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Miranda Writes: The Brady Bunch Doesn’t Live Here Anymore! Part 1




by Omar Miranda



The Brady Bunch was a popular television series on ABC from 1969 to 1974. I remember watching reruns as a kid and finding it really funny. Let me tell you a little bit about it.

The show was about an architect named Mike Brady who marries beautiful young Carol. She has been married once before and has three girls to care for. Mike’s first wife’s death has left him with three boys to raise. The family shared a four-bedroom house (which Mike designed) in an unnamed suburb of Los Angeles. The couple and their formerly separate families become the ideal average American middle-class family—close-knit and united.

Of course, raising such a large family wasn’t easy, so live-in housekeeper Alice Nelson was always there to lend a hand. The show’s stories revolved around family unity and sibling rivalry, dating, misunderstandings, family vacations, and generally growing up and learning to get along in a blended family. Every week problems came up, people got upset, and everything turned out great—on the show.

In the real world, divorce negatively affects families everywhere. It used to be that divorce was extremely rare, but now it seems that the rarities are teens who are raised in homes in which their parents are still married . . . to each other . . . only once.

Over the next four weeks we’re going to discuss these very important issues of divorce and learn more about how we can help both ourselves and friends and family who are hurting in the midst of this painful situation.

Throughout the next four weeks we’re going to be talking about the following:

• What the Bible says about divorce and remarriage
• Statistics of divorce
• Consequences of divorce and stepfamilies
• Grief/loss process
• What people need in order to be emotionally healthy
• Getting used to divorce and stepfamilies
• Getting along with new stepparents and stepsiblings
• Clarifying new family expectations/dynamics; and dealing with anger/jealousy/favorites in stepfamilies.

What does the Good Book say about divorce and remarriage?

Here is my “duh” statement for the week: God hates divorce! (see Malachi 2:16). God meant for marriage to be a lifetime commitment (see Matthew 19:6). However, a long time ago God was aware that since marriages involve two flawed, sinful human beings, it is unavoidable that divorces sometimes occur. God actually set some very specific laws regarding divorce and the protection of women against the abuses of divorce.

Later, in the New Testament, Jesus came along and clearly pointed out that these laws were given because of the stubbornness and selfishness of people, not because divorce was ever God’s perfect desire (see Matthew 19:8). The controversy over whether divorce and remarriage is allowed according to the Bible revolves primarily around Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9. Christ stipulated that the only legitimate reason for divorce and remarriage was “sexual immorality.”¹

Bible scholars who spend all their time studying this language have found that the Greek word translated “sexual immorality” is a word that can mean any form of sexual immorality. It can mean fornication, prostitution, adultery, sexual abuse, pornography, masturbation, and so on.

God is clear that a healthy and godly marriage has an important component that keeps it strong: sexual relations. In fact, God feels that sex is so important and special in marriage, He basically says that sex will glue two people together—and what God has glued together, no person should tear apart! (see Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31). If God cares that much about the sexual relationship in a marriage, it stands to reason that any tearing apart of that strong bond is a permissible reason for divorce.

Interestingly enough, in Matthew 19:9 Jesus also has remarriage in mind. The phrase “and marries another” indicates that remarriage is allowed in this specific instance of infidelity for the person who was innocent.

If we’re talking about exceptions to divorce, we’ve also got to look at what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:15. He basically says that a Christian is not bound to continue in a marriage if an unbelieving spouse wants to leave/abandon them and kick the spouse and family to the curb. But it doesn’t specifically mention remarriage.

Others claim that abuse (spousal or child) is a valid reason for divorce even though it is not listed as such in the Bible—except for sexual abuse, as I clarified above. I strongly believe that physically leaving the abusive person is always wise. Regarding this, here’s what the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . . says: “While the divine ideal for marriage is that of a loving and permanent union that continues until the death of one partner, at times a legal separation becomes necessary because of offenses such as physical abuse to spouse or child. ‘In some civil jurisdictions such a separation can be secured only by divorce, which under these circumstances would not be condemned. But such a separation or divorce, in which “unfaithfulness to the marriage vow” [sexual immorality] is not involved, does not give either one the scriptural right to remarry, unless in the meantime the other party has remarried, committed adultery or fornication [sexual immorality], or been removed by death [SDA Church Manuel (1986), p. 175].’”2

The numbers don’t lie!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read statistics showing that the divorce rate among Christians is nearly as high as that of non-Christians—and it’s true. Other statistics of divorce are also jaw-dropping; here are just two:

Statistics show that nearly two thirds of first marriages will end in divorce; that means about half of all American children will experience their parents divorcing.

And since more than 75 percent of divorced parents remarry and second marriages are more likely to fail than the first, many teens will go through a second divorce with their stepfamilies.

So how are we as Christians to respond to people who have gone through or are going through a divorce? Well, we respond to them just as Jesus would respond: with unconditional love, grace, kindness, compassion, and understanding. Just because somebody has grown up or is growing up in a divorced/blended family doesn’t mean that they’re faulty or damaged. We need to remember that as long as we’re living on earth, we’re all messed up and sinful. The best that we can do for each other is to love one another, because as the Bible says, “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). John puts it like this in 1 John 4:7, 8: “My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life. We are now God’s children, and we know him. God is love, and anyone who doesn’t love others has never known him” (CEV).3
Next week we’ll look at the consequences of divorce—and they are devastating. We’ll also take a look at the grief/loss process and how divorce affects us in that way.

Until next time, remember that God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make them good ones. Make God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

¹ Unless otherwise noted, Bible texts in this article are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
2 Seventh-day Adventists Believe . . . (Silver Spring, Md.: Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 2005), p. 338.
3 Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright © American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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