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You can hear the pain in this young lady’s voice.
I wish that pain were rare, but I am afraid that it is not.
In fact, research into the American family tells us that half of all American will witness the divorce of their parents and then half of those will be around to see the breakup of a parent’s second marriage.
40% of children growing up in America today are being raised without fathers.
And these divorces impact children.
Studies from the ‘80's told us that children of repeat divorces earned lower graces and their peers rated them as less pleasant to be around.
Teens in single-parent families and blended families are 3 times more likely to need psychological help within a given year.
Listen, even compared to children from homes disrupted by death, children from divorced homes have more psychological problems.
It really can be a fate worse than death.
And, I know that I’m really not telling you anything you don’t know or haven’t been told.
You all know that divorce isn’t a good thing, although we will certainly justify it in our own circumstances, because we think that somehow, our outcome will be different.
But there really aren’t very many exceptional circumstances.
When it comes to divorce, we’re like what Kathleen Norris writes in her book, Acedia and Me.
We have “become like the child (she) once knew who emerged one morning from a noisy, chaotic Sunday-school classroom to inform the adults who had heard the commotion and had come to investigate, 'We're being bad, and we don't know how to stop.'"
But how we need to stop!! Well, I think there is a way.
I really do!
I know that it seems like reversing the trend to throw away marriages is impossible, certainly we in the blood-bought, Christ-loving, Spirit-filled Church ought to be able to stay married.
So let me ask you to listen this morning.
I think that God definitely has something to say to every one of us.
Hey, even if you’re not married this morning, I want you to listen.
Perhaps, one day you will be married and you’re going to face these issues.
You need to know, in advance, how to face them.
In fact, knowing what I’m going to tell you this morning may even help you in your search for a mate, should God so bless you.
And even if you’re happily married today, listen.
Our culture pressures us in at least a couple of ways.
For one thing it attacks our marriages through temptation, especially sexual temptation.
Men, you can’t even get on the computer without ads which present you with images designed to draw your focus away from your wife.
Women, you have all kinds of new ways to seek the romantic, exciting attention of other men that you didn’t used to have.
Our culture attacks us through temptation and it also discourages us with its thinking.
In a million subtle and not so subtle ways, we are constantly discouraged from the life-long commitments that are sometime dull and require a lot of hard work.
We are constantly told that staying married because we promised is a dead end.
Listen, these truths will give you an antidote for that thinking and that temptation.
But especially this morning if you’re unhappily married this morning I want you to listen.
See, I know that there are some of you here this morning that have already filed for divorce, at least in your heart.
You might not have gained the courage to act on what you’re feeling, but in your heart, you’ve already left.
I want you to know that there is hope, if you’ll take it.
I say that because of what Matthew writes over in Matthew 19.
He tells of an incident where the Son of God encountered the question of divorce.
You might think that, in Jesus’ day, divorce was rare.
Not so!
In fact, if anything, divorce was even more common then.
Viewed in this context, what Jesus said shocked them.
Read these shocking words with me.
Read Text.
Matthew 19:1–12 (NKJV)
1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these sayings, that He departed from Galilee and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.
3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ ?
6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”
8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
10 His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
11 But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: 12 For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.
He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”
I really believe that these shocking words of Jesus present to us a viewpoint on marriage and divorce that can be redemptive, if we will apply them.
What I mean is, if we adopt His perspective on marriage, our marriages can be saved, not just so that we endure because we’re supposed to, but so that we thrive because we want to.
Here’s the truth this morning: God can save your marriage!
Yes, He can!
He can do it if you’ll adopt His view of things.
There are three of His view points we have to adopt.
First, God can save your marriage
Now, I’m not going to spend as much time here today as I certainly could because you’ll remember this material from last week.
In fact, Matthew quotes some of the same verse from Genesis that we remember.
Notice v 4
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ ?
6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
God’s view of marriage in these verses tells us three things about marriage from God’s perspective.
First marriage separates.
What I mean is, it separates man from the animals.
Yes, God did make male and female among other species of His creation, but man was the only species about which he said that marriage created one flesh.
And since this difference distinguishes us from the animal kingdom, marriage not only separates, marriage unites.
Marriage unites you with your spouse, so much so, in fact, that v 6 begins by saying that they are no longer two but one flesh.
Simply put, you leave and cleave.
This union is depicted in Genesis and being “welded” or “glued” together.
This is why Adam said of Eve, who was, according to Genesis, created from his side, “She is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.
And since marriage separates us and unites us, it binds us in a non-breakable covenant.
Genesis gives us the metaphor of becoming one flesh, but it is Jesus who really, in this passage, fleshes out what that means.
He drives home the point that becoming “one flesh,” if taken seriously, actually makes the marriage bond unbreakable.
To break it is like tearing apart a single body.
Since it is God who established the bond, no human decision can possibly break it apart.
Go before as many judges with as many divorce decrees as you want.
Get man to rule you as single and not married if you want to, it may break up your finances and sever you from your joint bank account, but in God’s eyes, it’s just a piece of paper.
And I know that some of you may be sitting there thinking, “What planet are you from, Spock?
That’s just goofy!
Why should I be bound to a situation that just isn’t working for me?
Why should society be able to bind me to another person so that I cannot get away?”
Well, that’s a good question, actually.
If marriage is just something we do to jump through society’s hoops, I’d agree.
The movie Four Christmases, which I do not recommend and have not seen, does have a scene which I read about which so shows this.
In the movie, the characters, Brad and Kate, are a cohabiting couple without children.
The gist of the movie is that they decide to visit their family members after years of neglect, and through those “Christmases” discover the importance of marital commitment.
Early in the movie, there is a scene in which Brad and Kate have just finished a class in which they are learning how to dance.
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