Jesus Going Through Divorce?

Front cover image of "So You are a Believer...Who has been through Divorce..."

So You are a Believer...Who has been through Divorce...

What does Jesus look like going through a divorce?

This is the question I was faced with, in the summer of 2001, as a marriage to which I had devoted much effort and many prayers finally drew to an end.

As a Christian, I have set a life goal of learning to be conformed to the image of Christ, of trying to remember to face each life circumstance as Jesus would face it. Although I frequently fall short of the goal, my constant prayer is for God to change my heart, helping me to see each situation through His eyes, and to act accordingly.

As a father, I want to be the sort of father to my children that God is to us. As a husband, I want to love my wife as Christ loves the church. As an employee I want to serve my employer as Christ has served us. As a friend, I want to be the sort of friend that Jesus is to me.

Do I fall short of the goal? Of course I do! But, I come a lot closer than if I didn’t set the goal and prayerfully pursue it. Our Heavenly Father seems to derive great joy in giving His children a new perspective, and is quick to respond to sincere prayers asking for a godly view of a given situation.

So, in finding myself facing divorce, I went before the Father, in earnest prayer. “Lord,” I prayed, “show me what Jesus looks like going through a divorce. Please, help me to live my life, through this divorce, as You would.”

No sooner were the words out of my mouth, than a rebuke sprang to mind, “Jesus would not be in a divorce!”

Oh, I cannot express how much that self-rebuke stung, or how disoriented it left me feeling! I had made it my life goal to try, in all circumstances, to learn to be like Christ. Now, I found myself in a life circumstance which I had never expected to be in, a circumstance in which I simply could not (at that time) picture Jesus ever being. How could I gain a godly perspective to act as Jesus would, if I was in a situation which Jesus would never be in? How could I invite God into a situation that I saw as ungodly?

Not knowing what else to do, I simply continued to pray, “God, please show me the way! Please help me to live my life the way You would want me to live it. Please, God, somehow, in the midst of this darkness, shine the light of Your glory, through my life.”

The above text is an excerpt from my book, So You are a Believer…Who has been through Divorce… in which I discuss God’s heart toward His children who have experienced divorce. 

Regardless of how each of us may feel about divorce, or how we may interpret scripture regarding marriage and divorce, divorce is a reality that affects the lives of many devoted Christians. 

How is a Christian to face divorce?  How are we to reflect God’s glory as we traverse the path through divorce and beyond?

A chance for you to win a free e-book!

I would like to invite each of you to leave a comment with your response to the opening question, “What does Jesus look like going through a divorce?”  From the people who leave a comment to this post, and are also subscribed to this blog, I will select three to receive a free e-book version of So You are a Believer…Who has been through Divorce…

For all of you who have been reading Redeemed! but not leaving comments, consider this a personal invitation to participate in the discussion.  For those of you who occasionally read posts on this blog, but have never subscribed to Redeemed! consider this a personal invitation to subscribe.  And you get a chance to win a free e-book!

So, here are the rules:

  1. You must be subscribed to the blog.  If you’re not already subscribed, you can do this by selecting the “notify me of new posts by e-mail” option as you leave a comment.
  2. You must leave a comment on this post.  The comment does not have to be particularly inspirational or intellectual.  Preferably, the comment should be your response or reaction to the question, “What does Jesus look like going through a divorce?”  However, if that question does not inspire a response for you, then just leave a comment stating why you would like a copy of my book.  To leave a comment, just scroll to the bottom of the post and use the “Leave a Reply” text box.  If you are on the website Main Page, you must first click on the comment balloon to the right of the post title.
  3. If you would also like my FaceBook page, that would be greatly appreciated, but is not a requirement.
  4. The chance to win closes at 11:59 p.m., on Tuesday, March 13, 2012.  On Wednesday, I will choose three winners, who will each receive a free e-book copy of So You are a Believer…Who has been through Divorce… delivered to the e-mail address associated with their subscription to this blog .

So, please share with us, from your perspective, what does Jesus look like going through a divorce?

 [This post linked to God-Bumps , Beholding Glory , Graceful , Seedlings , Wellspring ]

 

30 thoughts on “Jesus Going Through Divorce?

  1. That is such a good question, one which I don’t know the answer to. I do think about how Jesus responded to Peter’s rejection and how He humbly loved and served both the unloveable and unloving. I also think of how He came to redeem His bride who had left Him. I have a dear friend going through this right now. It’s painful and very sad for all involved. So glad you are opening the door to conversation on this painful subject.

    • Thank you, Christina, for the input. One of the keys, for me at least, has been looking at specific examples such as you have mentioned, where a relationship between God and man failed, not for lack of love on God’s part, but because God has placed human free will as a higher priority, even, than covenant. God never uses covenant to enslave, or force someone to stay in relationship with Him, against their will.

      I’m praying, now, for your friend. Divorce, while going thru it, truly feels like “The Valley of the Shadow of Death”…yet even there, “Thou art with me!”

  2. Hello Joseph,

    I am sorry you had to go through a divorce. How shattering, and how emotionally draining particularly since the two, Christian and divorce, aren’t supposed to go together. That judgmental thought is, though, not exactly biblical, is it? For Jesus Christ said He never leaves us or forsakes us. And He is true.

    So I would say that Jesus looked like Joseph Pote (and I sincerely hope his ex-wife also) as they went through the divorce. I would appreciate reading your book to see what exactly Jesus looked like in your situation. I can tell you learned even more deeply about the love of Christ to be writing with the perspective with which you are writing.

    As I have time, I will write a review of your book as a fellow author, if you allow me to have one. And, I will exchange an e-book as well, if you are willing. Mine is ‘Uncovered No More, clothed by God’ which is volume one of a two volume set as of June of 2012.

    May God bless you,
    Cara Ann Coffey

    • Thank you, Cara Ann! Yes, divorce is a very difficult path to journey, made more so by the struggles and questions of inadequacy or ungodliness.

      Thankfully, God has not only been faithful to remain close to me and to guide me throughout, but has also blessed me immensely in the following years.

      And no, despite the many sermons I’ve heard to the contrary, I discovered as I delved deeper into scripture, that there is nothing inherently ungodly about a just and necessary divorce. That simple realization has been so amazingly freeing.

      Thank you, so much for your kind words. I look forward to checking out your book!

  3. This is an important work of words you’ve put together, Joe. I have no doubt that your book will be helpful to many hurting people. Thank you for having the courage to write it.

  4. For me, Jesus looked a lot like my Mother Helen, and my sisters. They were there for me, helped me think through the tough decisions that had to be made, and mostly just loved me. They were with me through every step, always supporting & loving me & adult children. Two of my sisters flew down from Alaska, just to spend time with us. They said they would do this for a death, and divorce is like a death in the family, “only no one brings you a casserole.” I think they were the personification on Jesus, walking with me & never leaving me.

    • Diana, that is so true! I smiled reading your description of your mother and sisters living out the love of Christ toward you as you walked through The Valley of the Shadow of Death.

      Thank you, Cuz!

  5. I’m not sure I’ve ever considered the question in quite that way, even as I endured a divorce of my own two decades ago as a believer. The agony of facing the loss of a dream and instead heading into something I never could have imagined was faith-rattling, but faith-building too. It was either lean on Jesus or be totally lost. I thank God that he kept drawing me to himself.

    I pray your book will bless many. Thank you, Joe.

    • “…was faith-rattling, but faith-building too. It was either lean on Jesus or be totally lost. I thank God that he kept drawing me to himself.”

      Same here, Lisa! God continually ministered to me during that time, both thru His word and thru others. And, yes, it was definitely a time of learning to be totally dependent on Christ.

      And yet, I have met so many sincere believers who still deal with guilt, shame, and stigma associated with a prior divorce. So many of us have acquired an understanding that divorce is inherently ungodly, and that to experience divorce is to have failed as a Christian.

      This book is intended to biblically address those myths, and to share with others some of what I have learned myself about God’s heart toward His children who have experienced divorce.

      Thank you, so much, for your input and encouragement!

  6. That is one that requires some considering, Joe. My first thought is “compassionate”. There is always so much hurt involved, and I know Jesus would seek to heal that. Thank you for sharing your experience the way you do. I’m so glad that people who are hurting through similar situations will blessed by your words.

    • “Compassionate!” I like that, Laura. Throughout the gospels, we are frequently told “Jesus saw… and had compassion.”

      Yes, He definitely has a heart of compassion toward people going thru the pain of a failed marriage.

  7. I appreciate this question, and wish I’d thought of it sooner. One of my dearest friend’s divorce just became final. My husband and I are very close to this couple, and our three daughters are good friends with their three daughters. I cannot imagine the devastation for their family because I know how hard it’s been on us and that’s barely a glimpse in comparison. I do know Jesus is always with us. We’ve tried to do the same for them. This has been hard at times, but I think Jesus stays close and comforts us, guiding us in ways we cannot fully appreciate at the time. I’m certain the words you’ve written will be a comfort to many.

    • Yes, it is a very devastating experience for all involved. I’m glad they have good friends in you. They will need as much loving support as you can provide.

      Too often, during divorce, Christian “friends” behave much like Job’s friends, blaming and judgmentally insisting on confession of sin which may, or may not, exist.

  8. I’ve never thought of this question, but you are so right – we need to be thinking about how God wants us to handle ourselves in any and every situation we find ourselves in. To answer your question: I would imagine that Jesus would be exceptionally kind and patient, selfless and loving.

    • Yes, it is the sort of situation that most Christians simply never expect to have to face. So, when we do, we’re totally unprepared. Worse, if we view the situation as inherently ungodly, then we may never even consider the possibility of a godly approach.

      And, yes, Jesus is all of that and more, including comforting and protective of His hurting children.

      Thank you, Courtney!

  9. I’m going through a divorce, as a beliver, right now and it IS agonizing. It’s made worse by a husband who claims it’s not what he wants, yet threatens me with poverty and manipulates me emotionally and financially. It has been 3 years and we still have not been to counseling or mediation. I can’t afford an attorney, as a SAHM I am homeschooling our son. It has been exhausting and frightening to think that I am disobeying scripture and need to remain married because ” God hates divorce”. What does he think of how my son and I are being treated and of what we have had to endure during a 4 year separation filled with verbal abuse? I am trying to live my life by asking “what would Jesus do” but does he want me to be a doormat and show my son, by my tolerance of the situation, how to be abusive to his own future wife??? We have received SO much condemnation from each church we have turned to. My son and I are literally on our own, no friends, no family, no financial stability, no hope of anything but more pain in the near future as we contempkate losing our home. Yet Jesus manages to get us through each day, one day at a time. For that I am grateful.

    • R, I am so sorry you are having such a difficult time! Divorce is difficult and frightening enough, withut added condemnation from misguided church members.

      Thankfully, Christ offers hope, grace, and redemption, without condemnation!

      Rest assured that God does not hate divorce nearly as much as He hates injustice, treachery, and abuse of His children. For His children who are trapped in a covenant that has become abusive bondage, God offers redemption!

      When Israel’s blood covenant with Pharaoh became a covenant of abusive bondage, God did not leave them to be enslaved and abused by a Pharaoh who did not honor his covenant vows. No, God redeemed Israel from their covenant with Pharoah, delivering them through the divorce.

      He will do the same for you!

      I’m praying for you, R. Please come back to this website to let us know how you are doing, and to encourage others.

  10. GOD bless you R. I am in a similar situation with my wife. I think the LORD gives us comfort even with having others that are going through similar circumstances. Hearing your situation encourages me to keep on keeping on in my situation. I appreciate your courage to keep going forward and for sharing your testimony and what you are going through.

    • James, I’ve been there, brother! God, our Redeemer, is faithful!

      Don’t let others try to convince you that divorce is inherently ungodly; it’s not true. God, himself, divorced the northern kingdom of the 10 tribes of Israel (Jeremiah 3:6-10).

      There is nothing ungodly about a just divorce from a covenant that has become abusive bondage.

      Keep the faith, and continue to walk in godliness.

      Thank you for encuraging R, and please let us know how you’re doing.

      Praying for you!

  11. Hi Joseph,
    After 33 years of marriage and four years of separation I finally came to terms with the internal conflict and intiated the filing. I think the agony of the church traditional teaching regarding divorce is another layer of bondage Satan uses to keep Believers trapped and oppressed. God is progressive and moves forward Satan does the exact opposite and stagnates. Jesus had to go through Samaria which had its own set of challenges. Divorce is a challenge that I think He would have gone through . I am unemployed but would love a copy of your book . After coming across your blog today (while in search of prayers going through a divorce) I feel your book will help me in this journey.

    • “I think the agony of the church traditional teaching regarding divorce is another layer of bondage Satan uses to keep Believers trapped and oppressed.”

      I agree, LM!

      I’ll drop you an e-mail with more discussion.

      Thanks and God Bless!

  12. Joe – I am now going through a divorce that I do not want. My 2 small children do not want it. But, sadly, there is nothing any of us can do to stop it. Only God can change the course of our marriage and lives at this point. We are still praying for that miracle. I have thought about your question in a little different terms – “How would Jesus act if He was going through a divorce?” I am sure it would be with love toward His spouse. So that is what I am trying to do, act with love toward her (since she is still my wife) and pray for her. (By the way, I write a blog focussed on husbands who have decided to stand for their marriage. The link is: http://husbandsforrestoration.blogspot.com/ )

    • Dan, that is a very difficult position to be in…and one I held for many years. I pray that the Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you thru this difficult time, giving you strength and courage for the days ahead.

      I don’t know how this will turn out in your life. However, I do know that God knows…and I do know that He has a plan for your life, plans for hope and a future.

      Whether your marriage relationship is healed, or whether this marriage ends in divorce, God is faithful. Keep trusting Him and He will provide for you and your children.

      “Though the fig tree should not blossom
      And there be no fruit on the vines,
      Though the yield of the olive should fail
      And the fields produce no food,
      Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
      And there be no cattle in the stalls,
      Yet I will exult in the Lord,
      I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
      The Lord God is my strength,
      And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
      And makes me walk on my high places.” (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

      God bless!

  13. The only security we have is that God’s word never changes. I still am commanded to love my enemies. The best I can do is keep my eyes on Jesus and obey Him in every way possible. He then promises to hear our prayers and bless His children. Therein lies my hope. I pray for my children.

    • Yes, I can tell you from personal experience, that God remains faithful through it all.

      Yes, we are commanded to love our enemies. We are not, however, commanded to trust our enemies, nor to be in close fellowship with our enemies.

      Vigorous defense of healthy boundaries is a good thing…and aids the healing process.

      Blessings to you and your children, Patti!

  14. I found your blog by searching “Jesus help me, I am going through divorce”.
    I married my college sweetheart, we were and are still Christians. Unfortunately we are just now filing for divorce after being together 4 years and then separated 4 years. There was verbal and emotional abuse and adultery on his part and he requested the divorce but has refused to file for it. We have a 7 year old son. i am African and live in Africa – the stigma of divorce here is grave.
    Our relationship was tumultuous until 2 years ago when everything changed and we relate very civilly now. I filed for divorce last month. We had a conversation last week and it ended with him expressing guilt and shame and me encouraging him “God is not ashamed of you, of us, he is not an “all or nothing” God – if he were, he would never have died for our sins. We can honor him in our divorce by treating each other fairly”. It is hard being a Christian and dealing with divorce, I always felt that divorce has already happened if a marriage becomes hurtful, abusive or empty.
    Jesus would be honest, he would be fair and he would keep the peace – while going through divorce.

    • “We can honor him in our divorce by treating each other fairly”

      I like how you phrased this. I agree and believe this perspective to be in keeping with scripture.

      Nowhere does the Bible call divorce sin. Yet, the Bible has much to say against injustice.

      The goal should not be divorce-avoidance, but rather seeking to honor Christ and pursue godliness in all that we do, whether in marriage or through divorce.

      You might also enjoy this post from a while back: http://josephjpote.com/2012/09/divorce-is-sin-says-who-2/

      A failed marriage is truly heartbreaking…but divorce is often the beginning of healing.

      Praying for you, this morning, that God will bless you, encourage you, strengthen you, and give you wisdom, as you make these important decisions and move forward toward healing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge