What about Divorce? – a resource

It’s Narcissist Friday!   

 

Every pastor has to deal with divorce and remarriage. It comes with the job. Some simply adopt the position of their church. Some try not to think about it too much. Many, like me, struggle with the issue almost every time it confronts us.

Beginning my ministry in the mainline church, where divorce was widespread and no longer a real issue, I did my share of second and third weddings. Yet, as I counseled people in the midst of their marriage struggles, I found that the ready acceptance and easy access to divorce weakened their commitment and they usually didn’t want to try to work things out in their marriages. Too often, by the time they saw me, another person was already in the picture and decisions were already made. Divorce was the way to legitimize a new and more exciting relationship.

Many of the pastors I have known truly struggled with this. I knew one man who left the ministry to become an attorney because he would be able to counsel conflicted couples earlier. We saw the pain divorce caused, but we also saw the pain people suffered within the marriage. We took marriage counseling classes, developed pre-marital counseling, and taught on the stresses and expectations of marriage—all to help people avoid the problem of divorce.

You see, one of the problems that we faced was that the Scriptures were just not as firm as some would have us believe. While we wanted to hold marriage as holy and permanent, we found “loopholes” and examples of divorce in the Scriptures. We saw, in Malachi, where God said that He hated divorce; but we also saw where He told His people to send away their foreign wives and that divorce was permitted in the case of adultery.

As I left the mainline church to enter the evangelical culture, things were not better. On one hand the answer was simpler, I suppose. Divorce was not allowed except for certain situations (ones with approved “grounds”) and sometimes not even in those situations. On the other hand, the Scripture still didn’t exactly say what the more conservative culture said. And people trapped in certain marriages because of the prohibition against divorce sometimes suffered greatly.

So, over the years, I came to the position that this was something I didn’t fully understand. My part was to teach what I could understand. I believe that marriage is a gift from the Lord and should be treated as something very special, something worth fighting for. I know many couples who have worked through very difficult circumstances and events and have restored their love and their families. In other words, I believe we are right to hold marriage in high regard and to warn people about the distractions and compromises that could destroy it.

At the same time, I could not hold people in marriages where they suffered. I would often say that I believe God wants people to stay married and I believe that marriage should be happy and good. When marriage was not good, when there was abuse or adultery, then I would tell people to seek the Lord. He would lead them if they went to Him with open hearts. I didn’t front-load their prayers with the “right answer.” I just helped them seek and follow the Lord. And several of them divorced.

I came to the place where I disconnected divorce from sin, not because I no longer thought it was sin, but because sin is also part of the struggle in marriage. Sin is the cause of our suffering. If divorce is sin, then it is only the end result of a long process of sin. And if God hates divorce, we should also be aware that God hates many things—all sin, in fact—because sin hurts the people He loves. Divorce is just one more broken thing in a broken world.

Do we uphold the sanctity of marriage when we force someone to remain in an abusive situation? Do we bless our culture and our children when we promote a façade of love and companionship in the church while hatred rules at home? I don’t think so. So I no longer counsel people to stay married; nor do I counsel anyone to get a divorce. They have to take that to the Lord and listen to His heart.

But even there we find a problem. How do they listen to Him? Most have been taught that they should go to Scripture. Then they are told what the Scripture says. So most Christians think that listening to the Lord is listening to the traditional perspective of the church, especially in the conservative church. Then they are burdened with the admonitions and guilt surrounding divorce. Have they really heard the Lord’s voice?

And what if the Scripture doesn’t say what the evangelical culture says? The mainline churches, in my experience, have simply stopped looking to the Scriptures. Yet, the evangelical culture has stopped as well, simply because the Scripture is so often viewed as a collection of proof-texts which support the ideas of the culture. We read Scripture through the grid of what we have been taught and try not to think about the nagging questions and inconsistencies when we see differences between our cultural interpretations and what the Bible actually says.

Then along comes Barbara Roberts and her book, “Not Under Bondage.” I can honestly say that I have never read a more careful or scholarly book on this subject. I have read many books written to teach the “party line,” but few actually look at each Scripture passage in the context of culture, grammar, and principles of interpretation. With pedantic logic and critical thinking, Roberts shows that the Scripture does teach a very high regard for marriage and a practical perspective on the effect of sin in the marriage relationship. This book has been needed for a long time.

Yes, Roberts has a personal background of divorce and a perspective which opens her to question the conservative positions. That certainly does not disqualify her writing, no more than the perspective of others who write to support their position. She holds marriage very high and never tells people what they ought to do. Her job is simply to examine the passages that are used to teach about divorce. In fact, I would love to read a conservative rebuttal to Roberts’ book. It would be interesting to see how the “indissolublists” would counter her Scriptural arguments.

Personally, I was impressed. I agree with the way Roberts views Scripture and find it very consistent with the way Jesus viewed the writings of the Old Testament. For example, she teaches that the general rule does not negate the specific exception when the rule is stated by itself. In other words, when Jesus says in Matthew that adultery is a possible reason to divorce and then omits that exception in Luke, the exception does not disappear. This is very consistent with the way we should see Scripture. We are told not to kill in the commandments, yet the people of Israel were sent to war and used capital punishment. There are exceptions to the general rules.

She also rightly extrapolates from one teaching to another, as Jesus did. In spite of the idea that Scripture does not overtly address physical or emotional abuse in marriage, Roberts claims that the principles taught about marriage do include these things. If the Scripture says that a man must not beat his animals, can we not rightly assume that he should not beat his children or his wife? If a man is to love his wife, does that not mean he is not to torture her emotionally? And, if he does these things, has he not broken the marriage covenant? Jesus said that a man who looks on a woman with lust has committed adultery with her. When a man looks on his wife with hatred and acts on this hatred through his abuse, has he not abandoned the marriage relationship? This extrapolation is not only reasonable, but instructive.

Obviously, we have to be careful. Most of us in the evangelical tradition have been taught that you can twist Scripture to say almost anything (then we sometimes proceed to do just that!) I would submit that Roberts has not done that. There may be some jumps of logic that feel uncomfortable and you will want to look at them carefully, but I think you will be surprised at how often you agree with her assessments. I would not pretend that I agree with everything Roberts writes, but I also would not hesitate to recommend it to others.

Two things struck me as particularly powerful in this book. First, the revealing of the cultural challenges brought by the Pharisees to Jesus, and how those challenges led to what Jesus taught on divorce. Do you know the difference between the schools of Hillel and Shammai and the importance of the phrase, “for any reason”? Yes, it matters—and it explains why Jesus said what He said.

Also, the section on the statement “God hates divorce,” which people pull out of Malachi, is worth the price of the book. Roberts’ teaching on the difference between disciplinary and treacherous divorce and how it ties into this passage is important.

The bottom line is that the traditional evangelical teaching that all divorce is wrong unless there has been intimacy with someone outside the marriage simply does not stand up to careful Scriptural interpretation. There are other reasons marriages can end without damaging the status of marriage among believers. And those evangelical churches that have chosen to look the other way, to accept divorce as long as the divorced person feels appropriately guilty, have helped no one. No, the decision to divorce is intensely personal and the one who struggles should be directed to the Lord—with the understanding that there are things other than adultery that signal the death and dissolution of the marriage covenant.

This is one of my longest posts and I need to summarize. If you are struggling with the guilt of divorce—if you are wondering what you ought to do in an abusive marriage—if you are counseling or teaching on the subject of divorce among believers—you should read this book. It is not an easy read, but it will pull you forward. I have only touched on what I thought were key points for me. I think your eyes will be opened to many things; and you may see the Scripture’s perspective on divorce more consistently.

Here’s a link to Roberts’ website and a link to the book on Amazon:

http://www.notunderbondage.com/

notunderbondage

http://www.amazon.com/Not-Under-Bondage-Biblical-Desertion/dp/0980355346

26 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

26 responses to “What about Divorce? – a resource

  1. Patty

    Our pastor just addressed this topic Sunday. It was the best talk and discussion I have ever heard from the pulpit. You can listen online. RCC Marianna Florida. Sermon: You Asked For It—Divorce. It clarified and helped me to understand and also how to help others.

  2. I will have to read that book! There is definitely a feeling of wearing “the scarlet letter” in churches…that has been my experience. I wonder if it is the same for divorced men…My abuser husband filed for divorce when I suggested he get help with his anger…then he started going to church-not just any church, but one right down the road that some of the old kinfolk were part of establishing back in the early 1900’s. He always thought this little church “belonged to him”… Praying for myself and other divorced women to be able to lay the scarlet letter of shame at the feet of Jesus and walk with Him into the Light!💜

  3. Tonya Scarborough

    Some people believe that if you must get a divorce, then you should not get remarried. Can you please share your opinion on remarriage?

    • Tonya, I am not wanting my opinion to take precedence over Ps Orrison’s, but just FYI here is a summary of my view on remarriage. It is on my old blog which I don’t add to these days, since I now write on another blog.
      http://notunderbondage.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/does-1-corinthians-710-11-mean-victim.html

      And Ps Orrison, I appreciate your thoughtful review of my book. 🙂

    • Tonya, just a quick reply here. It appears to me that the primary concern in Mark 10:12 and 1 Cor 7:11 is the “treacherous divorce” Barbara talks about in her book. Both Jesus and Paul are saying that a piece of paper, no matter how legal, does not exempt one from the sin associated with the surrounding decisions and actions. In others words, if a man finds a woman he wants more than the wife he has, going through a legal divorce in order to have the new woman does not mean that there is no adultery. If a woman decides to stop living with her husband for whatever reason, she is not thereby free to remarry without sin. So remarriage is not an escape from adultery.

      None of this says anything about when a marriage is broken by adultery, abandonment, or abuse. When the marriage ends and the partners no longer live in covenant, it would seem that both are free to remarry.

      We cannot ignore the fact that Paul promotes singleness and celibacy. He does not prohibit marriage or remarriage, but he does want those who are single (even through divorce) to consider carefully the idea of living free from the marriage covenant and dedicated to the Lord. When he says that the separated wife should not remarry, he certainly has that in mind as well. At the same time, he clearly gives permission to marry rather than “to burn.”

      Personally, I see remarriage as something separate from the divorce question. I see too many people jump out of one bad marriage and into another. Several have written to me with stories of multiple narcissistic relationships. I understand the loneliness and the desire for intimacy, but being single is not a bad thing. The question may not be whether a person is free to remarry. The real question may be whether the person should remarry. Some good counseling should happen surrounding just that question.

      In summary, I think that those who are divorced are free to remarry, but they should not deceive themselves into thinking that they have avoided the sin of adultery just because they went through a legal process. God knows the truth of the heart. I also think that those who go through divorce should seek to understand, as much as possible, the things that led up to the broken relationship and the continuing damage that is suffered. In other words, just because you are free doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be extra careful.

      Ok, maybe not such a quick reply.

      • Tonya Scarborough

        Thank you for taking the time to answer. I appreciate it. You bring up a very good point about asking “should I?” rather than “can I?”. I am taking it to heart. I am not divorced, but probably will be in the future. I have often wondered about this question. Your answer makes a lot fo sense to me.

  4. Heather2

    I have followed Barbara for some time now and have found her humility and understanding of the Scriptures have been used by God in my personal journey and healing.

    Dave, having recently found your blog I find that you provide me with greater clarity and understanding. Thank you for taking an often unpopular position and using the Word of God carefully. You stay on the topic and show respect those who would not agree with you.

    I look forward to your articles.

  5. Recovering

    My experience has been that the church has so many divorced people in it that we don’t really talk too much about. However remarriage seems to be a bone of contention. In really conservative circles I was really given a tongue lashing for getting remarried…according to them as long as my ex husband was alive I was to remain single. Hurtful all the way around. I did remarry and am very happy though I have to still deal with healing from the NPD marriage I was in for so long.

  6. After many years of emotional abuse my husband had an affair, so I filed for divorce. Not Under Bondage helped me to have complete peace about leaving my marriage.

  7. Jay Moreau

    I haven’t actually read the book, but I have read her otherwise, and I think you have come upon a goldmine. Another theologian/writer who digs a little deeper than pop evangelical culture is David Instone-Brewer, a British Baptist. I found his works immensely helpful. Not (as you pointed out with Barbara’s book) that I am comfortable with every jot and tittle, but there were SO MANY “aha” moments when the light came on when I was reading what he wrote.
    One who lives thinking that covenant breaking can only include adultery often fails to address issues (too pointedly) which need to be addressed with an unfaithful spouse because they think they have no option but to spend the rest of their life with that person, and while it might be horrific, it’s much worse if you address the issues. Knowing that God has provided remedies for those who are faithful gives one the courage to address the issues that need to be addressed. Sometimes (especially when done before years of hardheartedness) this actually brings about the desired result of repentance and restoration. But when it fails to achieve that, the faithful spouse is left with the remedy that God himself took.
    Barbara’s book (and those of David Instone-Brewer) renew hope, because the suffering spouse knows that if they go ahead and address the difficult issues, there are solutions that await: either repentance & restoration, or dissolution and moving on with ones life. Apart from that Biblical remedy there is little save “hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12).
    As with any Biblical truth, it can be twisted to rationalize ones evil. But we can’t deny the remedy for those who are faithful simply because wicked people will twist the remedy for evil purposes. Let God deal with them (he will anyway). But bring Biblical hope to those who suffer while being faithful.

  8. Abuse is the worst form of abandonment.

  9. Kathy

    I’ve re-read this post several times this weekend. Divorce is such a personal matter, everyone’s circumstances are so different, and it’s not my business to pass judgment on this.
    I’m convinced, however, that if a non-believer doesn’t wish to be married (and I mean become one with his/her spouse, cleave to his wife, be willing to lay his life down for his wife — and it’s not gender specific), then no “marriage” actually exists. God defines marriage.
    My first marriage was a result of me running ahead of God and marrying a non-believer. Not too long afterwards, it was clear he wanted the wife, the kids, the white picket fence, but not a marriage. Behind closed walls, he was cold, aloof, irresponsible, abusive, and cruel. He finally moved about 500 miles away from me and our daughter. My pastor agreed with me, that clearly the marriage was over and I was free.
    A little over a year later I met a wonderful Christian man, and we began dating. And my first husband, who believed my first name was actually a word that most people find disgusting, heard about this and presto, chango, became a “Christian” and demanded a reconciliation. Silly me wanted to “test the spirit.” He dragged me off to a “Christian” counselor, and cried and sobbed and swore he would DO ANYTHING to restore the marriage. I told him and the counselor my terms — “He MUST go back to AA. He MUST go to individual counseling to figure out how to deal with life without alcohol. I’ll get rid of my boyfriend, but I will NOT live with my husband until we have dated exclusively for 6 months.” I had not lived with him for almost 2 years at that point, and I was distrustful.
    What an instant change!! After I laid out my conditions, my husband said “See how she is! I said I’m sorry and I think she’s supposed to just forgive me IF she’s REALLY a Christian.” And the counselor agreed!!!! The counselor said “He apologized. You’re supposed to be a Christian a submissive wife. Just forgive him and move back home.”
    I looked at the counselor and said “You’re more screwed up than my husband!” Well, actually I didn’t say “screwed up.” I said something else -up and it would be censored here! LOL
    My own pastor agreed that he had indeed told me 2 years earlier that I was free, but because I had not gone through the legal divorce yet, I had to take my husband back. I had gone 2 years with NO child support and abusive phone conversations about that same thing.
    I said to my pastor “Yeah. I prayed about that. I said God, should I feed my child or pay an attorney?”
    The pastor said “And what did God tell you”?
    I said “God told me not to ask stupid questions!”
    And my marriage was very blessed. God is merciful, forgiving, gracious, loving — which is not a reason that sin should abound in our hearts, but should make us very humble as we realize His great love.

    • Kathy

      Oh — I meant my SECOND marriage was very blessed. The ex-husband continued to be abusive and cruel for years afterwards, using our child as a weapon. But GOD IS SO GOOD!!! And my husband was finally able to adopt her years later. And she is thriving. 🙂

  10. Annie

    Just a small comment for Kathy. What you have described from the so-called Christian Counsellor and Pastor is Spiritual Abuse….. with absolutely no care or understanding of THE WORD. Your first husband is doing the typical Narc manipulation of both Pastor/Church and Counsellor to get his own way. This also is Spiritual Abuse. I praise God that your two years apart had “opened your eyes of understanding” and you did not fall for that extreme level of manipulation. I am pleased that you found happiness again and that your new husband was able to adopt your daughter….. something that would not have happened if you did not have good evidence. Bless you and keep the strength of the Lord in your heart AND MIND.

  11. Kathy

    Thank you!! 🙂
    I really thought it was an attack also —
    But I did want to add this, which can stand alone without that comment.
    Before people reach the point of seriously considering divorce there has usually been many, many attempts at reconciliation. Contemplation of divorce happens what all those efforts have FAILED.
    And I never read anything in the Bible where God says to the abused ‘Hey, I’m going to put you on the back burner, the back shelf, tell you to be deprived of the blessings of marriage, tell your children to be deprived of a loving and nurturing home because MAYBE, just MAYBE, I’m going to change the abuser! You just have to wait it out and see if I decide to do that. Until then, just collect dust.”
    Nah.

  12. bothered by some of Barb's exegesis

    This would be a conservative response to the remarriage of the divorced as Dave requested in this blog post. Dave wants his readers to find God’s heart for themselves concerning their plight and to do that, one needs to hear God’s own Word on the matter. We are not called to make Scripture align with our opinions or validate our choices but rather to align our opinions and life with the Scriptures. I really hope people think carefully before they divorce if separation can remedy their situation and I really hope they hear all the interpretations of pertinent Scripture texts before remarrying. The Bible is not of private interpretation (2 Peter 1: 20) and should be understood in light of the rest of itself. The idea of the brokenness of the marriage covenant being what warrants remarriage is covered in these links.
    This is for a book which defends marriage and also argues the points concerning the breaking of the marriage bond. The newer printing also includes the issue of remarriage and ‘innocent party’.
    http://rfpa.org/products/better-to-marry-marriage-book-by-david-j-engelsma
    This is another link. There are three audios (longer than an hour each) on this link for those who are not inclined to read a whole book on the subject. He speaks slowly and understandably. He covers cruelty. Safety is the requirement though and a victim should never remain where she is threatened; I believe that the speaker would also agree with this statement. If you are in a church that says you have to stay with a man that beats you, you might not be in a true church.
    http://davidpawson.org/resources/series/remarriage-after-divorce

    Abuse is a terrible sin against the spouse but we cannot allow bitterness or desperation to affect our choices when we decide how to respond to that sin against us. Our calling is to follow God’s teaching and do what is good for the church, Christ’s body, as well as the children and not what our own personal happiness thinks it needs. As Christians it is our calling to be holy first and foremost. This is where the idea of remarriage becomes a real problem in the churches. We have in our own local church 2 women who are dealing with problem husbands, one is now living singly (she was abused in many ways) and she has the full support, encouragement and help of our church. The men and dads step up to the plate for her children, she has no financial lack and the women are her friends and help and encourage her in many ways too. She is satisfied to remain single and knows that God sees her plight and will reward her for this sacrifice. Her crown in glory is more important to her (she is very close to my daughter which is how I know this) than anything on this earth including marital companionship. Church discipline is practiced in our church with regard to such men as these husbands and he has been sent out by way of excommunication as he is unrepentant; the wife can now worship in peace with her children. The potential issues of remarriage for her children and how it would impact them has been another reason she finds living singly a preferable choice. I give you this instance as an example of one woman’s handling of her situation and not as a precedent that must be rigidly followed which is why there are few details. I want others to know that churches should stand with these women and help and support them since living singly will be a very challenging path to follow. This is more ‘work’ for the church since her care falls to all of us rather than a new husband but we are called to serve and help her. Living singly has its own problems but I firmly believe that remarriage has problems too and quite possibly more problems in the long run. I also contend that waiting for the Spirit to work repentance in the abusive spouse shows Biblical love for that person since true love desires their repentance and salvation. Love is not an emotion or feeling we have but a decision with commitment. The wife remaining unmarried may be what God uses to prick his conscience and will also be used to heap ‘coals on his head’ in hell for all eternity if he never repents.

    • I do believe that it is important for us to understand that there are sincere believers whose perspectives are different from our own. Even if we think they are wrong, we can learn from their perspective. This comment has gone through some editing (by the author) and, while I have several concerns with the doctrine and conclusions, I thought it would be acceptable here.

      Besides, I opened myself to this when I said I would be interested in a response to Barbara’s book. Neither of the resources listed here are presented as responses, but the commenter believes they offer a different view.

      The links are not my recommendations, but are those of the one placing the comment. If you check them out, particularly the videos, let us know what you think. Otherwise, you are welcome to respond to this comment.

    • Tonya Scarborough

      I hope that everyone can understand that some abuse is so destructive, that you can’t put the pieces back together, even with enough repentance, love, and forgiveness. Whether it is acceptable to get remarried or not, I don’t think that the victim should remained unmarried with the hope of “fixing” the abuser. It seems too much like the codependency that gets us into the sick relationship in the first place. And from everything that I’ve read about narcissistic abusers, it’s highly unlikely to happen anyhow.

      • Kathy

        I think a lot of people don’t understand there’s a difference between the garden-variety abuser and the narcissist. Abusers, IMHO, can be brought to their knees to God. Narcissists can’t — because they already believe they are God and want others on their knees.

    • Kathy

      Dear Bothered,
      Please understand that I have not listened to the tapes you have linked to, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t. I am open to instruction, as I hope all people are. But before I do listen (and making the time will be difficult), there are a few things I would like to address.
      Firstly, you have claimed that your writing is a “conservative response.” As opposed to what? By using that phrase, you have implied (not so subtly), that you believe what Pastor Dave has posted is “liberal.” I take issue with that because I believe what follows is your definition of “liberal.” You have claimed that Pastor Dave wants his readers to “find God’s heart for themselves.” After that, you seem to imply that his readers try to twist Scripture to validated their own choices. If you did not mean to imply that then what you have said was unnecessary. You felt it necessary.
      I take offense at that. Finding God’s heart for our situation would, of necessity, require searching God’s Word. They are mutually inclusive, yet you find it necessary to teach us that we should look to God’s word??? If I believed for a nanosecond that some disembodied writings on the worldwide web was encouraging me to disregard God’s word I wouldn’t be reading that blog again. We are intelligent enough, although many here are presently or once-abused women (and some men), to have figured that out. God Himself says He will draw near as we draw near. He Himself has encouraged me to seek wisdom and He will impart it without judgment. He Himself has told us to SEEK HIM first. We get it. I don’t use big words like “conservative” and “liberal” — because they automatically taint what follows, not because what may follow is true or untrue, but because most Christians like the “conservative” and dislike “liberal.” We’re not even aware of how we’ve been set up by words.

      Secondly, you speak of a woman in your church who is living singly and how her husband has been disciplined. I say Bravo for that church!! Sadly, that is not always the case. Discipline is rare (in my experience). We would rather “cover the sin in love” and “leave it to God” and turn the other way. Probably more of a cowardly approach than Christian. But this woman — you state “her crown of glory is more important to her…than anything on this earth including marital companionship.” Did you really mean to say it’s one or the other?? The Crown or a Husband. Eenie, meenie, miney, mo?? I believe that is theological error. What Jesus did on that cross was sufficient — and I, for one, have no desire to tell Him that it wasn’t good enough, that in order for me to be saved, I also need to be single.

      And, please forgive me here because I do not mean to offend — but what you say of her sounds a bit…well, arrogant and smug. See! SHE’S happy being single. SHE’S content in her situation.
      And you know that how?? Because she’s a friend of your daughter’s? Have you been there, done that?
      Do you know how many people have asked me how I am, and I answer “fine,” and in reality I’m falling apart? I had a wonderfully blessed second marriage (to a Christian), and he died 7 years ago this month. Sometimes I feel like people are thinking I should be “over it” and “why are you still so sad”? Who are you to determine that she gets enough support from other women and/or the church? She can determine that — you cannot. And what if it changes? What if there comes a point where others feel she should be “over it” and are not as supportive? What if in reality her deepest prayer – reconciliation with her husband, his salvation – doesn’t happen? What if he marries another? What if her faith should falter? What would you say of her then? Would you believe she has lost her crown?? Do you really believe her emotional state at this time is static until the day she dies? God said, He SAID — It is NOT GOOD for man to be alone. NOT GOOD. He said it before He made the law (granted, and before there was sin). Be very careful in judging the servant of another. God’s work in her life hasn’t stopped — He is still the potter and she’s still the clay and you don’t know, she doesn’t know, what God has for her tomorrow, never mind in 5 years!

      I agree with you that 2nd marriages could pose bigger problems — but it could pose lesser problems, no problems!

      The last part — the part about the coals. Ouch. I’m not so sure about your interpretation. If she remains single he’ll suffer MORE in hell if he never repents? Really? Dead is dead. Hell is hell. What if he repents after he’s remarried? What then?? What if she remains single but slips up and sleeps with someone? Now her husband, unrepentant, gets LESS coals???

      Jesus Himself in John 4 recognized multiple marriages. In speaking to the woman at the well, He told her she had 5 HUSBANDS — not 5 buddies. And that the man SHE HAS NOW is NOT her husband (has now — Jesus didn’t mean that this man was just a good pal). There was something different about the 5 husbands and the man she has now. Perhaps she outlived 5 men? Maybe. I don’t know.

      Other than what I have written, I can say no more …unless you define what you mean by “marriage covenant.” Unless people agree on the definitions of words, no discussion would be fruitful.

      I firmly believe, after reading what you wrote, that you are a man (I’m assuming ….perhaps you’re a woman) of God who loves God and seeks to follow Him. I am hopeful that you are able to believe the same of someone who has a differing opinion than you.

      God bless you.

  13. Thank you Dave. I’ve come to similar conclusions. Abuse of any kind is the worse form of abandonment. Bob

  14. Dave, thank you for your ministry. I re-blogged this under Real Life Ministries USA but lost it on my site when I tried to go back and put an introductory comment. My main email is wbcbob@gmail.com. Bob

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