How Should Christians Respond to Divorce?

For many centuries, divorce was banned in both Catholic and Protestant churches. Although it’s no longer forbidden, a significant stigma still exists among Christians. Some avoid believers who have divorced or actively shun them, basing their actions on Matthew 19 where Jesus says Christians should only divorce in cases of adultery. However, Jesus never shunned divorcees or encouraged Christians to do so. Just like any other, Christian divorcees need compassion and special consideration while going through this difficult time.

Listen—Don’t Judge

Divorce is a difficult situation that gives rise to many complex emotions. If you’re a divorcee, you probably crave listening ears, especially in the church. If someone in your church has divorced, be that listening ear. Ask the person what he or she needs to talk about. Have your conversation in a comfortable place like your home or a coffee shop. Even if you disagree with how the situation is being handled, don’t judge or offer unsolicited advice.

Be Patient

The divorcee in your life is going through grief because his or her marriage has died. He or she may experience this in four stages: survival, grief, identity, and direction-finding. The person may stay in one or two of these stages for what seems a long time. Be patient, and allow him or her to work through the stages at a comfortable pace.

Remember: No One Has All the Answers

The Bible tells us that no one is completely righteous. People with intact marriages still sin just as much as divorced people. Furthermore, free will complicates relationships all the time. It’s important to remember that divorce isn’t something anyone ultimately desires. Commiserating with a divorced friend over your own vulnerability may bring more healing than anything else.

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