Branded with a capital D: divorce in the church

2_2_Deserter_markedDivorce is an ugly word. It is rife with the ringings of betrayal, dishonesty, relationship apathy, and desertion. “If someone is divorced they must have given up on love.” “It is the fault of both parties. You can’t leave a marriage without shouldering some of that blame yourself, right?” “How could two people who said they loves each other just “give up?”” further, being divorced, especially in the church, seems to brand one for life. “The bible says “God hates divorce.” It doesn’t seem to be any clearer than that does it?”

In the Civil War, many deserters, rather than being killed, were branded with a capital D so that everyone would know, for the rest of their lives that they were a deserter: a yellow bellied, no good coward with nothing to offer society. Being a divorced woman in the church, I have often felt Branded with a capital D, exposed as a divorce’ for time and eternity.

I have been blessed now with a church that sees me as the person I am rather than the things in my past, but I have dealt with many who have not. We should not feel the need to wear a façade at church. It is the place we should be able to pour ourselves out, get prayer, receive healing, let our savior into the dark recesses of our heart, and do so unafraid as we receive Christian fellowship.

I want to take a few moments to caution all on passing judgment. It is easy and natural to do, however, there is a difference in standing and exhorting your Christian community to be better, and standing in judgment against them for things that have already been corrected. You see, it is Satan who is called “the accuser” while the Holy Spirit is called “the encourager.” Which do you want to take your queue from?

I often see Christians (especially men) unwilling to even consider a relationship with a divorce’, automatically assuming that they are not dedicated to marriage, or that they want someone ‘pure and untouched’, or simply do not believe it would be right religiously to marry a person who has already been married.

I have done a fair share of study on the subject.

I never thought I would be divorced. Marriage is sacred, in my view: established by God himself to work in partnership and produce Godly offspring.

But what would you say to me, church? How would you judge me? My ex-husband left for a long term job for money that would (n’t) make him happier than marriage. I wanted to wait for him, I plead with him “what if I refuse to sign divorce papers? What if I wait two years for you to come back? I’ll wait,” but he told me he would never come back. He wanted to be out making money forever, and told me directly “If you don’t sign the divorce papers, you will just be alone forever. I won’t come back. I’m not the marrying type.” He told me. “You’ll make someone else a good wife, just not me.” I can’t tell you the breaking of my heart that happened in that moment, and the healing of my heart that has happened in the years since thanks to our wonderful savior!

What would you say to me, church, for my relative? How would you judge her? To get married with dreams for a future and a family, only to have your husband cheat on you, come home, get drunk, beat you, accuse you of terrible things, end your pet’s life (accidentally) in his rage, nearly ended her life multiple times? To be living in her own home and constantly fearing for her life? To have her relatives constantly so afraid that they think that ‘that next call may just be a call saying she is dead’? but she stuck with it because “that is what a good wife does”: she hopes and she intercedes for her husband. She tries everything. We did not grow up in a home of giving up. She held on so long and was hurt so much, but again, God is good, and healed her body and her spirit.

I could go on with so many more. There are men who have been wronged too. Sometimes you fight with all you have, and you still cannot make the marriage work. If one person is determined to be out, there is often no recourse.

In addition, God forgives. God wants to heal and use his people. It is SATAN who calls us insignificant. It is SATAN who calls us forgotten. It is SATAN who calls us failures. God calls us LOVED and FORGIVEN and BEAUTIFUL and IMPORTANT. Whose voice do you want to listen to? Whose voice will you echo to those around you?

If we are branded, let us be branded with Christ. Let it be unmistakable that we are HIS and inescapable that we are living in his purposes. He is our identity. What he says about us is true, and he has the authority to declare them over us. Redeemed means:

gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment.

“Billy redeemed his drums from the pawnbrokers”

synonyms: retrieve, regain, recover, get back, reclaim, repossess;

buy back

Jesus Christ gave his life on the cross as payment for our sins in order to buy us back from Satan. Why are we still letting Satan define us?!

I am branded, and I am proud of it. I belong to Christ. It is not my will, but HIS be done in me. I raise my hands in surrender to my redeemer, the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS my precious JESUS. Thank you that I am no longer defined by my past!

If you have questions, experiences, or comments feel free to get in touch! Or leave a note below!

Thanks to the following sites for reference:

http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/classics/william_minor/2.html

http://teachinghistory.org/history-content/ask-a-historian/23934

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/redeem

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