“‘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)
Marriage in itself is hard enough. Add a pandemic, and marriage becomes significantly more difficult.
All relationships have some degree of conflict, which is completely normal. But as a result of health worries due to a worldwide virus, financial uncertainties, couples and families being locked down in close quarters, lost jobs, lost loved ones, homeschooled children, restrictions on social activities and a divided America, many marriages have suffered hard blows with irreparable damage. Especially those which were already hanging on by a thread.
To make matters worse, support systems for struggling marriages have been more difficult to access, such as getting together with others, attending counseling sessions, going to church or simply receiving much-needed hugs and encouragement from friends and family.
The year 2020 thrust many negative consequences onto everyone’s lives, and unfortunately, inflicted a damaging blow to marriages, pushing many to the breaking point. In fact, recent studies show divorce rates spiked more than 34% over the past year. This is heartbreaking for two primary reasons.
#1: Scripture confirms that every marriage is a covenant made before God and is meant to be kept. (Matthew 19:6)
#2: Despite the reasons marriage falls apart, many people often believe God hates divorced people … and that is simply not true.
Although not due to the pandemic but for circumstances beyond my control, I found myself divorced almost four years ago. I struggled with thoughts so many divorced people have: Will God turn His back on me since I’m divorced? Doesn’t God hate people who get divorced? Can I still serve the Lord at church or in ministry as a divorced person? Will I have to live with a big, scarlet “D” on my chest and feel ashamed forever?
The answer to all these questions is absolutely not. God does not hate people who are divorced; instead, He hates the ramifications divorce brings on His beloved children.
In Malachi 2:16a, we read, “‘I hate divorce!’ says the LORD, the God of Israel.” This is the verse believers often misinterpret to mean if one gets divorced, then they are hated by God because all too often, the next part of the verse is overlooked: “‘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 2:16b-c).
This verse actually applies to both husbands and wives because cruelty of any kind from either party breaks God’s heart. You see, God simply hates what divorce stands for and knows it causes extensive problems, pain and suffering for all involved. Our heavenly Father loves us and doesn’t want any of His children to endure emotional cruelty and suffering in any form.
Although God doesn’t condone divorce and desires couples to strive to work things out (unless there are biblically supported reasons for pursuing divorce or if abuse is taking place), this verse doesn’t imply in any way that God hates the people involved in a divorce, regardless of the reason it happened. He is a forgiving and loving God in all circumstances and loves His daughters and sons no matter what.
Divorce hurts so many. Yet His love is unconditional.
God loves you, whatever your marital situation, sins or failures may be. You still have purpose in life, and you still have a lot of life to live. He has good plans for you and is calling you to live life to the fullest no matter what life has thrown at you. Don’t ever doubt these Truths, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
Put your faith in the biblical Truth that God will never leave you even if your spouse did. (Hebrews 13:5) And, He will never leave you even if you left your spouse. My friend, you are loved, no matter what.
But just maybe, you are one of the fortunate ones in which life’s problems, a pandemic or the hardships of 2020 brought you closer to your spouse or significant other and strengthened your marriage rather than tore it apart. If so, consider reaching out to someone whose story played out differently and who needs to know they are not only loved unconditionally by God … but loved and adored by others as well.
Lord, thank You for Your love, which has no strings attached and is not linked to our marital status, sins or failures. Help me never to forget how much You love me and to intentionally love those who need to know they are still loved. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
1 John 4:9-10, “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love — not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (NLT)
If you are struggling with separation or divorce or know someone who is, preorder Tracie’s new book today, Living Unbroken: Reclaiming Your Life and Your Heart after Divorce, just in time to still receive 5 invaluable, free and life-changing gifts before it releases February 1!
Connect with Tracie on Facebook for daily encouragement on her author page and Love Life Again Facebook community.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
Have you allowed divorce, misconceptions or the opinions of others to make you believe God doesn’t love you anymore? How can you shift your perspective and begin believing God’s Truths instead?
Do you know someone who has gone through or is going through separation or divorce who could use a kind word today? What can you do to encourage them? Share with us in the comments!
© 2021 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.
What We Believe
If your life feels too overwhelming, click here for our care and counseling resources.