The Gold Coast Sun ran an article this week called “Rocky Road to Splitsville”, in which they cited statistics showing that the Gold Coast is the divorce capital of Australia.
Statistically someone who is divorced is likely to be in more financial hardship than married couples. All too often this is exacerbated by lengthy and expensive legal fees in an effort to get their share of assets. In the Gold Coast Sun article, lawyer, Michael Yarwood is reported to have said, legal action will “achieve little and divide the parties more.”
When people go through divorce, rarely, if ever is there a winner. There is hardship and pain. If you have been through a divorce or know someone who has been through a divorce than you likely know this.
When you hear someone is divorced what comes to your mind first? Maybe it goes to Luke 16: 18 which says, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” Certainly Jesus calls us to take marriage seriously and not divorce lightly. In a time when women were all too often treated as a commodity, Jesus says you cannot trade in or discard your wife just because you are bored or want a change.
There is another moment of Jesus that comes to mind about divorce as well. It’s recorded in John 4. Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at a well. In that culture when women came to fetch water they would not normally be alone, but in a group. The reason is that there is safety in numbers and water jars are heavy. Women would also normally come early in the day, or in the afternoon. They came in the cooler parts of the day, rather than in in the hottest part. When Jesus sees a woman getting water alone at midday he understands that there is something a miss. She is an outcast in some way.
Later in the story we learn why? She has been married and divorced several times. It is something about her that Jesus seems to have known all along. Knowing her situation, how does Jesus treat her?
He treats her with dignity, care and respect. He talks with her at length, and in doing so reveals His identity to her. He then trusts her to take his message to her village.
It’s not a bad model to follow is it. If you live on the Gold Coast, statistically 1 in 10 people you encounter will be divorced. Will you quote Luke 16: 18 to them? Or will you stop and see them the way Jesus saw a Samaritan woman at a well? Someone who is more than their past choices or experiences, someone who has value, worth and dignity, and who deserves your care and respect.