31 It was said: “Whoever should divorce his wife must give her a letter of divorce.”
32 Now I tell you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on account of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery, and whoever shall marry a woman who has been divorced, commits adultery.
The next part of the teaching of Jesus concerns divorce, and its consequences.
When dealing with those going through a divorce we need to have compassion for them, seeking to bring the love of Jesus into their situation.
No matter in what way we look at divorce it is a failure of two people to be true to their wedding promises to love one another, care for one another, cherish one another in the good times and the bad times.
Perhaps it is true to say that it in the UK it has never been easier to obtain a divorce, although it can be difficult to negotiate the legalities of divorce proceedings.
Up until relatively recent times divorce was mainly restricted to the rich and famous.
However, today perhaps most of us know of someone who is divorced, and are on the second, or even third marriage. There can be no denying that divorce is not something to be envied, since it causes such a lot of anguish to the couples involved and their families. Children are particularly vulnerable at this time.
There are many who would argue that it is better to bring an unhappy marriage to an end, so that children are removed from a family setting where the parents are constantly warring with each other.
There may be some truth in this, but divorce has become an option that is against God’s plan and purpose for a man and woman.
God’s word tells us plainly:
“For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife” – Malachi 2.16 (NLT).
These are very strong words, which should be taken into account by those contemplating divorce.
Obviously there are many reasons why couples seek to get divorced, and some of those reasons may be sound grounds for wanting to bring a marriage to an end, such as physical or mental abuse. No one should be subject to this.
The only reason that Jesus gives for divorce is adultery, and this is only found in Matthew’s gospel. It is still the most valid reason for divorce in the UK (55%). Other reasons for divorce are: lack of preparation; Excessive arguing; Unreasonable behaviour; and lack of equality.