“'For I hate divorce!' says the Lord, the God of Israel." (Malachi 2:16)
I’ve heard it quoted by so many people. It’s been thrown in my face, reminding me what a sinful person I am for walking away from my marriage. I’ve been told I am required to live a celibate life until my death, pining away for my ex-husband or risk the fires of hell for living in adultery.
And yet, I know how hard I tried to save my marriage. I know how I chose forgiveness after learning of his adultery. I know how I prayed without ceasing, fully believing God would save my marriage. I know the hurt and pain I endured for the sake of doing the right thing, of keeping my marriage together.
I also know how I was losing my dignity and self-respect. I know how my very life was being chipped away, bit by bit. I know how I doubted myself, wondered what was so terribly wrong with me that I couldn’t keep my husband happy. I know how I began to hate myself, hate my life.
Until the day God told me it was time to walk away. Yes, God told me it was time, I had endured enough hurt, pain, and rejection. It was time for me, the captive, to be set free. It was time for me to fulfill the purposes for which He created me.
Since that day over seven years ago, my life has changed dramatically. My children and I have found freedom. We have found joy. We have found purpose. We have found life. And we have found our Savior!
But it’s not been easy. I have battled shame, guilt, and condemnation for years, and my fellow Christians have often chosen to add more guilt and shame on top of what I’ve already experienced. I’ve been told how much God hates divorce, how disappointed He is in me. I’ve been told I chose happiness over holiness.
But, if that’s true, why would God tell me to walk away?
Let’s take a closer look at Malachi 2: