- First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi - https://www.fpcjackson.org -

Divorce: Grounds, Prevention, Coping, Recovery

Divorce: Grounds, Prevention, Coping, Recovery
Deuteronomy 24:1-4, Malachi 2:13-17

We are continuing our summer
long series on marriage and the family, and today it is my task to speak to you
on divorce. It would be impossible to talk about marriage and family in any
kind of complete way without touching on this painful subject. The issue is
ubiquitous, even in our congregation, but also in our culture.

William Bennett, in
his Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, says, “The United States has
the highest divorce rate in the world. At present rates, approximately half of
all U.S. marriages can be expected to end in divorce. Both co-habiting and
remarried couples are more likely to break up in their subsequent marriages than
couples in first marriages. Divorce has a tremendous impact on children.
Apparently its most significant repercussions are on girls with regard to future
marital stability. A 1987 study found that white women who were younger than 16
when their parents divorced or separated were about 60% more likely to be
divorced and separated themselves. Even the Clinton administration’s domestic
policy senior advisor to the Vice President said, ‘Because of the shattering and
emotional developmental effects of divorce on children, it would be reasonable
for us to introduce breaking mechanisms that require parents to contemplating
divorce to pause for reflection.’”

This is a very
relevant subject, but it’s a subject that’s hard to speak on. It’s hard to speak
on this subject for a variety of reasons. When I preach on divorce, there are
those in the audience who are going through divorce or who have just gone
through it and they are so emotionally raw that it is hard for them to hear the
message. There are those who are divorced but who didn’t want the divorce that
they got and they are second-guessing themselves, wondering what they could have
done, and some of the things that I may say may even seem to encourage their
second-guessing. There are those who had biblical grounds for divorce and who
only reluctantly pursued divorce but who are still troubled in their consciences
and disappointed at the end of their dream for a happy lifetime marriage, and
they may feel a sting in the preacher’s words not intended for them. There are
those who have a marriage teetering on the edge and they are out of energy and
they are out of answers, and their spouse has long-since given up and to hear
the subject mentioned from the pulpit seems to be inviting a doom that they are
now beginning to reluctantly expect. There are those who are unbiblically
divorced and so internally defensive about the subject but they’ve never come to
grips with their own sin. There are those who think the Bible’s teaching on
divorce is unrealistic, out of touch, pie in the sky. There are those who have
friends or family members divorced or divorcing, and it’s hard for them to even
think about the subject. There are those who are deeply concerned about
marriages in our church and who feel frustrated as to what they might do to help
There are those who are worried about the effects of divorce on their children
or grandchildren or on other children in the church. And there are the children
of divorce–hurting, angry, and confused. And one neither wants to ordain the
future effects of parental divorce upon them nor ignore the reality of the
impact on them nor fail to show compassion for them as this most sensitive
subject is approached. And each of those groups of people has different
questions they are asking and wanting answers for. All of those things add up to
a huge challenge for the minister who wants to be faithful to God’s word–but
preach we must, for Jesus has spoken.

We’re going to look at
four key passages tonight: Deuteronomy 24, Malachi 2, Matthew 19, and 1
Corinthians 7. Now, bear in mind that everything that Derek has already taught
us about marriage, is relevant to this discussion of divorce tonight. It forms
the backdrop to that discussion because it is certainly true, that you cannot
understand the Bible’s teaching about divorce unless you understand the Bible’s
teaching about marriage. Now let’s hear God’s word. We’ll begin in
Deuteronomy 24.

“When a man takes a wife
and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he
has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and
puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, and she leaves his house
and goes and becomes another man’s wife, and if the latter husband turns
against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her
hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her
to be his wife, then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed
to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an
abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the
Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.” Thus far God’s word.

Turn to the very end
of the Old Testament to Malachi 2:13.

“This is another thing you
do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning,
because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from
your hand. Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness
between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt
treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But not
one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that
one do while he was seeking a godly offspring. Take heed then to your spirit,
and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. “For I hate
divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with
wrong,” says the Lord of Hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not
deal treacherously.” You have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet you say,
“How have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is
good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them.” or, “Where is the God
of justice?” Thus far God’s holy word.

Turn forward to 1
Corinthians 7:1.

“Now concerning the things
about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of
immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each man is to have her own
husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the
wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the
husband doesdoes. Stop depriving one another, except by
agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come
together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of
self-control. But this I say by way of concession, not of command. Yet I wish
that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from
God, one in this manner, and one in that. But I say to the unmarried and to
widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not
have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn
with passion
. But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord,
that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must
remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband
should not divorce his wife. But to the rest I say, not the Lord, I say, that if
any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him,
he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he
consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. For the
unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is
sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are
unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him
leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but
God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save
your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?”
Amen. Thus far the reading of God’s holy Word. Now, let’s look to him in prayer:

Our
Lord and our God, we ask for your help as we consider this word tonight. Teach
us wonderful things from your law. Convict us of sin; convince us of grace.
Change our lives. Turn back marriages headed for disaster. Restore the joy of
salvation unto the broken hearted and do all these things for your own glory, in
Jesus’ name. Amen.

In
these four passages we see four things.

First, in Deuteronomy 24, we
see a law that had been taken out of context. Second, in Malachi 2, an Old
Testament expression of God’s heart regarding divorce. Thirdly, Paul’s words,
which are almost like a New Covenant case law about mixed marriages and divorce.
And then in the passage we’ll read in just a few moments, in Matthew 19, we see
Jesus’ clear limitations on legitimate divorce.

I.
Divorce is almost always wrong.

I’d like to look at these passages with you tonight. Let me ask you
to turn back to Deuteronomy 24, and I want to point out two things about this
passage. This is the passage that you’re going to hear the Pharisees throwing in
Jesus’ face in just a few minutes. It’s the passage on which they based their
divorce law. And I want you to note two things about Deuteronomy 24. It is a law
that had been taken out of context by the Pharisees and here are the two things
I want you to see. First, the important thing to note here is that this is not a
command for divorce. It’s not even an approbation of divorce. It is a case law
primarily preventing certain remarriages. The second thing I want you to see is
this: the reason that this case law is given in order to prevent certain kinds
of remarriages, is to prevent the abuse of the sanctity of marriage. The case
law requires that if you divorce your wife and subsequently, your ex-wife
remarries, she can never remarry you. That law, on the one hand, protects
wives especially in a vulnerable culture from frivolous divorce, but on the
other hand, upholds the sanctity of marriage.

But even that having
been said, Jesus is going to say, this law is concessionary. Moses, He will say,
gave it, not because it meets the ideal of Genesis 2, but he gave it because of
the hardness of your hearts.

Turn to Malachi 2
again with me and there are two things I want you to see about this passage.
First, here we have God Himself declaring His heart about divorce, and His
declaration that “I hate divorce” shows us that divorce undercuts the creational
directives and ordinances of God recorded in Genesis 2. That’s the first thing I
want you to see. The second thing it does, this passage lets you know, is that
unbiblical divorce is not a modern problem; it was a problem for Israel at the
end of the Old Testament or Malachi wouldn’t have been talking about it.
Unbiblical divorce was a big problem for Israel at the end of the Old Testament
age.

Now, turn forward to
the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 7 and there are three things I want to show
you here. In 1 Corinthians 7, we have Paul’s words in response to the letter
that the Corinthians had written to him about divorce, about remarriage, about
celibacy and singleness and sexuality in marriage. First thing you need to see
is that the Corinthians have written to Paul asking him specific questions about
celibacy, sexuality in marriage, and in mixed marriages. Look at verse 1.
“Concerning the things about which you wrote.” Paul is saying, “You asked me
about it; I’m telling you.” He then talks to them about celibacy. He talks to
them about not depriving one another sexually within the marital relationship.
He talks to them about a call to singleness. He talks to them about continuing
singleness after widowhood, and then he talks to them about divorce. In verses
10 and 11– this is the second thing I want you to see–he simply repeats Jesus’
prescription against divorce. He simply stresses the one flesh ideal. He doesn’t
mention Jesus’ exception clause, the clause that we’ll see in Matthew 19, not
because he’s contradicting Jesus, but because he’s simply repeating Jesus’
ideal. Remember what he says? “Not I, but the Lord, say this.” In other words,
what I’m about to tell you is not something that I’ve had to come up with on my
own, I’m quoting Jesus on this. But then, in verses 12 and following, look at
them particularly, he deals with the situation of mixed marriages in Corinth. By
mixed marriage I mean a marriage in which either the husband is a pagan and the
wife is a Christian or the wife is a Christian and the husband is a pagan, and
the condition in which that has obtained is not that a pagan has married a
Christian or a Christian has married a pagan, but two pagans have married and
subsequently, one of them has become a Christian. In other words, this situation
of mixed marriages is caused by post-wedding conversions. And the Corinthians
have a question and it’s a legitimate question: What do we do? In our
congregation we have pagan husbands married to newly converted Christian wives,
and newly converted Christian husbands married to continuing pagan wives. What
do we do? Should they separate? They’re fighting like cats and dogs. And here’s
Paul’s rule; and I want you to notice that this is a rule. Look at what he says
in verse 12. “But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if a brother has a wife
who is an unbeliever and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.
“ Paul is not saying, “We don’t have any direct word from Jesus on this, so
here’s my opinion.” Paul is saying, as the inspired apostle vested by the Lord
Jesus Christ as a plena pententiary on his behalf, I lay down this law.
This is the way it is. If they’ll stay, keep them; don’t send them away.
Husbands, wives, keep them. His rule is: if the pagan will stay, then the
Christian should remain faithful to the pagan. But he goes on to say: if the
pagan will not have it, and if the pagan will not stay, then the Christian may
let him go and be free. Three very important passages about divorce.

Now let’s turn to what
may be the most important one of all, Matthew 19. And I want you to see two
things from this passage and then I would like to direct you to three or four
applications regarding the grounds of divorce, the causes of divorce, prevention
of divorce, and coping and recovery.

“And it came about, that
when Jesus had finished these words, he departed from Galilee and came unto
Judea to the region beyond the Jordan; and great multitudes followed Him and He
healed them there. And some Pharisees came to him testing him and saying, “Is it
lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?” And he answered and
said, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them
male and female and for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and
shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh?’ “Consequently,
they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together,
let no man put separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command to give
her a certificate of divorce and send her away?” He said to them, “Because of
your hardness of heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the
beginning, it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his
wife, except for immorality, and married another woman commits adultery.” And
the disciples said to him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like
this, it’s better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not all men can accept
this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs
who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who are
made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for
the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him
accept it.

Now, I want to say by
background that it is vital to realize that Jesus is the compassionate one in
this passage. Who’s the one out ministering in Judea? Who’s the one out
spreading the gospel in Judea? Jesus is out ministering in the borders of Judea
and multitudes are following him and as it is reported, he is healing them and
it’s vital for you to see Jesus as the one who is truly concerned about the
well-being of these people–especially in light of the strong words that he is
going to use. Jesus is the one who truly cares about people–not these Pharisees
who are encouraging easy divorce. As hard as Jesus’ words may seem, as
insensitive as his words may seem, he is the one who truly cares about people.
He loves them so much that he is ready to give them uncomfortable truth for
their ultimate good even if it is temporarily painful. J.C. Ryle says, “In these
verses, we have the mind of Christ declared on a subject of great moment, the
relation of the husband and wife, and it is difficult to overrate the importance
of these two subjects of the well-being of nations and the happiness of society
are closely connected with right views upon this. Nations are nothing but a
collection of families, and the good order of families depends on keeping the
highest standard perspective on the marriage tie. And so we ought to be thankful
that on these points the great head of the church has pronounced his judgment so
clearly.”

The Pharisees approach
Jesus and ask him to give them a ruling. It’s important to remember that in Luke
12, they approached Him to ask Him to give a ruling on the inheritance of the
man that was in dispute. He refused. But when they approached Him to ask for a
ruling on divorce, He quickly weighs in; Jesus is happy to stick His nose in
your personal business and tell you what you must do here because He is the Lord
of the Church, and His business is our marriage.

Now, the Pharisees
come to Him with a trick question wanting to trap him in a theological skirmish.
They want to damage His reputation and, actually, they would like to find Him
out of accord with Moses’ law or criticizing it. You see, there was a debate
among the Pharisees on this. One school of Pharisees says that there was one
ground for divorce–marital unfaithfulness–and another school of Pharisees taught
that divorce could be on just about any grounds. Jesus’ disciples may have held
the latter view. The Pharisees quote to him from Deuteronomy 24, and ask Him His
opinion on divorce. Jesus responds by saying, “You went to the wrong passage;
you needed to start the discussion at Genesis 2,” and He takes them right back
to Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, and He says that marriage is designed to create
oneness and that that should never be violated lightly and He closes with that
great phrase that you hear at weddings all the time, “What God has joined
together, let no man separate.”

The Pharisees follow
up with an explicit question based on Deuteronomy 24: 1-4, and they think that
they can get Jesus to criticize Moses, but rather, Jesus explains Moses. He
explains that Moses’ divorce law was permission–not command–it was by way of
concession. And He says that violation of the law of God on marriage is, in
fact, a violation of God on the law of adultery. Jesus’ words are strong. The
assumption of those Pharisees is that there are many occasions where divorce it
right. Jesus, however, makes it clear, listen carefully, that divorce is
almost always wrong.
That hurts; listen to it again: divorce is
almost always wrong. Instead of asking, “What will God let us get away with in
the matter of divorce and remarriage?” We ought to be asking with Jesus, “What
does God desire for His creatures in this matter?” Instead of asking, “What can
I get out of marriage for myself?” We ought to be asking how we can use this
marvelous institution for the benefit of our spouses–the vocation God has given
us–our children, our children-to-be, our grandchildren, our fellowmen, the
church and God’s kingdom. You see, the Pharisees were not asking, “What did God
intend marriage to be? Or, “How can we restore broken relationships which bring
such agony into marriage?” or “How can we foster reconciliation?” but, “When
can we allow people to get a divorce?” And Jesus points them back to the
original purpose of God.

II.
Jesus places the highest sort of requirement for commitment upon our marriage
vows.

Here’s the second thing I want you to see. Jesus’ disciples respond to
this in a way which, maybe, is not surprising to you and to me. Their response
is: If this is what’s required for marriage, maybe we should just forego
marriage. You see, like many in their age and ours, we are so allergic to
commitment that celibacy seems preferable to the kind of commitment that Jesus
is asking for. And you know what? Jesus doesn’t back down. He says, “Well, if
you’re called to be a eunuch; go do it.” There’s no backing down from Jesus. You
see, marriage is the second greatest commitment that a man makes in this life.
And how He performs here, says much about him. Jesus places the highest sort of
requirement for commitment upon our marriage vows. So what do we say to this?
Four words of application: grounds, common causes, prevention, coping and
recovery. Grounds: Jesus and Paul’s teaching together make it clear that sexual
immorality and irremediable desertion are the biblical grounds of divorce.

Listen to what our
Westminster Confession of Faith
says in chapter 24, sections 5 and 6:

“Adultery or fornication committed after a contract,
being detected before marriage, gives just occasion to the innocent party to
dissolve the contract. In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for
the innocent party to sue out a divorce, and after the divorce, to marry another
as if the offending party were dead. Although the corruption of man be such as
is apt to study arguments unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined
together in marriage.” Listen to that sentence again. The English throws you,
but it is saying something very important. “Although the corruption of man is
such as is apt to study arguments unduly to put asunder those whom God hath
joined together in marriage, yet nothing but adultery or such willful desertion
as can no way be remedied by the church or civil magistrate is cause sufficient
of dissolving the bond of marriage wherein a public and orderly course of
proceeding as to be observed and the persons concerned in it not left to their
own wills and discretion in their own case. “

This is tremendously
wise counsel–biblical counsel–from The Confession and the assembly of the
divines. Sexual immorality and irremediable desertion–do I need to say it?
Those grounds are extremely rare, even today, especially in Christian divorces.

Secondly, what are the common causes of divorce?
There’s no way that you could give a comprehensive list, could you? There’s so
many different things in different cases, but let me point to a few things. I
want to suggest to you that our environment makes it difficult for us to be
faithful in marriage today. Civil law, easy divorce, and a cultural mindset of
autonomy put enormous strains on marriages that used to not be there. A hundred
years ago, if you wanted a no-fault divorce–tough–didn’t even exist. You didn’t
have to weigh that as an option in the back of your mind; it wasn’t there.
You’re in a lousy marriage? You’re going to tough it out; there’s no option.
That puts an enormous pressure on marriages today. Unrealistic expectations put
an enormous pressure on marriages today. People think that marriage is the place
where they are going to find meaning and relationship and satisfaction and
communion beyond which they’ve ever experienced; and they get into marriage and
they find out–“My heavens, I’ve married a sinner.” And their hearts get broken
and their dreams get dashed and they find out that it’s hard work and they say,
“This isn’t what I was looking for. I was looking for the satisfaction part.”
And there are psychological problems that bring about difficulties in marriage
and there are unbiblical values that unsettle marriages. One partner is
committed to permanent, lifetime marriage and the other, though a professing
Christian is not, in principle committed to permanent lifetime marriage and
those unbiblical values play havoc. There are personal problems: anger, “I just
don’t love him anymore”; selfishness, inability to forgive, control issues, bad
communication, and the list could go on. But let me tell you one thing that I
see over and over in the Christian church is simply this: a deficit of
godliness. One partner refusing to think and act biblically.

How do we prevent
divorce in this kind of environment? Again there are too many things that need
to be said there for me to give anything like a comprehensive answer, but let me
suggest five answers to that. The first thing is personal commitment. Marriage
is not based on the emotion of love, it is based on commitment. I remember one
night sneaking in the back of a ‘Mrs. In Ministry’ meeting at Reformed Seminary.
You know, it’s supposed to be “girls only” but I figured a guy could sneak in,
so I did, and Jane Hogan was speaking. She was talking of her life experience
and marriage with Bill Hogan, her husband who was professor of preaching at the
seminary, and she said at one point in her talk, “Girls, I want you to know
this. I have never ever, in the course of our thirty-plus years of marriage,
considered divorce.” And you know, you could hear the, “Awe, isn’t that sweet?”
And then she went on to say, “Now, murder–that’s another thing!” And they
reacted just like you did. But what Jane conveyed that night was this. It was
not that she had never faced deep grief from her husband and unimaginable
disappointment; it was just that she was absolutely committed to not considering
the option of bailing out on her commitment. That kind of personal commitment
will have to be recovered broadly in our churches today if we ever want to curb
and prevent divorce.

Secondly, care in
choosing your marriage partner is absolutely vital. I know there are horror
stories about godly Christian people who went about a godly process of choosing
a partner and everything still fell apart; I understand that. But let me tell
you what–they are the exception to the rule. I don’t know how many marriages
I’ve officiated or how many marriages I’ve known since I’ve been in the
ministry, but you know what? That situation has happened about one time in
fifteen in comparison to bad choices in marriage being something that results in
divorce.

Thirdly, community
commitment to God’s word is vital. We need to create a culture that does not
cultivate or allow an easy attitude towards divorce. And it is vital, by the
way, in choosing your mate to realize the spiritual environment your potential
mate has been in. Has he or she been in an environment where, even in the
church, easy divorce has been cultivated or allowed or encouraged?

Fourth. Whereas in our
culture we assume that we have the right to divorce, Jesus’ teaching ought to
lead us never to assume we have the right to divorce until we have sought
spiritual counsel. See, we do it the other way around; we assume that we have
the right to divorce. That’s just given. Jesus says that most divorces are wrong
and that ought to lead us to never assume that we have the right to divorce.

Furthermore, fifthly,
we should never assume we have the right to remarry after divorce; we ought to
seek spiritual counsel. Jesus’ teaching is that most divorce and most remarriage
is wrong. And that ought to lead us never to assume that we just
have those things as rights. We ought to seek spiritual counsel. You would be
surprised at what just those things would do to help the prevention of divorce.

What about coping and
recovery? It’s so hard to do justice to this. Let me suggest that there are at
least seven impacts on a person who has experienced divorce. There is an
emotional impact in the loss of a marital partner and a relationship which one
thought was stable and one thought was for life. I’ve tried to do my reading
this week like Derek has all summer long, and over and over I read accounts of
divorce, I heard people talking of divorce as if it were a death, but worse than
a death. In fact, one man said, “It’s like standing over the grave of my wife
but never ever being able to say ‘goodbye’ because she’s not dead.”

There’s the legal
aspect–the nasty, lingering aspects of the judicial process. There’s a
financial, economic impact and fallout of divorce. There’s the parental impact.
The subsequent custody situations, the awkward situations with the children; it
gets even more awkward when remarriages come into play. There’s a relational
impact. Of course, there’s the relationship with the former spouse, but I’m
speaking here in those changes in networks which happened with friends and in
the community and even in the church. There are personal impacts; the sense of
isolation and loneliness; the new but strange freedoms; the choices that now
have to be made alone. And there is a spiritual impact. There is a religious
fallout from the divorce.

How can we as the
Christian church help in this process of coping and recovery–ten things, very
quickly. We can, as friends, take the initiative. You know what our tendency is
when this starts happening? It is to pull away; we don’t know what to say, and
we don’t know what to do. Take the initiative–wisely, tactfully–but take the
initiative.

Second, having taken
the initiative–listen. Call someone up on the phone and ask the question, “How
are you doing this week? And then do something really strange, just listen.

Thirdly, show
compassion. Sinner or sinned against; show compassion.

Fourthly, act to give
practical assistance. There are all sorts of practical fallouts to the
disruption of a marriage. What kind of practical assistance are we ready to
give? Are we going to say, “Be warm and be filled?” Or, are we really going to
help?

Fifthly, aim to
provide encouragement to the children–especially to provide Christian examples
and models.

Sixth. Pull them into
the life of the community. The instinctive reaction of the person who is single
again is to fee awkward–to withdraw from community. Pull them in to the life of
community.

Seventh. Be patient
and ready for the long haul. Recover and coping is not a process which is
concluded at the end of five minutes or one hour or two hours or three hours or
seven hours of good advice.

Eight. Realize that
divorce is like death and the emotional trauma usually takes two years to cycle
through from the time the marriage is actually legally over.

Ninth. Become, along with other friends, a natural
support group. The secular world has a support group for everything. We ought
not to have to title something a support group; we ought to be, as Christian
friends, the natural support group.

Tenth. Don’t encourage
remarriage unless there are biblical grounds. Seek the advice and counsel of
spiritual authorities. Don’t assume that remarriage is the right thing to do
here. So often you hear this, “Oh, you’ll find someone soon.” Don’t do that.
There’s so much more to be said; let’s pray.

Our Lord and our God, we
need so much help. Help to show compassion and love to friends who have
experienced this ultimate pain. So much wisdom to counsel friends who are going
down a course they ought not to be going.