Rebuilding Us

Bible Verses About Divorce Aid In Our Decisions About Our Marriages.

Tim Lundy
May 2, 2021    39m
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Have you had struggles in your marriage? There are times that marriage can be so difficult that you face the need to divorce. By studying Bible verses about divorce we can get help in making this difficult choice, and it can also aid us in being able to move on in the future if we choose to remarry. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

Transcription
messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:09] Well, I appreciate Cody and Laurie Kate telling their story, and all the couples that have been a part of this, as we have been walking through this series, The Story of Us.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:20] And this weekend, I specifically wanted to talk about an us that we often don't talk about in the church. What if you're rebuilding us, what if you're getting married again, you experienced loss either through a death or a divorce? You know, as we look at the landscape of marriage in America, about twenty five percent of all people who are married, they're in a re-marriage, and 40 percent of all new marriages, at least one of them is in their second marriage, and so this is a topic that impacts all of us.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:57] And I'd really encourage you, maybe you're here and you've been married for years and you don't really think about this. Or maybe you're single, and you look at this topic and you go, this doesn't apply to me. Hear me, it'll impact you at some point. Every single one of us maybe will experience a loss you weren't expecting, a divorce you didn't want. Maybe it's a child of yours, or a sibling, or a friend, somebody near you is dealing with the topics that we're dealing with today. And so we want to talk about it from the perspective of how do you come alongside a couple if God is launching them again, how do you rebuild them?

Tim Lundy: [00:01:39] And so as we look at this together, let me give you just some foundational principles, here is the first one that I would just say with it, remarriage should not always be assumed. And again, we see this straight from scripture. If someone's lost a spouse or you've been through a divorce, don't just assume both for yourself or for someone else, man, they just got to get married again, quickly, especially quickly. Now, when I say that, why do I say that?

Tim Lundy: [00:02:07] Well, look at the first part. You may not want to get married. I know I've got friends; they were married before and they're single now for different reasons. And they would say, you know, I love my life right now. I value where God has me and I love this season, and they really don't want to get married, and they're OK. Sometimes in our marriage culture, and especially in a church, we can so present that is the idealized life and forget what the Scripture says about it. Look how Paul puts it in First Corinthians, he says, "To the unmarried and to the widows." So he's talking about those who never married or maybe a widow, "I say it's good for them to remain single as I am." Paul was a big proponent of remaining single, and part of it was he was so ministry-minded, he was so driven in it. He says I've got a freedom that married people don't have.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:04] And I think it's good sometimes, especially in the church, that we celebrate that fact, that we see this emphasis in scripture. Now, he's real practical about it. He says, "If they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry, for it's better to marry than burn with passion." He said if you're struggling sexually, if you're struggling with controlling, and having self-control in the area of sexual self-control, then you need to get married. And so this shouldn't be a category that you just automatically assume, but he says there's a lot of us that have embraced singleness as a way of life.

Tim Lundy: [00:03:40] And so I would encourage those of us maybe that are married. Don't assume that your single friend, man, I've got to fix them up, you're always trying to fix them up. They may not want to be fixed up, and if you ask them a lot of times they'll say, you fixing me up feels like you're trying to fix me. Let God be God in their life. In fact, I would encourage all of us, if you've got a friend, that maybe they've gone through loss, divorce, one of the best things you can do is have them a part of your family? Man, they may be a single parent now that needs their kids around a family and a family unit, they may be lonelier than you realize. When you go to a loss like that, or a divorce, where a lot of times we don't know what to do with it and everybody pulls back. I would encourage you, instead of trying to fix something in their life that God may have a different plan, let's be the church, and be the kind of friends, and be the kind of people and community, that Christ does call us to be.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:49] Now, there's a second point on this, and we don't talk about this as much, they may not be free to get married. And here's what I mean with it, Paul continues in the passage, look at it. He says, "To the married, I give this command (not I, but the Lord):” So he's making sure it's clear, this comes from God, "The wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife." Again, it's pretty straightforward teaching here, and he says a wife shouldn't be separated, and if she does, if she gets a divorce, then she needs to be reconciled to him or remain unmarried, and he puts the same for the husband in that. And we'll walk through some of those categories, because I know as soon as you bring up a passage like this, you've got questions around it. And the reality is, anytime you talk about divorce at all, you talk about these issues, it's not just questions, it's usually there's a lot of guilt around it.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:49] And so churches kind of go one of two ways. And it used to be the church was so strong and legalistic on this, that I think a lot of people have been damaged by it. And now it's almost as if we don't want to talk about it at all, because we know it's painful, because we know it brings up some guilt. Here's what I found to be always true, any time you keep going through God's word, if you really take all of it as God's word, there's going to be parts of it, that it impacts all of our lives, and they'll be places of it where all of us feel guilty at times. Here's what I love about Christianity, God never makes us feel guilty unless he has a way of dealing with it, and speaking into it, and bringing truth and grace to it, and God's word speaks to that as well. Before we finish, we're going to walk through some of those categories, so I encourage you to stick with me, I know you have questions around it.

Tim Lundy: [00:06:47] I want to say a few more things, though, specifically to those who are launching into a remarriage or thinking about it. Here's the second thing I'd say with that, remarriage needs more preparation than marriage. Now, this seems counterintuitive, I know. Because you think if I've been married before, it's kind of like riding a bike, I know what to do, I don't have to prepare like those young people who go through marriage classes and they do all that training for it. Here's the reality, I would say you need more preparation because you're no longer coming at it the same way, and the other reality is you've never been married to this person you're about to marry, so you've never experienced marriage like that.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:28] See, I say that because often a lot of people need time to heal from the past. And if you've been through the loss of a spouse, there's a period of time you need to to grieve, you need to take advantage. I appreciated Cody and Laurie Kate sharing how they walked through a process, and they went through Grief Share, or maybe you need to go through Divorce Care. You need to give yourself a time and a process to deal with that, to heal from it. You don't even realize maybe how you've been wounded in the past.

Tim Lundy: [00:08:02] You know, I've seen this happen a lot of times in a divorce where somebody came out of it, they really hurt, and you almost see this pendulum swing. I remember a woman years ago, I knew her and her husband was really cold emotionally, and he eventually left her. And she immediately, it was a pendulum swing, and she was dating a guy that he was not Mr. Cold like he was Mr. Emotional. I mean, I still remember first time I met him and we're sitting there talking, and literally as they're talking like he is Mr. Emotional, he teared up like three times during the conversation. And I'm sitting there looking at him going, dude, that wasn't even sad. And I got a little worried about her that I'm like, I think the pendulum has gone too far. And she kind of pulled me aside, she's like, isn't he wonderful? And I'm like, well, I'm speechless, I don't really know how to answer that. And finally, I told her, I said, could you just do this, just slow down. And she said, why? And so, I just think, maybe you're overreacting to some of the pain in the past. And to her credit, she did, and pretty quickly she realized, man, this guy was not just Mr. Emotional, he was Mr. Too Emotional for her.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:32] There's no one set timetable, hear me, but you'll never regret taking a little time, you'll never regret healing where you need to heal, you'll never regret taking advantage of the resources that are available. As I say that as well, you need time to grow personally. You know, this season where you find yourself alone, this season where maybe you're dealing with those wounds, this season where there's some pain in your life, that frankly, no one else is going to be able to remedy. It's also a season where God can use even that pain for you to grow, for you to learn.

Tim Lundy: [00:10:18] You know, I had a friend a few years ago, he's part of our church. A young guy, married, and they had a couple of kids, and he found out his wife was pregnant with her lover's baby. I mean, this came out of the blue, and you can imagine the anger, the shame, and all that came with it. It was as messy a situation as I've ever been involved with, and so many tears on all sides. And I remember that we had met for a while in it, as it look like she was going to marry the other guy and he's kind of going through it. And finally, about the third time we got together, I was talking to him and I said, OK, we've vented, and we've been through, and we're grieving, let me ask you a question. What is it God wants you to learn? And he stopped for a minute and he goes, wait, are you saying this is my fault? I said, No, I'm not saying it's your fault at all. But I am saying you've got a window right now where you can either focus on all that she did wrong and get angrier and angrier, or you could stop and go, OK, God, what do I need to learn? What could I have done better? And here's what I can promise you, I don't know how this will resolve, but I can promise you this, you'll grow as a man. And if you are married again one day, you'll be a better husband for it, and a better father.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:46] Some of you are in a really hard season right now, and your heart can tell you so quick, if I just had someone to fill that pain, someone in my life. And that can be a really good longing, it may be a longing from God. But you have an opportunity right now to learn what a lot of married people don't learn, that only Christ can fill certain places in your heart. If you can learn to embrace that now, it will only make you better if God does bring that relationship.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:20] The third thing I'd say with this is, remarriage is not just marriage 2.0. And this is the key thing, and some of the material I'll talk about here and some of the resources, there's a guy named Ron Deal. Ron was a part of our church back in Little Rock, and he leads several nationwide ministries. I think he's probably the nationwide expert on blended families, on remarriage issues. And so as Ron teaches, you know, one of the things that he says in it, and you can see the points under. Your relationship, when you remarry, your relationship is born out of loss. See, your first relationship was born out of romance, it was born out of newness, but by the very nature of this one, the only reason you have this relationship is either somebody died or there was a divorce. And everything that you're forming new, there's some loss of the old. When you have a new tradition, you may lose some of the old ones. New vacations, and new ways we do holidays, and all the new with it, and if you've got kids involved as well, they may be feeling the loss out of that. And don't just assume that happens, you got to walk through that.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:30] As I say that as well, the second thing, your family begins with both insiders and outsiders. When you have an original family out of it, husband and wife and you start adding kids, everybody's an insider. When you have a blended family, and guys, I know this because I grew up in a blended family. My dad died when I was six, my mom remarried, my teenage years were a blended family with the stepfather and then a stepsister, and as we tried to negotiate that together. And here's the thing about it, like any family, when things get rough, what do you do? Family bonds together, that gets hard when you go through hard times, and suddenly there's this new person in the house, and are they in with us or are they in with you, who is the insiders? And people can feel like outsiders, and you have to prepare for that.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:21] The third thing with it, parental roles are often very unclear. And I saw this growing up, as my stepfather didn't really know, he's very passive, he didn't really know how to handle my brothers and I, and so in some ways he's very hands off. And where it really impacted, though, is my little sister and then his daughter, my stepsister, they both were parented completely different, mainly out of guilt, and it had deep wounds that I would say continue to this day. Not because my parents didn't love them, they just didn't know how to engage this. So don't assume it just happens in that, don't assume that The Brady Bunch just everybody comes together and kind of all works out in twenty-five minutes, there's issues to walk through.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:13] The final thing I'd say on this is, family relationships are often moving in different directions, and this is one of the key things. Again, you go back to a biological original family, when a mom and a dad fall further in love, when they move closer together, the kids actually like it because it gives them security, everybody's moving in the same direction off of that. But now when you add a new mom or a new dad, and as a kid, you watch them growing closer together, but it can feel like you're losing your parent. Because now dad is moving closer to his new wife and he's moving away from my mom, and how do I negotiate that, how do I feel about it? Now, nobody's purposely doing that, and maybe nobody even can purposely identify that, but these emotions are often there.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:08] Guys, I don't bring up all these things to go, oh, man, this isn't workable, it's always workable. And I'm telling you, some of the most beautiful families I know are blended families. But you know, the ones that are beautiful, they didn't just assume this kind of stuff happened, they moved into it, they learned from it, and through it, and they prepared for it. I mentioned his name, I'll just put it up here, Ron Deal, and you can see it on the slide here with Ron. And his website, rondeal.org, go here, he leads FamilyLife Blended, they've got a lot of resources there. He also leads Smart Stepfamilies. Before Covid, I was looking at bringing Ron out, and so I'm going to reach out to him again and see if we can get him out here to do a seminar, to just equip some of the families that are going through this. We know a lot of you are experiencing that, and you could use these kinds of resources. But you don't have to wait for that, I would encourage you go online, there's a lot there that can help you prepare as a family.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:12] As we finish out, I want to take the second half of this sermon, and we need to address directly divorce and remarriage. And some of you maybe you've experienced it, maybe you're thinking about it, or you're struggling with it. And we need to talk about, what does the Scripture say about it, so that we think biblically.

Tim Lundy: [00:17:29] At the outset, I just would say don't use the prospect of remarriage to get divorced. And here's what I mean. maybe you find yourself right now and you're struggling in your marriage, you're miserable even in it. And it's easy in those moments to start thinking about, and as I counsel people in this, they always tell me I just want out of the marriage, I'm not going to get married again. The reality is, you probably will. I mean, you're probably a person that you're going to want to be in a relationship, or you can start thinking, I just married the wrong person. If I could just find the right person, it will fix everything. And the reality of it is, and we just again, God says it directly, and so I want to be clear on this one. In Malachi 2, "God says, I hate divorce." And it says, “I hate divorce,” says the Lord God of Israel, “and the one who is guilty of violence, pay attention to your conscience, and do not be unfaithful.” Now, he says this in the context, calling husbands, in particular, take care of your wives, take care of your marriage, and one of the reasons, he hates divorce.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:38] Now, let me be real clear, again, there's been so much teaching on this. God hates divorce, he does not hate divorced people. And some of you, maybe you've experienced that in the past, or you've been through a divorce and it can feel like you're kind of damaged goods. The church feels like, man, God so hates divorce, and by proxy, man, he's not real happy with you either. Here's what I'd encourage you, and I don't say this to diminish divorce, if anything, the reason God hates divorce, why, why would he say that? Well, he hates divorce because marriage is a covenant that he designed from the very beginning. He hates divorce because, through marriage, we show the world how much Christ loves his bride, and so there's a representation. He hates divorce because he knows what it does to people, he knows the pain, he knows the economic hardship that comes through it. You track it, by far, the most economically devastating thing you can do in your life is get divorced, it impacts you. He hates divorce because he knows what it does to kids, even in the best of divorces, he knows the impact and the pain. And he wants to protect you and protect me, that's why he calls us to protect our marriages.

Tim Lundy: [00:20:13] You know, one person said, that went through divorce, they said a divorce is like an amputation, you survive, but there's less of you. And so that's why I really would encourage you, maybe you find yourself in that hard place, maybe you find yourself in a hard marriage, instead of sitting there talking yourself into how it's going to be so much better out there, God calls us and says, hey, what do you need to work on here? And specifically, and here's what I'd call you, if you're struggling in your marriage, it's so easy to focus on the other person and what they need to be doing, when the reality is you can't change them, but you can change you, and you can grow. And regardless of what they do, even if the marriage isn't saved, you can be stronger through the process. And God may have brought them into your life for a reason.

Tim Lundy: [00:21:05] Now, remember, years ago, I don't do a lot of marriage counseling, I'm not a professional counselor, I don't do it long term in it. And I had a couple in my office once, and they came in, and even as we started, you know, I gave both of them the opportunity to tell me what's going on. And I promise for the next hour, they each took about 30 minutes, and for 30 minutes she talked about how dreadful he was and the things he did. And as she described it, it was like, eww, and then the next 30 minutes, he talked about how mean she was. Now, nothing they shared were biblical categories, nothing they shared was something that you immediately look at and go, man, this marriage is over. But it had become so toxic, and they were so focused on each other. So finally, they finished, and they looked at me, and he looked up and he said, so, what do you think? I said, what do you mean? He said, well, who's right? And I said, frankly, I think you both are. He said, what do you mean by that? I said, listening to you, I think it would be absolutely miserable to be married to either one of you, they both kind of sat up in their chair in that moment. I said, actually, I'm sitting here debating, because I'm trying to figure out why did God put the two of you together? And I've only come down with one of two options, the first one is that he wanted to spare two other people on the planet the misery of being married to either one of you. They both kind of bristled at that, I told you, I'm not a marriage counselor, so take what you get, it was free counsel. And as I said that, you know, I could see the one thing that it was doing, they finally agreed on something, they were both mad at me. But here was the second option, I said maybe, just maybe, God knew how much each of you needs to grow up, needs to be changed, needs to look at their own character, and he put in your life the one person that will force you to do it the most. Now, which option do you think it is? They kind of wrestled with it for a moment and then finally said, well, I guess probably the second option. I said, yeah, I think it probably is. And here's all I know, this marriage can be saved, I haven't heard anything today that it couldn't be saved. But you've got to stop contributing to the toxic behavior, you need to get help, you're going to need to get counseling and you both are going to have to commit to it. And you need to go home today and look in the mirror and ask yourself, why am I such a miserable person to be married to, and what needs to change in my life? And that should keep your plate full, you don't even have to worry about the other person for a long time. Now, I admit that's a little harsher in most contexts, a lot of times I tell these stories because it stops people from wanting marriage counseling from me as well. But here's the reality out of that, what I was saying, while harsh, was true. And maybe it's not quite to that degree in your context, maybe your spouse is to blame more for what's going wrong. You'll never go wrong, though, in really investing there and at least starting with, what is God want to teach me, what do I need to grow through that?

Tim Lundy: [00:24:47] Now, as I say that, we also need to recognize divorce and remarriage are an option under limited circumstances, it's not always off the table. In fact, one of the key passages that deal with this is Matthew 19. And Jesus describes it, because he was questioned by the Pharisees. Look with me, "And Pharisees came up to him and they tested him." That's a key word, they're just trying to trap him here, "They tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” This was a big debate of their day. It's based on Moses's writings in Deuteronomy 24:1, where Moses said that you could give your wife a certificate of divorce if any indecency is found in her. And so, the big debate of that day was, what does it mean to be in indecency? And there were two schools of thought. There was one rabbi, Rabbi Shamai, who he had a very strict interpretation, and he said the only thing that you could divorce over was if she had committed adultery. There was another school of thought, Rabbi Hillel, and Hillel said, wait, no, Moses said any indecency. And so, he had really broad categories, and so you could divorce your wife if she burned the food, you could divorce your wife, if she raised her voice, you could divorce your wife, it was written out, if she talked bad about his parents, you can divorce your wife if she wore hair down out in the street because that meant she was a loose woman. Now notice in all of this interpretation, it's always skewed toward the man, he had the power to do this. And so, in this interpretation, they're trying to capture Jesus, what do you say, because here's the other reality, all the Pharisees that were so religious, they held to the Hillel school, there was a lot of divorce going on in the culture.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:38] Now, notice what Jesus does, though, he says, let's not go back to Deuteronomy, let's go back to the beginning. You guys are always looking for the exception, let's go back to the design. And so, he goes back to Genesis and he says, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female". Marriage is between a man and woman, male and female. "He said. Therefore, man shall leave his father mother, and the two should become one flesh." This is that Genesis 2 passage, it is the paradigm of marriage, "So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They don't let it go though, look at the very next verse with it, "They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of divorce? And Jesus corrects them, and he said, Moses didn't command, but because of your hardness of heart, Moses allowed you to divorce. But from the beginning, it was not so." And notice now he goes with the narrow school of interpretation, "And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” He says that this culture of no-fault divorce you guys have created, that you can divorce your wife over anything, it was never the intended design. If you go back to Deuteronomy, one of the reasons Moses allowed it, is often these men would either take another wife, they wouldn't care for their wife, and so it was actually a protection for the woman, that she had some freedom, that she wouldn't just discard it in that, that she could actually remarry out of it.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:15] But in both cases, notice, Jesus is pretty narrow in his interpretation. So much so that his disciples, look what they say in the very next verse, "The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” See, according to their interpretation up to that point, man, guys had all the freedom in the world, I could marry her and then if she did something I didn't like. I mean, there was even one rabbi that said indecency meant if you found somebody that was better looking and you wanted to marry them, hey, that qualified. Jesus goes, no. And the disciples go, whoa, this is stricter than we realize. And I notice, Jesus didn't let up with them, "He said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given."

Tim Lundy: [00:29:00] So as you think about the categories, what are biblical categories for divorce and remarriage, and just to summarize them with you. The first one we see out of this passage, unfaithfulness of the spouse, if the spouse has had an affair, the spouse is unfaithful in their vows in their marriage vows. Now, again, can I just say this, and I want you to hear me, I have known a lot of couples that have experienced brokenness, affairs, even infidelity, and they were able to repair their marriage, and sometimes it was even stronger. So don't give up hope immediately, don't assume it's just over. But likewise, I’ve also walked with people that the spouse continues to break those vows. A lot of times they come back, oh, I'm so sorry with that, but they don't change the pattern. And when that happens, Jesus is saying, scripture is saying, you have the freedom to file for divorce, and you don't have to live under the guilt that you were the person that filed. I walked with a friend recently, and their husband just kept having affairs, and he would come back, and he would kind of say sorry and sorry and sorry, but he immediately would go back to it, to the point that I told her, you need to file. And even as she did it, you know, his first comment was, well, I tried to save this marriage, but she filed, that's what he told everybody. And there was a level of guilt that she lived under.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:28] You know, one of the things I'd point out, is Jeremiah 3, it is a great passage. Because God describes his relationship with the nation of Israel, and he's talking about it at a point when Israel and Judah were separating, he calls them sisters. And he says basically that northern kingdom, it was cheating on me, they kept chasing after other gods. Look what God said he did in Jeremiah 3, "After she had done all that..." He's talking about Israel, "I thought that she might come back to me, but she did not. Her sister, unfaithful Judah, saw what she did." So, he said both kingdoms were doing that, "She saw that because of wayward Israel's adulterous worship of other gods." Cheating on me is what he says, and so what does God do? "I sent her away, and I gave her divorce papers." God says I divorced the northern kingdom, they did, they went into captivity, never to come back again. Now, you look at that and you go wait a second God, you hate divorce. Yes, he hates divorce, he also hates that it reached this point, they've reached the point that he had to serve in that way.

Tim Lundy: [00:31:34] And maybe you're in this place where you're having to serve divorce papers, and you've got biblical grounds to do so. You don't have to live under the guilt of that for the rest of your life, Scripture gives freedom. Paul says this as well, I'll give you a couple of other categories, Paul says in it, abandonment. And just read quickly with that, in First Corinthians, "But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called youb to peace." And so, there were a lot of marriages in the Corinthian church where you had one spouse who was a believer, the other spouse is fine, if you're going to be a Christian, I'm done with it and they leave. And Paul says you're free in that case, you're free to let them leave, they're free to divorce in that. And so sometimes in a marriage, you'll see that where a spouse abandons, they've walked away from it, they've abandoned it, and Paul says you've got freedom.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:27] There's a third category, I'm a little nervous to broaden it in this way, and frankly, biblical scholars can debate on it. But in walking through it and experiencing it so much with different families, I'd say for me a third category is where there's abuse and neglect. Again, you never want to be quick on these things, you don't immediately go, oh, man, if I see any form it...Because you can talk yourself into saying there's abuse and neglect. But likewise, I've seen the other thing happen as well, the other extreme. Where often it's a woman who's in an abusive relationship, and because he doesn't abandon and he because he doesn't cheat on her, she's told you just got to keep staying in that over and over again. And I would just say where there's an abusive household, where there's emotional and physical abuse, where there's been neglect over the care that you're supposed to getting. There's a place where you need some counsel, you're probably going to need biblical people to walk you through that, you never want to make that decision rashly, there may be a place where divorce needs to be a part of the equation. And even if you look back in the Old Testament, Moses gave the law, when a husband, they practiced polygamy at times, and sometimes they'd add a second wife and they'd start neglecting their first wife. Look how Moses protected women back then, he says, "If he takes another wife, he must not diminish the first one's food or clothing or her marital rights." He's talking about the physical relationship, "If he does not provide her with these things, then she will go out free without paying money." He says she's free from that relationship as a result.

Tim Lundy: [00:34:06] If you look at it in those biblical categories, where there is the case of infidelity, there's been adultery, there's a freedom to divorce. I wouldn't recommend it immediately; I'd try to work on the marriage. If there's a case of abandonment, you're free to divorce. In cases where there's been abuse, there's been neglect, again, I wouldn't do any of these things quickly, but I think we've got to be willing to come alongside people and remember the spirit of the law. The whole reason Moses gave the certificate is because of sinfulness, because of hardness of heart. As I say all these things, the reality is you've probably struggled somewhere, whether in marriage or in divorce. Maybe you've made some mistakes in it, some things you're ashamed of.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:02] The final point, I'd just say for all of us, is God's grace is both needed and available in marriage and divorce. His grace is absolutely needed in marriage, it's needed even in the best of marriage. I remember years ago, Billy Graham and his wife Ruth, they were on the Phil Donahue Show. And if you young people, you don't know who Phil Donahue is, he was kind of the first talk show guy. And he was always skeptical of Christians, and he'd walk around with his microphone. And at one point in the show, he went up to Ruth Graham and he said, be honest with me, be honest, did you ever think about divorcing Billy Graham, ever? And he put the microphone in her face? And Ruth smiled at him and she said, "Well, I'll be honest, I thought about murder more than divorce." See, here's a reality, even in the best of marriages, we need grace.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:57] And even in circumstances, or maybe you went through a divorce, and you made mistakes in it and you hurt some people. Here's what I'd encourage you to do, if something I'm saying to you, you feel guilty about. Here's the first thing that you always want to do, First John tells us, "If we confess our sins, he's faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." No matter what category, take it to God, don't stuff it, don't deny it, don't try to defend everything. Man, if you feel the Holy Spirit convicting in some part, confess it to God, maybe you need to confess it together as a couple. Maybe you need to go to a child, or an adult child, that you hurt in the process and ask for their forgiveness. Guys, this is the core of Christianity, if it doesn't speak to our marriages and even our divorces, can we really say it's this redeeming, resurrecting faith?

Tim Lundy: [00:36:57] See, here's the great thing about Christianity, and I'll close with this. I love how Paul puts it, he says, "If you're in Christ, you know what you are, you're a new creation. The old has passed away and all is new. And if there was ever a place that we need that new creation, we need resurrection power, we need the forgiveness that can only come through Jesus, I would say it's in our marriages and in some cases in divorce. In all these things, look to him, embrace him. It doesn't erase the mistakes or pain of the past; you may have to deal with those parts and step into them. But as you embrace his grace, it gives you the strength and the opportunity to extend it, maybe to the people you've hurt, or even the people that are hurting you. Guys, all of us need it, it's available to all in marriage, divorce, or even when you're restarting again.

Tim Lundy: [00:38:12] Let's pray together. Father, thank you, I thank you for your word, I thank you for the clarity, I thank you for where it convicts. I pray that we'd be a church and a people that even when we don't like what it says, we hold to the truth because we know there's freedom in truth. Lord, I pray for those who need grace today, maybe they made some mistakes in the past, I pray that they would experience the forgiveness that only comes to Christ, the grace that is needed, and the courage at times to step into it in a new way. Lord, I pray that you'd protect marriages, maybe somebody is hearing this and they've been struggling and miserable and trying to talk themselves into walking out. Lord, give them the courage to stay, give them the humility to get help where they need it. Father, we thank you for all the things you're doing, and we pray this in Christ's name. Amen.





Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032
408.997.4600