What God Hates
Let me begin by saying this article is not directed at anyone or any couple in particular; it is a lesson the whole Church needs to hear again and again. So if you think I’m talking about you, you’re wrong, and – by the way – I love you, whoever you are!
Can God, whom the Bible describes as the very personification of love – we even sing God Is Love – hate anything? Well, Proverbs 6: 16-19 tells us seven “things” God hates, and all of us would do well to read and re-read them. But in total I don’t think the Bible tells us God hates a great many things.
One thing, however, that the Bible says God hates might surprise us, especially when we consider how lightly the world – and sometimes even the Church -- takes it.
“I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “because the man who divorces his wife does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.” – Malachi 2:16 (NIV)
That’s right: God hates divorce! He even tells us why – because divorce is so hurtful (“does violence”) to his children -- and God loves us so much he doesn’t want anything to hurt us unnecessarily. Jesus was clear on the only scriptural reason for divorce. “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” – Matt. 19:9
Later, the Holy Spirit, speaking through the great Apostle Paul, would condone remarriage for the innocent victim of adultery. Still, Paul admonished the church that even the innocent victim is not required to divorce the offending mate if he/she is “pleased” to continue in the marriage. (1 Cor. 7: 10-13)
Now I don’t think God would want any of us to endure a marriage where physical violence, or perhaps even severe emotional mistreatment by one of the partners, is the norm, but again, these are exceptions to God’s Holy plan for marriage.
Occasional arguments are not “severe emotional mistreatment,” and financial problems are addressed in the wedding vows themselves: “for richer or for poorer…and in sickness and in health.”
Statistics reveal Christians don’t do any better at staying married these days than non-Christians. What a shame! If that statistic doesn’t disrespect God Almighty, I don’t know what does.
I think the number one cause for divorce can be summed up in a single word: selfishness. Either one, or probably both partners, feel slighted in some way, but instead of consulting a preacher, elder, professional counselor or even a Christian couple who has an obviously successful marriage, the couple may rush to divorce court.
Unfortunately – or fortunately in God’s plan – “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” or “you don’t make me feel warm and fuzzy anymore” aren’t grounds for divorce.
The elders at Smithville are committed to helping this congregation build healthy, exemplary marriages. Our ministers or we shepherds are happy to help counsel any couple that will reach out to us. If sharing the details with us makes anyone uncomfortable, we’ll consider sending you to a professional Christian counselor (and help pay for it if you don’t have the funds). The bottom line is we are committed to God’s plan for marriage, which, by the way, includes one male and one female, together forever.
Now, many in our congregation have already had to endure the heartbreak of divorce. Some of you had no choice and were forced into divorce for various reasons. To you the Church MUST extend God’s grace, mercy and compassion and offer you all of the tools at our disposal to heal broken hearts and lives. The Bible even charges us to offer forgiveness where it is needed and appropriate. Please let us help in any way we can, and let us know when we’re not being as accepting as God would have us be.
Few, if any, of us have a perfect marriage, but with God’s help and by His Grace we can use the principles contained in his word to build strong marriages and Christian families. It is my prayer that we’ll allow God to use us to do just that as we try to spread the light of his truth inside and outside his Church.