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Can She Leave Him?

Thank you to Nina Roesner for this – I believe it contains much godly wisdom for women in extremely difficult circumstances. Praying for each of you who are hurting!! I thank and praise God that He can bring beauty from ashes. He can restore the years the locusts have eaten. He can take what was meant for evil and use it for His good purposes. HE is mighty and able. How I wish that each wife who is hurting right now could sneak a peek into God’s throneroom for 5 seconds. God is at work. He is not ignoring any of His precious children. He is good, all the time. People may be sinful and evil, but God is always good.

3 thoughts on “Can She Leave Him?

  1. There is one cardinal error in this article (which is sad, since the article was otherwise rather a good one).

    A man’s unfaithfulness to his wife is not grounds for a wife to divorce him. The churches have all compromised on this, because Gentiles are really no more virtuous than the Jews were and deliberately twist God’s Law in order to break their covenants with Him because their hearts are hard. A man’s being unfaithful to his wife is truly hateful to God, but nevertheless God does not permit the wife to divorce him.

    The article cites Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9 as grounds for divorcing a cheating husband. These two passages deal with the single exception Jesus gives to his “no divorce” rule: He says that a husband can divorce a wife only in the case of a particular sin. In the Greek, the word for the wife’s sin described in Matthew 5:32 & 19:9 is πορνεία (‘fornication’), rather than μοιχάω (‘adultery’).

    What Jesus is referring to is the situation described in Deuteronomy 22:20-21, where God told Israel that if it was discovered that a woman was not a virgin on her wedding night (i.e. if she had gone and had sex before marriage with a man other than her future husband), then she could be stoned to death. In Jesus’ day, Israel was under Roman occupation and the Romans took away from the Jews the authority to put people to death, and so the Law of Moses was not upheld. Under Roman rule, a wife who was not a virgin on her wedding-night could no longer be put to death. Divorce for this, however — as Jesus explained — was fine, and the Romans would accept it.

    So, to reiterate, the only exception to the “no divorce” rule is when the wife is found not to be a virgin on her wedding night. If that is the case, then she can (and should) be sent back to whoever she’s been having sex with. (Which is what Joseph, being righteous, was going to do with Mary — he was bound to do so, as he didn’t want to raise children with a woman who was not godly. But then God explained that Mary was still a virgin and had not fornicated, and that her situation was unique.)

    Finally, the idea that a wlawoman can divorce her husband (or that a husband can divorce his wife) for looking at pornography is ridiculous and totally unscriptural — even if one believes (wrongly) that Jesus permitted divorce for adultery. Adultery in the heart is indeed sinful (and deeply hurtful to one’s spouse) and must be confessed and repented of, but adultery in the heart is not the same thing as adultery in the flesh and should not be treated as such.

    Think of the position held by those who are arguing for divorce based on pornography use. Their argument is founded on three premises:

    1. Pornography is “adultery in the heart”.
    2. Jesus permitted divorce for adultery (He didn’t — see above).
    3. A sin “in the heart” is as bad as a sin “in the flesh” and is to be punished as such.

    Hence, working backwards from point 3 to 1, we have

    3. adultery in the heart = adultery
    therefore…
    2. adultery in the heart = divorce
    therefore…
    1. pornography = divorce

    So let’s accept all of their three premises and apply their principle that we should treat a sin in the heart in the same way as we would a sin in the flesh. If divorce is permitted for “adultery in the heart” (i.e. pornography), then — to be even-handed and not show partiality based on our own preferred sins — it must be the case that “murder in the heart” (i.e. unrighteous anger/hatred) be treated the same way as actual murder. So are those who insist on their right to divorce a pornography-using spouse also prepared to serve a life sentence in jail (or go to the electric chair) for the hatred they’ve felt in their hearts? Can you hear the crickets chirping?

    The notion that a pornography habit is grounds to divorce one’s husband or wife is an anti-biblical one which needs to be stamped on by the church, but instead is encouraged. All this just goes to show how hard-hearted modern men and women have become. It’s so sad that men and women put their own happiness before the covenant they made with God, and it grieves Him. God hates divorce.

    (I’ve posted this comment beneath the original article at the The RESPECT DARE blog. It’ll be interesting to see whether Nina Roesner leaves it up or not…)

    1. In His Image,
      Thank you for the comments!

      I appreciate the clarification about Jesus’ exception for divorce.

      I also agree that pornography is not an acceptable reason for divorce. If it were, then thinking hateful thoughts in one’s heart (which is murder in the heart, according to I John) would be grounds for prison and maybe death row!

      Pornography use is certainly sin. And it is extremely damaging to marriages. But PRAISE GOD we have a God Who is able to heal and restore what was lost.

      1. Jesus’ plain teaching on divorce always seems hard to us (as even the disciples themselves point out), and sadly the churches always keep compromising on it. But really, what’s hard (as The Lord explains) is our hearts.

        It’s worth noting, too, that in Christ’s day, this teaching would have been addressed primarily to men, since in Biblical times, men were the main culprits for “putting away their wives” without good reason. Moreover, adultery — defined in Scripture as the crime wherein a married woman has sex with a man other than her husband — was a capital crime for both adulterer and adulteress under the Law God gave to Moses. In Jesus’ day, however, Israel was under Roman rule: the Romans denied the Jews the death penalty, and so the Law was not implemented — therefore adulterers and adulteresses were allowed to live.

        Divorcing a wife for being unfaithful was hence uncontroversial, since God had told Israel that the adulterous wife should be put to death anyway, leaving the man free to marry again. So since Roman law did not permit an adulterous wife to be put to death, she was simply treated as having been put to death (that is to say she was “put away”/divorced) and her husband was thus free to remarry.

        Hence divorcing an adulterous wife and then remarrying was accepted practice in Jesus’ day (and indeed a case may be made that He was not arguing against this practice, given the specific and asymmetric man-with-married-woman definition of adultery in Scripture). The main controversy over divorce which raged in Christ’s time was that between the schools of Shammai & Hillel, and it is probably this which The Lord is primarily addressing.

        …Fast-forward to today, and it is women who are the main initiators of divorce, and are actually encouraged to do so by divorce laws — divorce is often very lucrative for women, and frivolous divorce is now commonplace. In modern Western society, it is usually husbands who are “put away”! Feminists, of course, like to see women divorcing their husbands. Feminists regard a woman’s divorcing her husband as a blow against the ‘patriarchy’, an ’emancipation’ from ‘slavery’. And so women divorce and then go and marry another man.

        Jesus says very plainly that marrying a divorced woman is actually adultery, so clearly God does not approve of such a marriage. (Although if the woman’s husband is dead, then she is free to marry again. …Assuming she didn’t go and murder him!) For marriages which are not adulterous, God’s will is that they last.

        All sin, whatever the degree of seriousness — from spousal abuse and adultery, to pornography and reading erotic novels, to nagging and being inappreciative, to simply thinking wrong thoughts about one’s wife or husband — will damage a marriage (obviously the more severe sins will do much more serious damage). But for non-adulterous marriages, even if there is serious sin, God’s will is healing and restoration. Certainly, God does not command us to endure daily violence in a marriage, and separation may be necessary to ensure the physical safety of a spouse and of any children in the marriage (separation may also be necessary in the case of mental cruelty, for the sake of the spouse’s/children’s sanity). Yet God’s will is for there to be repentance, transformation and restoration.

        And as you say, God is able to heal and restore, even in the most desperate-looking cases. There are some amazing testimonies out there.

        [P.S. A gremlin got into my post above: ‘wlawoman’ should have been ‘woman’ — ‘wlawoman’ sounds like a Polish police officer or something… You can delete this remark, if you like!]

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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