. Yet my shield is with God.
I am a divorcee. For some, that alone provides adequate cause for some to discredit any insight I may have to offer. In truth, such readers are precisely the people who, if I may be so bold, should continue reading.
In fact, it is as a direct result of my blemished history, bolstered by my love for the One who has redeemed me, that I have ventured to accept this undertaking. This work began – as with all such works – with a question. What about divorce?
I entered this seemingly dangerous realm, not to justify the road I have traveled, but to more clearly understand it - from God’s perspective. For there was without question a moment when the Lord released me from my 18-year marriage bond to my abusive husband. Yet, just as assuredly, even years after, I come across countless columns and commentaries stating without apology that Christian divorce is unacceptable in all circumstances or (in some more lenient texts) acceptable only if adultery has poisoned the relationship. And, I wonder where I, and others like me, fit in that little box. I have contemplated whether the box was created by God – or man. Or, at the other extreme, if there is no box at all.
There are those within the body of believers who, once informed of my marriage failure, assert a mysterious, almost divine right to know why it occurred. There is often a design to assess the circumstances surrounding the divorce, conjecture as to which of the married partners may have inflicted the most damage, and conclude who is ultimately to blame. Judgment is cursory, and many first-marriage believers seem to believe they hold to a higher rung of righteousness on the ladder of spirituality. And, according to the letter of the law, divorce may not be considered adequate to avoid the label of “adulterer” or, in my case “adulteress.” In fact, divorce may provoke the label rather than free one from it.
Then why, I wonder, am I free? Why am I not condemned? Why have I sensed God’s comfort, His compassion and affirmation? How could I have experienced such a rich peace as my personal Father-God walked with me through every step of my divorce process if what I had done was clearly out of line with God’s will? How could God release me from my marriage if being released is absolutely contrary to His word? What exotic or unexplored piece of this puzzle was missing? As I have been set free, have not others similarly been set free?
I certainly do not claim to be an exception to any rule or theological truth. So, the wholeness of my relationship with God while simultaneously being wholly wrong is inconsistent, if not spiritually impossible. The legalists would assert that I was not supposed to be divorced (or remarried) and still be contented, let alone blessed. Certainly, under the law, I should be burdened with some measure of conviction.
As I have pored over the Scriptures, searching for a lawful explanation for the peace I enjoy, tenets of the law have at times felt incredibly strict, unforgiving, or downright harsh. But, as I have sought God’s heart, the Holy Spirit has moved me, not away from the law, but beyond it, and toward the love of God – His higher law.
Although there are times when we choose the law over love, Jesus did just the opposite. He did not nullify the law, He fulfilled it. And our relationship with Him becomes all the law we need.
Yet what I have “discovered” is not new at all. The truth radiates through every page, parable and psalm. My discoveries are altogether obvious and simple, yet wondrous. The challenge is to adequately present to the reader the message that we seem to have taken for granted, assumed we have understood, yet so often overlooked. Sometimes we look too narrowly, too deeply, too rigidly and miss the simple beauty that our Creator has set literally right before our eyes.
For while I searched the Scriptures for a lawful explanation for my situation and others in similar ones, the Lord enlarged my perspective, taking me far beyond my scope of sight, showing me that the end game is not about the law at all. Nor is it about how people see me; it’s about who God is. It’s all about relationship. This life, and my small role in it, is about my love for the Lord, and His love for me. It revolves far less around what I do and far more around my motives and how the unique personal touch of the Holy Spirit in my life is manifested. He alone justifies. He alone sees what lies in my heart. And, while God does not see perfection, He sees who I am and hope to be in Him.
To be forthright, I have actually petitioned the Lord to release me from what I have felt is a calling on my life to write this. I feel inadequate, unworthy and more than a little intimidated by the nature of the subject matter. Yet, I have also sensed His conviction, affirmation and blessing, and therefore I must press on.
So, the journey begins.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Galatians 5:18
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