Words of Advice for Divorced People
One of the topics about which we are most frequently asked is in regards to divorce. People who are not divorced cannot imagine the prejudice against divorced people. There is also a great amount of inequity when it comes to the way divorced people are treated in many churches. However since there's nothing we can do about the way people treat us we must be careful how we deal with our own situations. There are some things that we can do that will make us more effective even after experiencing a divorce. I am writing this mostly for people who have been remarried rather than those who are divorced and still single. Let me make a few observations.
1. Stop thinking of yourself as a divorced person. To live your life labeling yourself as divorced would be the same as labeling yourself for any other sin that took place in the past. The Bible says let him that stole steal no more. I say that he that is divorced get divorced no more. Stop identifying yourself with what happened once in your life. I am not divorced. I am married. I refuse to let anyone put the label on me and I refuse to put it on myself.
2. Learn the mistakes from your past marriage without dwelling on the failure. Forgetting those things which are behind means stop thinking about your mistakes. Don't go there. You can't have a good marriage today if you are constantly beating yourself up for failures back then. Focus on the lessons you learned from your mistakes not the mistakes themselves.
3. Do not consider your marriage to be inferior to your first marriage. A second marriage is just as special and wonderful as a first marriage and in many cases it can far more wonderful. After years of being married do not consider this to be an inferior marriage. Just because you are in your second or even third marriage does not mean you have to look at it like it is less valid.
4. Do not make excuses if you are in your second marriage. Don't cheapen your marriage by making excuses for why you had a divorce in your past. Be excited for where your marriage is today. You have nothing to excuse. Making excuses requires looking back. The Bible does not tell us we should, “excuse those things which are behind.” It says to forget them.
5. Commit yourself to your present marriage as though it was your first. Treat this as though it were the only marriage you ever had. Be committed to it. In fact change your thinking to, “I am not on my second marriage. I am on my last one.”
6. Do not allow others to paint the big “D” on your back. If someone requires you to tell them whether you have been divorced, refuse. If it is an issue in a church, go to another church. It is a shameful question to be asked. Those who have experienced a divorce should not be treated as a second-class citizens. People can behave like we are, but do not accept it. The truth is, many second marriages are better than the ones of people who are looking down their noses at the ones who had a previous divorce.
7. Do not be discouraged by Pharisees. A certain preacher who had been judgmental to divorced people is now divorced himself. Do not rejoice in this, but understand that Pharisaism is often covering something one’s own life. He was creating an illusion of a happy marriage while all the time it was nothing more than a fraud. You would be surprised how many people who hold down divorce people are themselves struggling with their marriage, or with another sin of some type. Don't judge them, but don’t let them get to you either.
8. Use your testimony as a blessing to others. Use it to encourage others who have experienced a divorce. Plus, it is a testimony to the grace of God.
9. Celebrate your marriage as the perfect union that it is. You are not living in the acceptable will of God. You are living in the perfect will of God because God makes all things new and good. He knew about this marriage long before you ever experienced a divorce. Celebrate your marriage every day with delight and joy. No one can rain on your parade because you are walking under the umbrella of God’s grace.
If you are divorced hold your head up high. Do not allow yourself to wallow in a failure from years ago. Recognize the fact that there will be some who never except divorced people, but do not let them deter you from enjoying the manifold blessings of god in your life.
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