In this episode of the Purposed Marriage podcast, we discuss the self-righteous spouse who invokes God and spirituality to justify their pursuit of divorce.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,”2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
Have you ever wondered why spouses determined to leave their marriage avoid listening to truth like the plague? For the stander, attempting to engage his or her prodigal in an attempt to get at the core reason for their desire to quit the marriage becomes an exercise in futility and utter frustration. But if one understands how the enemy works, and the depth of deception that becomes entrenched in a person’s heart and mind, it is easily discernable.
It is no wonder why those pursuing divorce go to great lengths to avoid difficult and pointed conversations. The last thing one running from the Lord wants is to be exposed through the light of Scripture. The truth of God’s word strikes at the heart and reveals the evil intent of our fleshly desires. It is this penetrative nature of the Gospel that exposes the sin and shameful ambitions they so willingly pursue.
Shortly after our separation, but prior to our actual divorce, I remember a conversation with my precious wife. In this particular exchange I was accused of being like a Pharisee for strictly adhering and advocating for an embrace of God’s view of marriage and a rejection of divorce. According to my wife at the time, this “narrow” and “non-negotiable” view didn’t consider the “spirit” of the law, and from her point of view, I was the one who had it all wrong. Needless to say, after reminding my wife that it was the Pharisees who actually exalted divorce and that Jesus condemned it, the conversation abruptly ended. No further discussion was to be had. In fact, if I was to dare bring it up again, all future communication would consequently be conducted through our lawyers.
I knew I had struck a nerve with what I had said. To be honest, it wasn’t my intent to anger her or cause further hostility between us. That said, it wasn’t my words that invoked the spirited response. Rather, it was the truth of God’s word that pierced her soul. I was simply the messenger.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”Hebrews 4:12 ESV
As you continue to stand and fight for your marriage, you will most certainly encounter situations when you are confronted with unbridled anger and harshness. Take solace in the fact that it is not necessarily you who is the object of his or her wrath. A prodigal’s war is with Almighty God. Those who speak His truth from their lips will always be met with the exact same levels of resistance from God’s enemies.
With the help of the Holy Spirit and those whom God has placed in your life to walk alongside you in this journey, determine to not allow the aversion to truth by your deceived prodigal to damped your drive and pursuit of restoration. Recognize that Christ has the power to transform even the greatest of sinners into vessels that fully embrace the heart of the gospel. I witnessed this first-hand, and if Jesus can do this for my wife, He can most certainly do it for your spouse as well.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”Lamentations 3:25-26 ESV
For men and women hoping against hope that a husband or wife will return home, conversations surrounding the idea of “time” can be a sensitive topic. Those on the “standing” side of the fence, who possess a Biblical worldview and kingdom perspective, know that regardless of time, God’s plans and intentions are always fulfilled. Unfortunately, this mindset is lost on many.
Most believers are familiar with the Gospel story of Jesus and Lazarus. As readers will recall, prior to the miraculous resurrection of Lazarus, his sisters Mary and Martha made a desperate plea to summon Jesus in order that Lazarus would be delivered from his life threatening affliction.
As the story goes, Jesus arrived at the home of Mary and Martha only after Lazarus had already passed. This was a devastating emotional blow for Lazarus’s family and friends. If only Jesus had come more quickly, perhaps Lazarus would not have died. Their hearts were broken and all it appeared all hope was lost.
What Mary and Martha didn’t know, was that Jesus was planning for a miracle. The “delay” was by no means an attempt to cause pain or undue suffering. Rather, it was done in order to help set the stage for one of the greatest miracles that would be performed during His ministry. To be clear, the glorious resurrection of Lazarus was made possible because Christ did NOT arrive at the time of Mary and Martha’s choosing.
As it pertains to marriage restoration, we as believers risk making the same mistakes as Mary and Martha by putting time constraints on God, or setting artificial parameters through which the Lord is allowed to work His miracles. These are errors we should not make. To do so is not only wrong, but a clear demonstration of our lack of faith.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your path.”Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
Fully believing in Christ’s authority to design and implement the plan He alone creates is what Christians must consistently keep within our hearts. With God’s help, determine this very day to cast aside the ideas and preconceived notions of what restoration may eventually look like. Acknowledge that it is Christ alone who will author your story of healing and reconciliation. Be humble, and willing to wait as long as it takes for the tapestry that God is weaving, to be made complete. While this is happening, allow the Lord to shape and remake you into His image. One that is acceptable and pleasing in His sight.