A few weeks ago, we were invited in staff chapel to reflect on the cross with a small group of fellow staff. I enjoy being in conversation with those with whom I work about theology. I don’t always take the time that I need in reflection with my colleagues, so I was particularly blessed by their responses.
The cross as the first verse of a song about hope.
The cross as a catalyst.
The cross as a mystery. Understanding it less doesn’t lessen my commitment
The final quote from Bishop Jones for this week is striking in its simplicity and profundity.
United Methodist clergy live in their conference.
I have heard this many times from Bishop Jones and each time he makes sure that the audience takes time to let it sink in. It has implications for ministry, relationships with other clergy, the atmosphere of the annual conference, serving beyond the local church, seeking revival in different places and many others.
I am writing because I have a few questions I need help with. I am recently divorced. It seems my wife didn’t understand that you are not supposed to date other people when you are married. We tried to work it out the first time 3 years ago, but the second time she decided to stay with her boyfriend and I moved out. It’s been about 8 months since the divorce and I am now starting to date one of my best friends. We have brought each other back to church and now that I am growing in my faith I have some real concerns. What does god think about divorce? I read so many things about how god hates divorce and I am worried that I have committed a sin when it was of no choice of mine. I just don’t know how to feel about this and could use some guidance.
Thanks for the question. I have a couple different responses to your question – What does God think about divorce? The first response that I would like to share is a statement from the denomination on divorce. It is a part of the Book of Discipline which is the governing document for United Methodist Churches and you can find this section online here – http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=1723
“God’s plan is for lifelong, faithful marriage. The church must be on the forefront of premarital and postmarital counseling in order to create and preserve strong marriages. However, when a married couple is estranged beyond reconciliation, even after thoughtful consideration and counsel, divorce is a regrettable alternative in the midst of brokenness. We grieve over the devastating emotional, spiritual, and economic consequences of divorce for all involved and are concerned about high divorce rates.”
A couple other online resources that may be helpful:
My response is that part of the reality in your situation is that there was already a break in the covenant of marriage. The divorce did not break the covenant of marriage between you and her. It was already broken through the infidelity. There are times when marriage can recover from cheating, but it takes the desire and commitment of both persons to make it happen. It sounds as if your ex-wife was not willing or able to make that commitment to make things work.
I hope that this is helpful. Please feel free to send an email with any additional clarifying questions or other ways that I can provide guidance. Thanks and hope your week is going well.