Christian Biblical Counsel: DIVORCE AFTER YEARS OF MARRIAGE

Background

It is difficult to describe the sense of shock, hurt, bewilderment, emptiness, anger, rejection, isolation, and loss of self-worth felt when someone has been deserted or divorced after many years of marriage. The person wonders: Can this really be happening to me? How could he or she do this to me? Where did I fail? What could I have done differently? The most important question is, What do I do now?

In spite of the trauma of the divorce, the person must be helped to realize that life goes on. The fact of the divorce must be accepted; he or she is now single and must face the future as such. It is futile to continually dredge up the past and try to relive it. Facts cannot be changed by self-torturing questions. It is entirely possible that he or she couldn’t have done anything differently to save the marriage.

An emotionally healthy person will leave the past behind and go on and grow in the present. The apostle Paul provides the example:

“One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13).

The divorced person must look at the experience as transitional, as a time to make adjustments, of expanding personality through reading, reflection, and building or rebuilding friendships which will help him or her grow.

If the person needs professional counseling during the transition, he or she should look for a qualified pastor or a Christian psychiatrist or psychologist who can approach the problems in the light of Scripture.

 

Helping Strategy

1. Encourage the inquirer by projecting love and understanding. The hurts, emptiness, and sense of rejection may be very deep.

2. Be a good listener, trying to get the whole picture before offering any comment. Sometimes we respond too quickly with advice, when a question to stimulate conversation would be more in order.

3. When you feel you have a proper understanding of the situation, reassure the caller with the verses from “Scripture” at the end of this section. Emphasize that God loves him or her and cares about what is happening. Jesus knows what grief and sorrow are: “He [was] despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3). Ask the inquirer if he or she has ever received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Explain the gospel – Christian Biblical Counsel: STEPS TO PEACE WITH GOD

4. Explain the value of Bible reading and study. This will give the inquirer perspective and insight as he or she tries to adjust to a new lifestyle and grow in the Lord.

5. Urge the person to pray every day: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7, NIV).

6. Recommend becoming involved in a Bible-teaching church. Often a Christian singles group can be found which will provide opportunities to share experiences, to grow, and to serve.

7. Pray with the inquirer for the Lord’s help in this difficult time of transition as he or she seeks to build a new life.

 

Scripture

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11, NIV).

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you” (Psalm 139:17–18, NIV).

“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame” (Isaiah 50:7, NIV).

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

 

Other suggested Scriptures:

Psalm 16:8

Psalm 18:2

The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook; World Wide Publications, 1984, 1996

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