When you are in a bad spot in your marriage, or even separated, it is easy to get into all sorts of thinking about such things as: “Does God allow divorce in my situation?” It is possible to read alot of solid Christian commentators who make different conclusions about when divorce is okay biblically. You can study and cross reference scriptures for hours and still not be clear.
There are alot of other biblical issues that are very heavily debated by mature, trained scholars and some of those issues don’t have real clear answers. For example in just one of those issues you can get into pages and pages of debate on the meanings of the Greek and Hebrew words.
There is a time and place for such study and debate but sometimes when everyday life is a mess and I am confused about what God really wants in a given situation I like to go back to basics of what is pretty clear in the Bible.
I think Jesus made it quite clear when asked about the greatest command and he answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Mark 12:29-31 NIV). In case we aren’t sure who our neighbor is Jesus gave the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
If you are in a highly conflicted marriage and start wondering if you have to love your spouse just ask yourself if on judgment day Jesus will buy into your argument that your spouse is not your neighbor. In modern America most likely you willingly said “yes” or “I do” to your spouse on your wedding day. If an outcast Samaritan was commended by Jesus for taking care of a total stranger alongside the road and the priest and Pharisee were condemned for not caring for the same stranger, my guess is he won’t be pleased if we treat our estranged spouse in bad ways – a spouse that we with freewill pledged to “love till death do us part”.
[Note from Sharon: When Richard and I were separated, I was convicted one night while praying that even if I didn’t like Richard and wanted a divorce the least I could do is love him like a Christian brother because that is what he is to me and that is what Christ calls us to do. And how are we to love our Christian brothers and sisters or anyone for that matter? With love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. So with God’s help every minute of the day, that’s what I tried to do.]
Just in case you think that you don’t have any loving feelings for your spouse any more read 1st Corinthians 13 for the Apostle Paul’s description of love inspired by the Holy Spirit. The wonderful thing is that at the end he promises that love never fails.
It is amazing to think that love never fails. Everything else around us fails at some point or another. I don’t take it to mean that there is a 100 % guarantee that if you perfectly love your spouse your marriage will be restored, but I do believe that if you consistently love through the power of the Holy Spirit, good things will happen in your life.