His wife said to him, "Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die!" - Job 2:9 HCSB

In a society overwhelmed by divorce, the issue of how we should interact with an ex-spouse is one that simply cannot be ignored. As a pastor, I have to help people with the consequences of divorce on a weekly basis: arguments over splitting up the “stuff” every marriage seems to accumulate, child custody, visitation, discipline and schooling; arguments over the selling price of the house…the list is nearly as inexhaustible as the ire.

How does a Christian deal with an ex? How can we negotiate the lives of our children with an abusive spouse? How can we do our part to establish justice when the legal system seems to be about everything but justice?

Above any human, even a pastor, we need to listen to God’s wisdom. If we don’t, we will suffer the consequences. Worse, our families will suffer the consequences.[1] We can always count on the Word to be correct. It is not plagued with the improper motivations and blind spots to which humans are so susceptible. It is clear and plain. If there is a problem, the problem lies not with the Word but with our willingness to obey it.[2]

We also need to establish in our heart the importance of protecting our children. Whether married or divorced, the call to protect our children remains paramount.[3] Parents are responsible to care for their children. That responsibility goes far beyond monetary support. We must provide them with safety – physical, moral and spiritual safety.[4] Our decisions must not hinder our children from coming to the Lord. We shouldn’t expose them to more sin than we can help. They mustn’t be deliberately put in a place where they will suffer harm. Instead, we should try to always give them the most opportunities they can have to know Christ and follow Him.[5]

When we are looking for advice, we shouldn’t go to the worldly - to those who are unsuccessful in life. It would be foolish to only go to those who will tell us what we want to hear. Instead, we should find the godly; men and women of character; people who are strong and have a servant’s heart. They will guide us well. If we listen to fools, our destruction is assured.[6] Do you take financial advice from a bum lying in his own puke in the street? So why take marriage advice from a person who has had four husbands? When a fool brays instructions and advice, your best bet is to simply let it go in one ear and out the other. Then turn to the job and do what is right.

[1] Proverbs 1:25-28; 23:12

[2] Proverbs 7:7-9; Deuteronomy 30:11-14

[3] Luke 17:1-2

[4] 1 Timothy 5:8

[5] Mark 10:13-16

[6] Proverbs 10:21