June 29, 2011 by Stacy McDonald

Grace Widows: A Scarlet Letter (Part 2)

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Continued from Grace Widows: Hope and Healing for the Forsaken – (Part 1)

This is a doctrine that is putting men and women into life-long bondage, sentencing children to single-parent families, and destroying the opportunity for future Covenant children! We need to pay attention and address this issue biblically!

Sadly, many times, the victim of adultery and abandonment is left alone feeling fearful and confused. For a woman, her fears may be very practical, as well as emotional. Should she remain unmarried while her adulterous husband lives in open sin, and pray indefinitely for his repentance? Should she file for divorce, so that she can receive child support and move on with her life?

“For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused…” (Isaiah 54:6)

If she had been a homemaker during her marriage (and even if she had not been), the new expenses she must now bear alone may be overwhelming. If she was forced out of the home and into the work force, she may have the additional new expense of daycare, gas, and work clothes.

While still reeling from the pain of rejection, often the offended spouse is left with feelings of hopelessness for her future. If children are involved, the fear and burden of responsibility may be crushing. Worry and guilt over the children is constant.

Yet, rather than grieve alongside the forsaken bride and helping her to bear her sorrow, too often the Body of Christ is there only to introduce her to new burdens and pain—sometimes to the point of blaming her for turning her husband away! Since marriage involves two sinners, it is likely that she shared in the problems in her marriage; however, she cannot be held responsible for the treachery of her adulterous spouse. In that sense, she is the “innocent party.”

“But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.” (1 Corinthians 7:15)

Some, because of their flawed theology, push the forsaken spouse through the door of a virtual monastery, locking it tight behind her. And although God has proclaimed that it is “not good” for us to be alone (Genesis 2:18), man twists His words, telling the wounded wife that, in her case, God calls it “good.” According to this doctrine, if the offended spouse remarries, she is in sin—she will be considered a perpetual adulterer.

So, the abandoned mother is forced off to work to support her children. If she has young children, they must be given to others to raise for eight plus hours a day. And, unless her ex-husband dies, she is told that she is never allowed the hope of remarriage. Her children may never again know the comfort and security of having a “daddy” in the house.

It is worth noting that during certain periods in history, a theology such as this would have meant a sentence of nearly certain life-long poverty and devastation to the abandoned woman, as most women were not able to easily make a living for themselves or their children on their own. They would have been at the mercy of family, who may or may not have been around or willing to care for a discarded wife and mother for the rest of her life.

That was the purpose of the “writ of divorce;” (because of the hardness of men’s hearts) to protect the wife, so that she was not left unable to remarry, and was not labeled as “damaged goods.” She, like any widow, would be free to remarry. The only one she was forbidden to remarry was the cold-hearted husband who had sent her away (Deut. 24:1-4).

Most people would be horrified if a rape victim were punished for the crimes of her rapist (and that has happened in certain cultures), but the church often uses the same judgment in sentencing the grace widow to a lifetime of solitude and possible poverty.

Some false teachers go so far as to tell divorced Christians who have remarried someone other than their original spouse that they are living in perpetual adultery, and that they are risking damnation by remaining married. They tell these Christian couples they must divorce (to unscramble the eggs), even if they have children together!

Rather than create or believe destructive doctrines that may seem very pious and noble at first glance, let us study to ensure that we are not binding those whom Christ has not bound. By misinterpreting Scripture in this area, many Christians are sentenced to loneliness; marriages and families are endangered; and the institution of marriage is further dishonored.

John MacArthur says it well in his book, The Divorce Dilemma:

Some Christians, with the good motive of wanting to halt the social ills of divorce, would prefer to ignore or explain away the exception clause and insist that divorce is never permissible, period. But we can’t outthink Jesus and must not make the Law more rigid than He did. We need to deal honestly with everything He taught, and not add to or subtract from his Word.

The Scarlet Letter “D”

There is no sin so great that Christ cannot forgive. Prostitutes are invited to forsake their sin and look forward to a new life in Christ. Homosexuals are offered forgiveness and restoration. Christian couples can repent of adultery and rebuild their marriages. Single men and women who have slipped into immorality, conceived out of wedlock, or aborted their children can be forgiven and offered hope in Christ, looking forward to the possibility of a godly marriage and future children.

So why is it that a segment of the Christian community is often left out—not given the same grace and hope for a future family that others are offered? What of the growing number of women and men who have been sinfully discarded—betrayed by the one who should have loved them above all others?

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

Often, rather than binding their wounds and giving them hope for their future, the church hands them a scarlet letter. Though they may have been offended and abused beyond measure, it is wrongly assumed that they must further suffer by bearing the sins of the one who abandoned them and remaining unmarried, as long as their traitorous ex-spouse lives—even after he has remarried.

I believe the word “victim” is highly overused and that it often enables us to dwell on our circumstances, rather than move forward in the Lord. So, how might we refer to the “blameless” one who has been divorced for the cause of adultery or abandonment, without perpetuating the “victim” role?

According to the Westminster Confession of Faith, written in 1646 by the Westminster Divines, the “innocent” party in a divorce may marry another, as if the offending party were dead:

In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce (Matt. 5:31-32) and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead (Matt. 19:9, Rom. 7:2-3).

What would the husband or wife be called if “the offending party were dead?” They would be called a widow or widower. Scripture makes it clear that it is lawful (but not mandatory) for the innocent party of an adulterous affair to seek a divorce and marry another without sinning.

And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”” (Matthew 19:9) emphasis mine

Furthermore, a widow can be defined as one who has been abandoned by a spouse, either through death or divorce. The offended party is not obligated to “chase after” the spouse who has chosen to leave, or to wait indefinitely for him/her to return.

“But if the unbelieving [spouse] depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.” (1 Corinthians 7:15)

Matthew Henry has this to say about a deserted spouse:

If the unbelieving relative desert the believer, and no means can reconcile to a cohabitation, in such a case a brother or sister is not in bondage…not bound servilely to follow or cleave to the malicious deserter, or not bound to live unmarried after all proper means of reconciliation have been tried…In such a case the deserted person must be free to marry again, and it is granted on all hands. (emphasis mine)

And some think that such a malicious desertion is as much a dissolution of the marriage-covenant as death itself. For how is it possible that the two shall be one flesh when the one is maliciously bent to part from or put away the other?

In past centuries, an abandoned wife, who was granted liberty by the Roman Catholic Church, was called a “grace widow.” Note the following definitions:

A woman divorced or separated from her husband by a dispensation of the Pope, and not by death… E. Cobham Brewer, Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. (1810–1897)

The term [grace widow] originated in the earlier ages of European civilization, when divorces were granted [only] by authority of the Catholic Church. Indianapolis News (1876).

[Grace Widow] often applied to a divorced woman, or a woman who has been abandoned by her husband. – William Dwight Whitney, The Century Dictionary 1889

Though this may seem like a good term for describing the innocent party in a divorce, we are not Roman Catholic; we don’t seek the “favor” of the Pope in granting us liberty in regards to our treacherous treatment or abandonment. But could we borrow the term?

The victim of adultery or abandonment may be rightly considered simply a “widow;” but, for the sake of clarity, it seems we should distinguish between someone who is widowed through death, and someone who is widowed through the treachery (Malachi 2:15) of an unfaithful spouse who is still living. With all that being said, I’ve decided to take a chance and borrow the antiquated term, “grace widow,” to describe the “innocent party” of divorce.

Ministering to the widow and his/her children is a command of Scripture.

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble…” (James 1:27)

Grace widows need to know there is hope for them—and for their children. They need to hear the message of beauty for ashes. They need to know that though they have been forsaken by an unfaithful spouse, they have not been abandoned by God. He has not sentenced them to a life of solitude and bondage. He has given them a future and a hope.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

To be Continued in Part 3, The Attack on Godly Seed



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33 Responses to “Grace Widows: A Scarlet Letter (Part 2)”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I must say, I’m happy not to answer to the Pope; this is one of the things I disagree with my Catholic chums about. I’m very glad you offer this counsel, Stacy; it seems so contradictory to allow divorce, but not remarriage. That’s like offering the ravage, but not the healing, and it won’t repair the first union, so what’s the point in keeping people pulled behind? People need to hear this; some write off those who believe in divorce for any reason, but a conservative author like you, more will take seriously.

  2. Hollie says:

    Thank you for writing on this topic. It’s a very taboo topic in the church today, and it does make it hard for women that come out of these situations.

    I am divorced on both cases (adultery and abandonment) and for a long time I thought I would never be able to remarry because most Christian men saw me as “damaged goods” at best (and by damaged goods I mean someone with a stain of sin that seemed to be outside the reaches of God’s grace). Grace was rarely offered. This was particularly hard because of my age (only 24 at the time of my divorce.) .

    Praise be to God, that this time period was short for me. God did put a wonderful Christian man in my path and we married earlier this month! I had two daughters from a the previous marriage so this was an answered prayer to all of us in many ways.

    I hope that God can use me to minister and comfort women in these types of situations. It is probably one of the worse times to be alone, and have stones thrown at you. Again, thank you for bringing light to this topic!

  3. Stacy,

    Thank you SO much for this article!!!!! Lately there have been bloggers writing about the fact that God does not allow divorce under any circumstances and remarriage on top of it is NEVER acceptable in God’s eyes. This false theology is so hurtful and so harmful for those of us who have been through the things you talk about in your article.

    The pain is great when you go through divorce after adultery and abandonment. I had a pastor tell me that I was never to remarry if I wanted to remain in God’s Way. But I took him seriously…and did my best to move forward as the only parent my boys would ever have (since my ex was considered dangerous to the boys by the judge they do not have a relationship with my ex).

    God healed me as I studied His Word on this subject and was able to realize that I was being misled of what His Word said. Later the Lord led me to meet my current amazing, godly husband and our lives together as a new family have been such a gift. I am so grateful for the healing that has happened in our lives.

    Thanks again for helping people to see the truth of God’s Word on this subject!!!!! It means more to those of us who have been through this than you will ever know.

    Dancing together at the foot of the Cross,

    Mrs Mary Joy Pershing

  4. Mrs. T says:

    The message in your article SO needs to be heard today! I have two dear friends (two distinct couples) that were already married after having been divorced & were told by people IN THE CHURCH that they should divorce AGAIN because they were living “in sin”. One of the couples had been married already for at least 18 years & had several young children through that union!!! They were HAPPILY married! HOW could they be told to rip their lives (& their children’s lives!) apart after SO many years had gone by, after having had so many children together, AND after seeing how BLESSED their marriage was??? It is beyond me how these people read something into the Scriptures that is just NOT there!
    BLESS you, Stacy, for taking a stand on this issue & speaking out for these “grace widows”!!!

  5. Jennifer says:

    Indeed, Mary Joy. It’s pure poison when the true statement “It’s doesn’t matter how you feel, it matters what God says” is used against people who are suffering in a way we’re not supposed to.

  6. Kimberly Lewis says:

    My husband and I were both divorced prior to coming to Christ. We met in the Church and married in the Faith. As we grew in our walk with the Lord, we became more conservative and were drawn towards the amish/mennonite/charity church lifestyle… but we found out that they saw us as living in adultery, no matter that we were dead in sin when the divorce happened, no matter that there was adultery, no matter what. I was encouraged to leave him but I could not as I know that God brought us together and what God has joined together, let no man part. It is heartwrenching and there are many stories of people in the same situation who have left spouses and children now live in homes without fathers or mothers because they have separated according to the church’s doctrine. There is much to appreciate in the amish/mennonite faith and lifestyle but this is not one of them. May I say also that this hurt our children’s faith because they were being told to “honor” us but that we were not obeying God which undermined our parental authority and wisdom. “if Mom and Dad are wrong about this…if they are sinning…then why listen to that…” Very sad.
    Another thought I had was that our family was the only godly family life (imperfect, but striving), that our children have had as an influence in their lives. Their other parents are either athiest or pagan…. if we had divorced and lived as these other folks said God required of us, the children would have had NO Christian family example and I would not have been able to homeschool the 3 I did. I asked one minister, “Why would God require me to forsake the covenant I made as a God fearing Christian when I KNEW what I was saying, where I made a vow FIRST to the Lord, then to my husband and brother in Christ and want me to go back to the first where God never entered into my thought process?”
    Please understand that I have repented of and grieve for the choices I made as a non believer and have had to live with the consequences of those decisions. Not having Christian parents, I chose to marry a man that is an alcohalic, a habitual adulterer and abusive. Because of that choice, my children have a biological dad who’s influence on them is awful. He is a God mocker and has tried to tear down everything my husband and I have taught our children. It’s been very hard but I have known God’s love, grace and mercy even in the midst of a painful harvest. Thank you for your article….

  7. Leslie says:

    Very well put. This is a difficult subject for anyone, because it is an emotional issue for so many people as well as a biblical issue. I agree with you about the innocent victims of divorce not being under bondage to the vows that they did not break. If a husband (or wife) takes it upon themselves to break the marriage vow against the Lord and their sponse. They are solely responsible. Yes, both partners sinned in their marriages, because all people sin to some degree in their marriages. Do only divorced people hold grudges and bitterness, yell at each other, or mistreat each other. NO WAY!

    I talked to someone close to me who spoke of how she was treated after her divorce because of abandonment. I think it behooves us to be careful in our judgments. Every situation has such different circumstances. Let’s let God be the judge lest we fall into temptation. I believe most people are simply afraid that they could be in the same situation and it heightens their criticism and condemnation. Thanks for putting the Scripture out there and letting the Bible speak for itself.

  8. Catherine says:

    Thank You So Much for writing these articles!! I totally think divorce, something that God hates, happens way too often. Sometimes, though, in this age of easy, no-fault divorces, there are no options. If a man or woman doesn’t want to be married, the law isn’t going to make him. It’s traumatizing long-term for many, the spouse betrayed and the children. The church hasn’t handled it well, and I’ve seen people leave church and walk away from their faith because of the treatment they received. You have brought a lot of clarity to this situation and to the Scriptures. Thank You. I’ve been told that I am committing adultery by having remarried. This was told to me in front of one of my children! The reasoning was, even if I Biblically could divorce, I shouldn’t ever remarry or I was committing adultery and so was the man I married. Luckily, I didn’t believe it, even if it did sting a little. I had a pastor who totally said that belief was false. Some don’t have anyone to stand up for them and show Scripture on the truth. Thank You again. I look forward to part 3.

  9. Beth says:

    I find this article interesting because I come from a very liberal church background. Although they would not allow divorced men (back then) to stay a pastor or become a pastor, lately it seems the denomination I grew up in (and later left because it’s become very un-Biblical and emergent) does nothing to help a suffering marriage, but everything to help a divorced person recover and find “happiness” again. Divorce recovery classes, blended family classes. It’s like they are more willing to clean up after the messes rather than teach members how to avoid the messes. The attitude of “it’s not our place to tell people how to live their lives” yet “we’ll be there to help you clean up after you destroy yours” is a backward philosophy. I married a man 2 years post his divorce. The pastor of my parents’ church wouldn’t do our pre-marital counseling because he’d been divorced before, so we had to find another pastor who would. Again, backwards. Why not help a couple LEARN how to succeed in marriage and allow for redemption to occur? The church needs to get with the program here in my opinion. Great article and much needed.

  10. Tamara says:

    Thank you for posting this. I come from a Pentecostal denomination, and it never ceases to amaze me that divorce is still considered “unforgivable.” My father was married before (in high school), and his ex-wife left him on the side of the road and divorced him several years later. He really had no say in the matter. A year or so later, he met my mom and the rest is history. They have been married for 40 years! I know that God has truly blessed them (and my sister and I). However, I’ll never forget as a teenager when a young woman in our congregation told me that my sister and I were both bastards because my dad had been married before. It took several years for me to get over that!!

    This is truly an area that believers need to change their thinking.

  11. Annette Wolf says:

    I agree; this is a much needed message. It sounds like many have been touched by it. Thank you for being courageous and posting it!

  12. Stacy McDonald says:

    To clarify your point, Jennifer, it surely does not matter how we “feel” when it is compared to what “God says;” however, the point here is that people are misinterpreting what God has truly said, to the detriment of families and the furtherance of the Kingdom.

  13. Kimberly Lewis says:

    Exactly Stacy! I was willing to listen to what these people, who I came to respect and love, were saying but I could not find the Biblical justification for divorcing my husband of 12 years because of their reasoning. They totally leave off what Christ says “except for fornication” and where Paul says, “If the unbelieving depart…let him depart”. Their own denomination did not require this in the beginning and there were many that were being divorced in the anabaptist faith because they were leaving the “true faith” the catholic church and reading the scriptures for themselves and realizing that alot of what they were being taught by priest etc, was not biblical. I think it became a church doctrine in the late 1800’s and was probably due more to a wanting to keep out ungodly influences and the liberal theology that was creeping slowly into the church at large. I understand that but it is wrong to say God says it. I had a sweet sister weep because she said she would not see me in heaven because I am divorced and remarried. I tried to talk with her about it but she grew up in that theology and can’t see past it.

  14. I have re-read this article again after posting a message on your FB wall. It just brings back so many memories of when I first dated my now husband. I grew up in a divorced home so I knew the extreme pain that a child feels when a parent is missing. I had studied divorce as I grew older and knew what the Word said. I remember when I first met my now husband and we chatted. He had seen my sing a few times and knew who I was long before I had met him. He had jokingly told a friend that he knew he would marry me someday so he wasn’t ready to talk to me yet. :) His heart and life had been devastated by a cheating mate. He tried for over a year to make things work but, she wanted no part in it. I love that about him. Even though he knew he had grounds to leave he didn’t.

    So, when we met his heart was fragile, damaged. It was years …I think 3 since this tragedy in his life. Before this had come about he was engaged as a 19 year old and his fiance was killed in a car/train accident as he drove. He has been through so much.

    As we became better friends he laid it out on the line…”I’m divorced.” He told me that it was adultery and my heart broke for him. I knew the pain from watching my parents and even step-parents that had gone through it. I was very surprised as we began to date that anyone would feel we shouldn’t marry. I was told he wasn’t good enough…and so many hurtful things. We couldn’t even get married at our church!!! We had to go to a different place to be married but, could have our reception back at our home church.

    I am so thankful for my husband, 12 years later. I am thankful God has changed us so much! Through the hate, the mean words, the discouragers…God was there. He loves us so. I am thankful that He loves us enough to change us. From where we were to now is a very different place. Legalism is killing the church.

    Thank you again for getting this message out. It is needed.

  15. christine says:

    I also have an issue with the idea that it’s good for children to spend time with the adulterer who abandoned his family. The courts and society have seen the value of families staying together and will tell you how important a father is in the life of his children, which is true, if he is a good man. But, it is not good for children to spend time with a man who is actively living in opposition to God’s word. And yet, that is the law.

  16. Stacy McDonald says:

    I feel for you, Jennifer. It is certainly a false doctrine that is based on the misinterpretation of Matthew 5:32. And I can understand that some are taught these things and are only trying to do what they think is right. There was a time when I struggled and almost believed this doctrine myself (But, God!).

    However, what bothers me most is when you try to discuss the Scriptures surrounding this subject there are those who refuse to even discuss it, much less study it. Why? Because it doesn’t directly affect them. They just go with the flow of what they’ve already been taught, and blindly believe what they’ve always been told. And, in the process, they crush those whose lives are affected. They have no idea how devastating this doctrine is to many, many families. We are to treat others the way we want to be treated; and, if we were the ones whose lives were being ripped apart by this topic, we would want others to rightly divide the word, and care enough to study it.

    I guarantee you these same people, if they were suddenly abandoned by their spouses, and their worlds were suddenly ripped apart by a tragedy such as this, would study hard to make sure that what they had always believed was true.

    The thing is – if this doctrine were true, if this is what God wanted, then He would provide the grace and the peace, and the provision needed to get through it. And He still does provide for those who are wrongly placed under this heavy yoke; but, it is a yoke placed there by men, not God. Just like God takes care of His people who are in other forms of slavery and oppression, but, it doesn’t make it right.

  17. Tasha says:

    WOW!!!! THANK YOU!!!!
    I am currently separated from my husband (6 yrs now) and I was told that this is the way things would have to remain. I was told if I divorced him I’d be in sin. He walked out on us and later began various relationships. So I have stayed in a marriage that is no longer a marriage.
    Thank you for shedding light on this subject. Thank you for not condemning us single mother’s that hope one day to have a marriage and family. Thank you.

  18. Tam says:

    Stacy,

    Yesterday’s article was very appreciated. Today’s post…I’m so humbled and grateful right now. I was raised in Pentecostal church where divorce was an absolute no-go. When I married “j” I worried about it all, but in listening to my flesh more than God I went ahead with my plans. We married. It was three of the most violent and depressing years of my life. He was manipulative, abusive, selfish and he cheated on me–to the point I didn’t know if he was cheating on me with a man or woman. Needless to say, it was difficult to maintain church ties until I realized with all my heart that God was my only hope. It is with great discouragement that my “friends” I had grown up with suddenly turned into frenemies who would lie to get out of get-togethers with me. Even though I hadn’t divorced, hadn’t even mentioned it to anyone, they knew the problems in my marriage (the abuse) and I was already tainted. The people I had known most of my life became virtual strangers and I a pariah. I remember crying out to God about what to do. When it became apparent that he would not change, and that he was getting bolder in his behaviors (for example, on our anniversary, he spoke with a female “friend” for 3 hours–when we were supposed to go to dinner, throwing things at me, etc.), I just felt release. He did not abandon me because he wanted to be a martyr, he wanted the pity. I really struggled with this and it tore my heart out that no one at the church seemed to offer any hope whatsoever. In fact, the only friend my ex hadn’t run off what one who doesn’t care for church and calls herself “religion lite”.

    Leslie said, “”I believe most people are simply afraid that they could be in the same situation and it heightens their criticism and condemnation.”

    I tend to agree. Looking back at those days, I am sure that some of the shunning wasn’t intentional but rather they were afraid of what was happening could happen to them or even that perhaps they didn’t know what to say, so rather than stumble, they just kept silent or kept away.

    I still remember crying out to God after I left my ex. I remember asking Him that if it was right and His plan, to please send me the man He wanted me to be in covenant with. One month later, my now-husband and I re-met and began talking. The only issue I had was that he wasn’t in church. At the time though, I believed in God but was having anxiety attacks at the thought of walking into a church building full of church people. So, I kept praying as we dated and even as we married. I felt such a peace when we were married. It wasn’t easy, he had to deal with quite a bit of my battle scars from both the marriage and the problems that arose from the situation in the church.

    It took ten years before I could truly walk into a church without an anxiety attack or feel like I was being judged. God moved in both of our lives and now my husband is a wonderful, God-fearing man who is becoming a leader in our church (not the same one). My daughter from our first marriage considers him her father and my ex her playmate. My husband even tells people that God knew he wouldn’t give me a daughter so this was God’s way of making sure he got his little girl. Our sons are following in his footsteps as he tries to follow Christ’s example.

    Our lives have been greatly enriched in God and I cannot think that if we were living in sin as some old friends would say, that God would bless us and bring us even closer to Him. And He has in so many ways.

    We need to reach out to the hurting with His hands and love–not our own! We need to lean not to our own understanding and instead follow the word of God on this and all matters. You never know what harm you could do either out of misbelief or ignorance (of what to say).

  19. Jennifer says:

    I agree Stacy; my point was that if people suffer because they’re following a command that man and not God set, it makes it all the harder if they’re deceived into thinking He DID set that law, so every tearing of grief inside them is believed to be sin, useless, or insignificant and meant to be ignored.

  20. Thank you!! I totally agree. So many would not talk or listen…I am wondering if they even knew what the Word has to say. I am with you…I think they would dig in and want to know what God’s word really says if they were the one abandoned by adultery.

    My first experience with this type of situation was with my mama. I was 7 when my dad left for someone else. He was the youth pastor at the church we went too. Even after he left…remarried for 7 or 8 years my mom was not aloud to sing in the choir or be involved in many things due to the divorce. She did nothing wrong.

    I am so thankful that God has called me and works in my life daily!! I am thankful that those people and churches, despite the junk…have been used to teach me so much.

    “Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives, is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.” —Corrie Ten Boom

    TASHA! My heart aches for you. I am so glad that God brought you here to read this blog today!

  21. Alexia says:

    thank you Stacy!

    almost 10 years ago… I found myself pregnant and abandoned. Jesus found me there. I thought that as a Christian it was MY job to save my sons father, so when he got out of jail (my son was 3months old) I married him.

    2 months later he left…. so now I had a 5 month old and I was ‘married’, but I couldn’t attend any of the married couple things at church… because my husband was simply gone. living on the street and doing drugs, and partying… and refusing to come home.

    he ended up getting back together with an ex… and after half a year of waiting while he was with her…. I ended up backsliding.

    the church was just NOT helping… I think they aren’t really sure HOW to help in this situation… No one had the guts to study the Word as Stacy did and give me permission to file for divorce.

    so I backslid and ended up meeting my current husband. but it caused YEARS of heartache and wounds that God had to heal…

    NOW, I struggle with whether to mention it or not… it feels like God can use my experiance to help heal others… but I always feel like they are going to ‘judge’ me like my old church did…..

    anyway, thank you so much for bringing this out in the open for others to heal. it needs to be discussed and thought out with other Christians!

  22. Stacy McDonald says:

    Wow, ladies, your stories have touched my heart this evening. I just read through your various testimonies and it just confirms to me how crucial it is that these subject are handled openly and biblically.

    Hollie, Mary Joe, Kimberly, Catherine, Beth, Tamara, Jennifer, Alexia – God can use you and your stories in amazing ways. Praise God for all he’s done in your lives. We serve an amazing God – and I am so thankful He brought you through to the other side of this trial so that you can give Him the glory and testify of His grace. Praying the church begins to pay attention.

    Tasha – *hugs* I am so thankful the Lord brought you here. If you want to talk, please feel free to contact me privately. I am praising God for you and your tender, faithful heart for Him. I know He is and will continue to bless you.

  23. Martha says:

    This is a personal topic for me as well, even though I have never been divorced. I grew up in a household where my dad had been married before. The way our family was treated because of this, was shameful and effected me to the point that I would never expose my children to that ever. I decided that if for some reason I ended up divorced, I am not sure I could ever get remarried because of the severe and cruel treatment we suffered as children. It is because of some of the treatment that some of my siblings turned away from the truth. I know they are ultimately responsible for their actions and decisions, but I know some Christians who will be held accountable for their mistreatment in the name of God, over this issue.

  24. sharon says:

    I cant tell you how much this has helped and encouraged me and it is so clear now, and so many good points..thank you so much …

  25. Dianne says:

    Thanks for such an enlightening article, Stacy! I have basically always felt the same way, but I didn’t hear a lot of people who did, so frankly I am surprised YOU feel this way. I always thought that maybe I didn’t understand those scriptures very well, so I kind of rode the fence flip-flopping between the two sides. Thanks for clarifying this subject so I can help minister to my sisters in Christ who are the innocent party.

  26. Darlene M says:

    I so needed something like this. My divorce is nearly final. He sought it after being unfaithful and other things. I just needed a bit of peace that I would be free to remarry if the opportunity presented itself. I have been faithful even throughout the year long separation and past (we separated in May 2010). He is now trying to make it appear as if I were the one who instigated the divorce, but God knows the truth. He abandoned me LONG before the divorce as far as emotionally, mentally, etc. We were strangers living in the same house for a long time. His infidelity was just the excuse for him to end the marriage and I’ve been so thankful because I’m no longer being treated like a nonentity, invisible, unloved, unwanted. I’m no longer treated like a visitor in my own home. So while I am sad another marriage ended, I am happy that I get another chance at life and happiness.

  27. Jeanette says:

    Rom. 7:2-3 “For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.”

    Say a woman marries another man when her husband is still alive… she is called an adultress from this passage correct? How is it any different if the victim (i.e. the one who is left behind) marries another? I am not trying to be difficult, just trying to rightly understand the Word.

  28. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Jeanette,

    It is important to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. The verse you referenced is using as an example a woman who is bound to her husband by law because of her marriage covenant to him. Her husband is faithful – there is no broken covenant. If she breaks covenant with him by marrying or sleeping with another, she is an adulteress. If he dies, she is obviously free to marry. This verse was not specifically about marriage – marriage was simply the analogy used for a discussion on the law. It was in no way speaking to the abandoned wife, except to perhaps say that the husband who forsakes his marriage vows to his living wife (like the adulterous woman in the example) is an adulterer.

    “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery… (Matthew 5:32)

  29. Randy Fast says:

    Originally posted on FB Thread by Del Whaley:
    Stacey, I will spend some more time on your website as time permits. BTW, Nice looking website. Though I may disagree with Del on some points,(so much that I have not joined to identify with the 7000), I haven’t figured your position yet. I do agree we need to pay attention and address this issue biblically. I have studied this for the last 8 years and have concluded that it is not life-long BONDAGE to stay celibate as an example of faithfulness to covenant vows. YHWH (the LORD) in His divorcement of Israel was open for their repentance and DID NOT “move on” to a betroth a “new” bride. In fact He came as Messiah to “seek and to save” the “lost sheep of Israel.

  30. Shanna says:

    Having been through this I fully understand the pain and rejection,
    My ex husband abandoned me with 2 small children and another on the way! My husband and i experienced crazy stuff when we wanted to get married! Three pastors 1of which IHad known half my life refused to marry us Simply because I had been divorced. My husband who had never been married was told he would never be allowed to teach, be a missionary or hold any position inthe church! Ughhh needless to say we are no longer a part of this denomination because that is what they believe and many other things. But it is crazyto punish the innocent party

  31. Jennifer says:

    Amen, Shanna. So sorry for your treatment.

  32. Tiffany says:

    Difficult subject – well handled.

    Thank you for working on this blog. I rarely comment – but am very grateful for your work here!

  33. Kelsey says:

    Thank-you so much for this article series! I just found it today and have read it and re-read it. It has been so encouraging to me in a way I never would have expected. Thank-you.

    I’m 23 and divorced. I married the man I thought was the love of my life, a “Christian” man who had wooed me and said all the right things, but after we married, he was abusive, uncaring, mostly absent, and just walked out of my life after only five months of marriage. He now has a boyfriend, or so I’ve heard through a mutual friend.

    I admit it, I filed the divorce papers. He was refusing to speak with me and I honestly knew he would never reconcile. My church was completely absent as I cried and hurt and went through all this. Then, the nightmare started. Once I finally started to heal and move on, church elders and pastors started calling me, sending me letters, visiting my shop at all hours of the day, telling me to repent and go back to him. Never once did they listen to my story, they called me a liar regarding things that had happened, and publicly humiliated me in front of the church. I am no longer even welcome in that church, barred from attending and taking communion, yet they are still coming after me.

    I currently attend a different church, and through all this God himself has been so good to me. Just two weeks ago a wonderful Christian man asked my dad if he could court me. This man knows all my past, and still wants me.

    I like the term grace widow. I may start using it. Thank-you for explaining all the things I already knew in a way that defends the truth of the Bible so well, yet gives proper allowance for grace. Thank-you.

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