Divorce is never easy.
Though I haven’t been through one, I am the child of divorced parents. Being that my parents divorced when I was a teenager, I have this odd upbringing of knowing what a “normal” family is supposed to look like, then suddenly having that taken away from me. I am no stranger to the negative consequences of divorce and, being a Christian and someone who passionately believes in Biblical Inerrancy, I don’t think God approves of most divorces.
That said, there are instances when God allows divorce and, if a brother or sister in the faith chooses divorce because of that specific instance, we can not call them a sinner or question why they “didn’t try harder”.
That’s not only unbiblical, but it’s a sin to treat our brothers and sisters callously. The Bible doesn’t say “all divorces are wrong”, but what it DOES say (in Romans 12:15) is to “mourn with those who mourn” (also translated “weep with those who weep“).
Which brings me to Lysa TerKeurst.
A couple of days ago, a friend of mine commented on a Facebook post. I won’t call out the blog writer, so let’s just call their post “My Opinion On Divorce and Affairs“. After seeing my friend say he was disgusted by the blog, curiosity led me to read it for myself. What I found was mishandling of the Word of God and a shaming of a sister in Christ already going through a tough time.
And though the author may (or may not) deny that their blog post was about Lysa TerKeurst, it was most undeniably about a woman in her same situation. I will let you read Lysa’s blog for yourself, but to make a long story short, she is getting a divorce after dealing with her husband’s continuous affairs and substance abuse. She tried everything you’re supposed to try; prayer, counseling, couples intensives, therapy, etc. But her husband refused to repent and continued to sin, so she chose divorce.
She didn’t immediately divorce him (though, according to the Word of God, she had every right to). She tried to make it work, but she can only do so much if he refuses to change. Him not changing now exposes herself and her children not only to diseases, but to accidental exposure of substance abuse (and even possibly pornography, if that was a factor, which it usually is, but let’s not assume anything).
And once again, the Word of God allows her the right to divorce.
Why then would the writer of the “My Opinion on Divorce and Affairs” blog ignore their biblical instruction to “mourn with those who mourn” and, instead, choose to assume she didn’t sleep with him enough, or she didn’t submit to him enough, or that she was too critical of him? Why, instead of offering words of kindness and compassion to a sister who is already going through so much, did she instead choose to anonymously refer to Lysa’s situation and criticize her by saying she hates that the women in these situations” fail to say anything they did to tear down their marriage,” (and that’s a real quote).
[Fact check: Most of the time, when one spouse brings sexual addiction into the marriage, the other spouse had NOTHING to do with that. It is an addiction that usually starts sometime in the teen years and had NOTHING to do with how available a spouse is or not. I’m not saying Lysa never did anything wrong. We’re all human and we all mess up. But Lysa, if you ever read this, that is NOT your fault. AT ALL.].
I’m not going to tear this blog writer apart. When I read things like this, I am tempted to (consider them literary temple tables, if you will), but I won’t. I would be no better than her, making assumptions about people I know nothing about. I will, instead, pray for her heart to be softened to the needs of Christian brothers and sisters.
And again, I don’t always agree with divorce. Even John Piper says that marriages can be saved after infidelity and, if you’re in that situation, you should try to save it. But given that Jesus HIMSELF said “I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery,” (Matthew 19:9, emphasis mine), and given that I don’t believe Jesus ever contradicted Himself (especially within a couple of sentences) I will take His words literally.
Lastly, I want to speak to Lysa (and every woman who ever finds herself in Lysa’s spot):
What you are currently going through is a trial of incredible pain and anguish. First and foremost, I pray for sisters in the faith to surround you and be able to lift your head on days when even that much will seem too hard. I pray for sisters who will truly “weep with those who weep”, who will stand by you, encourage you, and wash you with the love of Christ. At the end of the day, true solace only comes from Christ, but He does bless us with brothers and sisters in the faith who tangibly demonstrate His love in our lives. And I pray for this over and over for you.
I pray God restores your husband and breaks him from this sin cycle. I believe restoration is possible. I believe full healing is possible. But as Matt Chandler says, “God can, I believe God will, but even if God doesn’t.” I believe God can bring restoration. I believe God WILL bring restoration. But even if He doesn’t, He is still good.
Lysa, do not listen to ill-informed blog writers who choose sinful criticism over their command to weep with you. Many women are praying for you and your family. You are not a tool to be used to garner page views. You are a human being, a woman loved and cherished by Jesus Christ, a woman made in the very image of God.
God bless you and your ministry and may He not only be glorified in this chaos, but may many come to know Him through your transparency and continued service with Proverbs 31.
Grace & Peace to all.