Note: this is for EVERYONE on EVERY facet of kingdom living. Not just marriage-divorce situations, though that’s what it is hitting on, firstly.
A friend sent me this excerpt. So this is a transcription by Shannon Maloney of an excerpt from Elisabeth Elliott on an essay entitled, “Is Divorce the Only Way?”:
Remember the martyr Stephen. It was witness that mattered, not self-preservation. Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It was witness that mattered, not self-preservation. I am not referring here to the popular use of the word witness—talking to somebody about his soul’s salvation. I am speaking of a life laid down in obedience, whatever that obedience may entail. Such a life witnesses to love for God.
One who loves him does what he says, cost what it may. Not a hair lost? No, not in terms of the Kingdom. But yes, in this world’s terms, more than a hair—the life itself—may be lost. If it is the Kingdom of Heaven you really want, then you can do only what fits the terms of that Kingdom. You will not be asking, ‘What are my rights?’ Or ‘Will this solve my problem?’ Or ‘What will I gain by this?’ You will be on your knees instead, saying ‘Thy Kingdom come,’ which means ‘My Kingdom go.’
It is very likely that the first task assigned to you will be repentance… After you have done that, you must forgive. You must forgive the other one even if he/she does not forgive you, and cares not at all to be forgiven.
As with the healing of a physical wound, there may need to be both cutting and cleansing before there can be healing. The Word cuts. Taking heed to the Word cleanses. Then God (and only God) does the healing. He creates new life and new flesh.
Does it seem impossible? Then perhaps you’re still thinking in the context of this world. Try the other context, the one in which all things become new and even the dead are raised.Elizabeth Elliott – “Is Divorce the Only Way?”
Of course this is just an excerpt. I haven’t read the whole thing myself. There are certainly other things to consider on all this (and I’m not sure how much Elliott covers other facets in the essay).
But let’s let this sit with us thoroughly first.
If we don’t start at this place–of setting His kingdom desires over ours, of setting His glory over self-preservation–nothing else said on the topic is worth discussing.