What the Bible Says about
Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

John Coblentz

As a Christian who has experienced divorce,
how do I cope with rejection?

Pages 54 - 57

Wrong as divorce is, some believers experience it. They may have been divorced against their will. Or they may have initiated the divorce prior to conversion or in a state of disobedience, and came to the willingness to rebuild their marriage after the damage of divorce has been done.

Painless divorce is impossible. Two hearts so gladly united in love are ripped apart. Out of the wound erupt questions that have no answers, replies that cannot be put into words, feelings too poignant for sense, and loneliness unimagined. In this emotional maelstrom are a thousand points of pain, each distinct from the other, each demanding examination and treatment, but all screaming one inescapable message: REJECTION!

No one who has been divorced can escape the pain of rejection. If the sense of rejection cannot be avoided, how can one cope with it? There are at least three things necessary for the Christian in such a situation.

1. Be honest about personal responsibility in the former relationship.

"If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:7-9).
A part of any Christian's ability to handle rejection is being willing to be honest with God and oneself, to acknowledge clearly one's sins and shortcomings, and to open oneself to purging and inner growth. Personal honesty in the emotional trauma of divorce, however, is difficult, to put it mildly. It usually requires the honest help of a trustworthy Christian friend or pastor.

2. Find the security of God's acceptance.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15).

"He hath made us accepted in the beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).

"And ye are complete in him" (Colossians 2:10).

"When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up" (Psalm 27:10).

Rock-bottom needs are met in God. He never intends that a companion provide our complete personal security. The Christian who experiences the devastation of being cast out of another person's life and love has the potential of experiencing acceptance with God in ways indescribable.

God's acceptance does not take away all the pain of marital rejection, but it reverses the effect of that rejection. It floods earth's sorrows with heaven's joy and gives fresh meaning and purpose to life.

3. Avoid bitterness.

"Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them" (Colossians 3:19).

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Hebrews 12:14, 15).

Bitterness follows hard on the heels of rejection. But any who give it lodging are harboring the worst of criminals. In the dark night of depression and discouragement, bitterness will stealthily bind the spirit, rob the inner life of joy and peace and love, slosh its wicked fuel over the whole life -- over memories, problems, personalities, situations past and present -- and light the whole scene with the fire of hell.

It takes faith to thwart bitterness effectively. "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked" (Ephesians 6:16). Faith chooses to acknowledge a sovereign God. Faith responds with an obedient yes to the direction of God. Faith receives heaven's responses to human needs. Faith changes the focus from the offender to the mighty DEFENDER. Thus, faith learns to rejoice in God and refuses to grovel in self-pity, blame, and resentment. Faith is the key to overcoming bitterness and rejection.

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