Q. I have been separated from my estranged wife now for almost 6 years, she had an affair, lied to me. We are not divorced. My question to you is should I get divorced? My heart tells me I should, but I can’t seem to get the courage to do it. She has never requested a divorce, but there is no hope of getting back together. I know God hates divorce and I have no desire to meet another woman for the time being. I became a believer just this past summer and it has been on my mind more often lately. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. God bless.
A. It’s a common mistake to believe that if we haven’t signed a bill of divorce, then we haven’t violated God’s admonition against divorce. Many Christian couples who hate each other and have quit even trying to rebuild their relationship, staying together only for the sake of outward appearances, will be shocked to learn that in God’s eyes they are no better off than if they had divorced. It’s not our outward actions that God judges, but our inner thoughts and motivation. He is not fooled by form without substance.
This was the whole point of the Lord’s teaching in the sermon on the Mount. Just because we haven’t killed anyone doesn’t mean we’re innocent of murder, He said. Anger is all it takes to violate the commandment. Just because we haven’t cheated on our spouse doesn’t make us innocent of adultery. Lust for another is all is takes. He could have added, just because we haven’t stolen another’s possessions doesn’t make us innocent of theft. Coveting is all it takes.
But aside from that, when your wife had an affair and left, she divorced you in God’s eyes and you are free to make it legal especially if there’s no possibility of reunion. Adultery is the one acceptable reason for divorce in the Bible (Matt. 5:32) because adultery violates the spiritual model of the Lord and His Church that marriage is designed to be.