It was our practice during our time of ministry to remarry those who had been divorced, and a close friend castigated me roundly for doing so. How could I marry those who had been divorced when Malachi 2:16 makes it clear God hates it?
Christians continue to debate whether divorce or remarriage is permissible. Some deny divorce for the believer, because God hates divorce. Others agree that God has made allowance for divorce because of the hardness our hearts, Matthew 19:8, but deny the possibility of remarriage.
Still others maintain that the reason for divorce is to allow remarriage; if remarriage is forbidden, then permission for divorce is unnecessary.
This debate stigmatizes those divorced for legitimate reasons, and casts additional suspicion on those who remarry. We all should be passionate about marriage and its permanence, but it is cruel to translate that into lack of compassion for those caught in intolerable marriages.
I could not argue with my friend that God liked divorce, but it was clear to me that God’s provision for it was an act of grace towards us all. Some of us will not sustain one, and none of us can make the perfect marriage.
But God’s grace provided more than that; it was the source of forgiveness for all sin, and I had accepted that grace for me personally. How could I not pass the same grace of God to those coming to me? If I was to err at all, it had to be on the side of grace and not the law.
Adapted for Happy Together: Daily Insight for Families from Scripture, a marriage devotional by Ann and Bryan Norford