Many Christians have just one answer when people ask them about divorce. ‘Marriage is for life,’ they say. ‘A husband and wife must stay together until one of them dies.’
Paul gave a more practical answer to that question.
Firstly, Paul agreed that marriage is for life. He explained that this was not just his idea. God wanted husbands and wives to remain married for their whole lives. Jesus taught that in Mark 10:2-12, and Paul believed it.
So Paul taught that husbands and wives should remain together. That is, they should remain married. Of course, sometimes a husband and wife have to live apart because of work or other duties. But they should still love each other and they should look after each other.
But Paul also understood that husbands and wives can have very serious troubles. He knew that sometimes a wife considers it necessary to leave her husband. For example, she might have to leave home because of his cruelty.
Paul taught that such a woman should not remarry. Perhaps God would answer her prayers for her husband, and she would be able to return to him. But otherwise, she should live as an unmarried woman does. He believed that it was wrong for her to marry another man during her husband’s life (see Mark 10:11-12; but also study Matthew 19:9.)
Sometimes Christians will not forgive a person who divorces. Sometimes they may act in an unkind manner towards someone who has remarried. But God is not like that. He is ready to forgive whatever wrong things we may do (1 John 1:9). Read what Jesus said in Luke 7:36-50 and John 4:4-42. Then think about the women in those passages.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.