This morning in my devotional time, I read about healthy children coming from healthy homes.
Already I’m skeptical. This particular devotional writer has had some great insights on how to Draw Near, the title of the 365-day series. He talked about how the children of divorce have a lot of heartbreak to overcome, how they need a safe harbor and an “anchor of godly parents who love him, each other, and their God.” Hmm again. I don’t disagree, but “healthy” is an ambiguous term.
He says: Hosea, the heartbroken prophet who personally knew the ravages of sin in his home, says: They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7). For many years our society has de-emphasized the importance of permanence in marriage, and now the reaping time has come. Safety in our streets starts in the home where children receive a godly upbringing, not in increased police protection. And our restless society will wax worse because we have willingly embraced trial marriages and polygamous behavior.
Hmm. As a kid whose parents did divorce – and there are millions of us – I take umbrage at this. I don’t think most people entering into marriage consider it “trial”. They want it to work. But they may lack the tools or understanding of its mechanics. There is a cynicism buried in the writer, a bias that comes out at times to bite those who have not walked the path perfectly. I dislike it immensely.
In addition, Hosea married a prostitute because God asked him to. He knew what he was getting. I doubt he would have pursued such a woman otherwise.
The writer goes on to say: Malachi speaks roughly to faithless Israel. He clearly calls them to repentance and tells them why they have no happiness, peace or prosperity: Because the LORD has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, with whom you have dealt treacherously; yet she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth (Malachi 2:14-16).
I don’t disagree with God’s indictment of Israel. But the instances of divorce, taken in the context of the book, represent how Israel has broken covenant with God. This, friends, is why God doesn’t speak to his people again for 400 years! It wasn’t necessarily because of the divorce in the lives of the people, though that was a catalyst. It represented the broken relationship between God and His chosen people. The book of Malachi also covers the lack of tithing, offering unworthy sacrifices, intermarrying with other heathen nations, and general disobedience to the Lord’s commands.
Yes, divorce causes a cascade of evil. Malachi 2:16 says “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. But original sin did not originate with divorce. Adam and Eve wanted to be their own gods. “I’m the boss of me!”
There are so many things going wrong in our society today. It’s unfair and wrong to point the finger at one group of people for all of our country’s ills. Healthy people take responsibility for their part in problems. Let’s talk about drug abuse and alcoholism and incest. Let’s talk about rape. Let’s talk about domestic violence and child abuse. Let’s talk about bribery, lying, adultery and stealing. There are plenty of commandments to go around to bash everyone. All of these choices stem from people wanting to do their own thing, and hurting others out of their own pain. But let’s not pin it all on divorce. It’s a symptom, not a cause.