As I address the issue of divorce, I always try to remain cognizant of the fact that I’m talking to many people who have experienced one. Many of my best friends and co-laborers in Christ have suffered through one as well. If you have experienced one in your personal life, please don’t hear me judging you. I want you to hear what I say about the subject from where you are now, not from where you’ve been. If you’ve divorced and remarried, please focus on your current marriage. If you have divorced and remained single, please consider these truths as guidance for a future marriage. You have already gone through enough pain in the past. Do what Paul suggests; accept Christ’s resolution for your past. He died on the cross for all our sins and failures, that’s good enough for me. Now we all must move on with God’s plan and program for our lives which include his divinely appointed program for marriage and family. Paul says “one thing I do, forgetting those things that lie behind, I reach forward for what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13). I believe this is always the goal of biblical instruction.

We’ve all failed in various ways in the past, but in Christ there’s always hope for the future. The perfect marriage is pictured in Christ’s relationship with His Church. When the Bible exhorts husbands to love their wives, it says they should do so “in the same way the Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). I would argue the word that’s most often translated as “submission” in that chapter is best defined as putting another person’s interest above your own. The word “Hypatasso” actually means to “place under.” It’s all about sacrificing. In chapter five were called to “submit to each other in love.” It’s all about sacrificing our own interests for the benefit or the good of others. Isn’t that the actual picture of Christ on the Cross?

If the church is going to truly have an impact in the world today, we must first be certain that our faith motivates our willingness to give up our wants, desires, and interests for the welfare of others. A faith that simply doesn’t work out in self-sacrifice for others, especially those in our own households, is seen by others as faulty at least if not completely false by others. I agree with one writer who said, “Faith can show its reality before others only by unselfish deeds of commitment and helpfulness.” Our faith must express itself in Christ like actions with those in our family, first of all, or it’s not a credible faith. The issue facing you and me is not the issue of past failure as much as it is of future hope.