“God hates divorce.”
Most of us have heard this quote from the Scriptures many times. But Malachi 2:16 has more to say than just those three words.
“For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
The truth that God hates divorce is made clear, but what happens when the second portion of this passage is left out?
The harm in misquoting a Bible verse by omission is that it can cause judgment that is not appropriate. In some ministries, those who have been divorced cannot serve in any capacity. But what if that individual’s spouse was unfaithful and left the marriage? Should the person who wishes to serve Christ be disqualified because God hates divorce?
Today, divorce is easy to obtain—oftentimes too easy. For the discontent, the bored, those chasing elusive happiness, starting over can appear to be the answer. This hurts the heart of God because a divorce effects so many in a family, especially the children. Its influence can be seen throughout our society. Isn’t part of the solution found in focusing on doing what will protect the marriage bond before the relationship reaches the point of a break up? This verse in Malachi points to the heart–the inner self–as the area that needs protection. We must be cautious about the influences of the world around us and what we let inside. These borders are found in God’s Word, the Author of the family.
What if you have already experienced the pain of divorce? God loves you and has a good plan for the rest of your life! He will bring healing and work your pain into good as only He can if you will turn to Him. And for those who are struggling in their marriage relationship, He offers the solution in His Word through His commandments and warnings. Trust that His way is the right way; it’s not too late to choose!
Have you experienced pain when God’s Word was misquoted in this or other areas? What steps can you take to better understand His Heart–and guard yours?
**New Living Translation
Two things that draw me in those passages are that God hates the violence and cruelty of divorce. The other thing is that all of the NT divorce passages are found in the context of the divorce of law and grace. That speaks so loudly to me…the Church struggles so to balance both. We tend to emphasize one or the other. Or just pick a pet peeve like divorce and never plumb the depths…nice reminder to look at the heart of the Word!
Thanks for reading! I really wanted to shed light on this often misquoted verse of scripture–my pet peeve! Even though people don’t mean to, they can cause much damage by quoting in error. This one was interesting to look at in different translations….thanks for taking the time to comment, too.