I first titled this write up Divorce and Disobedience but a brother retitled it as above and prefer his title.
As a result of the recent happening in church, As I continue to read the impute from believers and I am wandering if we are running into another fire created by the devil as a result of our accommodation of sin. At the moment, many believers are beating the drums of divorce as if that is the solution to the problem of spousal abuse. Divorce is the end of the matter but the trouble really is caused by the beginning of the matter. Spousal abuse in the church is a result of the failure of the church just like divorce is the result of the failure of the church. Divorce is not an escape route for peace but at some point it becomes a necessary EVIL. Should we embrace this evil or find how to avoid the evil? Divorce is evil just like spousal abuse is wicked and criminal. I have heard some say many have remained in an abusive relationship because of the stigma. Who am I to disagree, but no stigma should push you to death. I have friends and mentors who are divorced that I have tremendous respect for and I will invite them to any program any day. I will also listen to their counsel if I have to. We must always examine what led to a divorce before we take our decisions.
God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16); this I want to stress and you cannot change that scripture and He also does not like spousal battery. It is therefore a thin line and His will must prevail. Imagine there is a snake on the grass. Jumping does not help one to avoid the snake. This is because if one jumps, one will still come down and if not directly on the snake’s head. It is better to run backwards rather than jump. It looks like the church wants to jump in this matter instead of running back. When I say run back, I mean run back to where we missed it instead of looking for the short cut. God hates divorce but one must not die in an abusive relationship. To some people, because of persistent spousal brutality, we should start negotiating our divorce before we get married thus starting a new era of spiritual disobedience in the church. Divorce should not be an exciting discussion. It should not be the first alley of exit in a marital challenge. It should be the last resort as the result is often sad, bitter and it could last for generations for the children and the couple.
It appears the next step for the church in the face of our present challenge is that some people will begin to get excited as we start to celebrate a new exit plan called divorce. Like I have already said, divorce is evil, just like spousal abuse and battery are evil. We must not die before our time due to our involvement in an abusive relationship. However the African church cannot become like the West where divorce is negotiated while the marriage is being consummated and we call it pre-nuptial agreement. That should never be a direction to go in the church.
How did the church get to where we are? To answer this, let’s go back in church history. The church never had many of these troubles in the 70s/80s. How many Christians in the 70s and 80s will abuse their spouses and how many were divorced? Were we not getting married? Many non-Christians were divorcing, but it was not common with the Christians. What did the Christians of that generation get right that we have lost in this generation? What we see today is the result of a failing church. There are many reasons why God stressed unequal yoke in the scripture. This we have overlooked and tagged ‘old school’. There are many people in churches today who are not Christians but may be able to speak the language of Christians that is the initial step to spousal abuse and divorce. The next thing is that someone will declare me judgmental. The is a statement coined by the devil to grant us the excuse to remain unrepentant. I am used to that by now. So, we have people who are neck deep in all that God hates but they are in the churches. They are often accommodated by the church leadership mostly due to their financial capability. These people end up marrying and then tragedy strikes via physical, mental and technical battery. They are usually difficult to entreat because they do not listen to anyone. The journey to the marriage itself is sometimes loaded with iniquitous intrigues. This is the generation where our people drink alcohol and get drunk and ask us to show them the place in the bible where it is said that alcohol consumption is forbidden. Just after the Sunday morning service they hurry home so as not to miss the latest episode of big brother Nija and excitedly contribute in the votes, yet we are all Christians. We dabble into occultism as we are introduced to pagan practices through our village elders. We spend the Saturdays and weekends waist winding, butt twerking and bust gyrating at the parties and we say ‘although’ we are Christians, we have right to be happy. With these sad demonic maneuvers, we still stand convinced that we are Christians. Some of our brothers take it a notch further by acquiring girl friends in the churches (pastors not excluded).
It is sad to note that over 60% (not too sure of this statistics) of people in our churches today, are not Christians. Unequal yoke has become paramount in our days. How many people still think about the mind of God before we get married. We are in an era where marriages are fixed by men and women of God in the name of, she is the pastor’s daughter and pastor does not want an ‘anyhow’ brother to marry her so he arranged her marriage with brother so and so. This we do because we do not want them to leave our churches.
Whenever I am opportune to discuss with believers who are going through marital storms, I often ask, how did you start? Their answer might not bring answers to the present challenge but it often helps those who are yet to get in. There were days when we had to pray for about six months before approaching a sister for her hand in marriage. Thereafter, the sister will pray for another three months before giving you an answer. This is after the sister has sought counsel from the leaders of the assembly. That was when we counted the cost. You may call it old school but it worked and gave us peace in our homes. We hardly count the cost in an item that is easily returnable. Since we are beginning to see marriage as an easily returnable item via divorce, why bother to count the cost. What prevails in our marriages now adays has little or no God in it, therefore, what is our expectation? It is going to be spousal abuse and eventual divorce. Instead of repenting and tracing where we lost it, the next solution is to get a cheap exit and that cheap exit is divorce. Marriage is a serious business and a serious affair. It has never been for kids and for the Christians, it is a place where unequal yoke is a tragedy waiting to happen. Many in our churches today are not different from the non-Christians and as a result there are no longer spiritual rules for marital engagement. We have decided to copy the non-believers and sadly, we are reaping the fruits therefrom. Obedience no longer exists in the church as we are trying to re-write God’s rule. Perhaps God has given us up to our reprobate minds. Rom 1:28 and the result is that we are doing things that are not convenient. We neither obey the leaders nor obey God, perhaps because many of the leaders do not also obey God.
To many that have been thrown into the bitter sea of divorce, may the Lord grant you peace and for the children in such relationships, may the Lord bring them peace and direction. For those that have lost their lives as a result of this evil of the brutality of spouses, may the Lord bring comfort to the families. And if you are in an abusive relationship, please seek help fast. If you also have an opportunity to counsel anyone in an abusive relationship, please see it as a privilege and do all within your power to ensure that it does not lead to a fatality. The excuses for not intervening are usually very hard to swallow as you had an opportunity to stand in the gap but you threw it away.
Pastor Nosa Idahosa
All Citizens Church Calgary


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