“God hates divorce.”
“You are teaching your children that it’s ok to break a covenant made before God.”
“You asking your husband to leave is a work of the devil!”
“ We will pray that God will soften your heart.”
“ Divorce is not an option for a Christian.”
“ Have you really searched the scripture and looked at what God says about divorce?”
“ My husband did such and such but I am choosing to stay with him so I can be a good example to others, because that’s what God requires of me. And that’s what he requires of you.”
Ah the well meaning words of friends. How they hurt me.
How I wanted to lash out verbally and learn how to execute a decent throat punch! How I wished to call them by the names of Job’s friends in the Old Testament! (although I’m not sure half of them would get my reference and then it wouldn’t be a very good comeback and that’s disappointing). How I wanted to tell them every single sordid little detail of my marriage in order to try and defend myself and my choices.
But I didn’t. As much as I wanted to I knew that lashing out or spilling all the details would only reflect poorly on me and do nothing for my already defiled reputation. As for the throat punch, who am I kidding. I can do yoga and that’s about as hard core as I get. And also, lawsuits..
I will do another post on how to attend to a friend who is going through a separation/divorce. But this one is about the God card.
The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.
What is the God Card you ask? Ah…
Well my friend, the God card is a little tactic that we Christians use as a manipulation tool to get people to act or behave in a way that we think is right. And if used properly on an unsuspecting person, it’s golden, baby.
Let me tell you that when I first asked my husband to leave, I was absolutely bombarded with the God card in all it’s marvellous forms. All of the above statements were used on me, many of them more than once. My husband tried to use the “God hate’s divorce” one during the one counselling session that I had agreed to attend with him. (We had attended many sessions of counselling in the past with no change so I was done with his whole ‘let’s go to a counsellor’ bit). The counsellor I was seeing at the time was a Christian psychologist practicing out of an office in a nearby town. I could almost hear her rolling her eyes and trying not to snort when said husband used the line of “well God hates divorce. It’s a sin so she shouldn’t be allowed to divorce me.”
I’ve never seen anyone shut down another person’s argument so quickly. It was glorious.
It went something like this:
“Yes God hates divorce. Because it destroys families and it destroys a covenant relationship. It’s devastating to all involved.
But you know what else God hates?
Lying. Lust. Pornography. Drug use. Abuse. Neglect. Adultery. Malice. Pride. Anger.
Divorce is not something that happens all of it’s own accord. There is ALWAYS a reason. These are the “sins” that lead to divorce. THESE are the things that break a marriage vow. That destroy a covenant. These unrepentant sins that slowly destroy a marriage until no other option is left but to end it before the total destruction of a human being.
Saying that God hates divorce and is a sin, while refusing to acknowledge the sins that lead to the breakdown of a marriage is nothing but a manipulation tactic used to control another person.”
Oh yeah baby! I was dancing inside! Yelling a victory cheer and saying “ You go girl!!” in my best woman empowerment voice all the while sitting there demurely and trying my best not to do a fist pump.
You see, THIS is what I’d been thinking for months. But this is what you don’t hear. You hear that the institution of marriage is holy and to be kept at all costs. That your marriage is more important than you as an individual. And that if you chose to end it, you are going against what God wants for you. But that’s not what she said.
This was the validation I needed from a fellow Christian that I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t hearing only what I wanted to hear. I was right. And God didn’t hate me for what I was doing. I was not condemned or judged by him for my choice to end this sham of a marriage.
Gary Thomas wrote an article about this exact same issue. And in it he says:
“If the cost of saving a marriage is destroying a woman, the cost is too high. God loves people more than he loves institutions.”
I can’t even tell you how many times I went back to that. How many times I shared that with other women in the same boat as me. I shared it on my facebook page and premised it with the word “this.”
Please, take the time to read the article, and believe it. YOU are more important to God than the institution of marriage. And don’t let the God card people tell you any differently.