Series: The Things We Say
So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. Matthew 12:31 NLT
For Hester Prynne in Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, it was an A; for many others, it is a D.
In a Puritanical time period, Hester Prynne made the mistake of having a sexual relationship outside of marriage and getting pregnant. She was condemned, ostracized, and forced to wear a scarlet letter, A, on her breast.
When I was growing up, adultery wasn’t looked favorably upon either by most of the culture, particularly in the Bible Belt. But there was another sin that was equally looked upon with disfavor: divorce. Even most who were not of the religious persuasion thought two married people should stay together through thick and thin. Those who didn’t—for whatever reason, were treated almost like Hester Prynne.
In church life—which I knew a lot about, the divorced were looked upon differently. They may have been allowed to join the church—after all, they surely needed Jesus since they’d been divorced, but they were allowed to do little else. Teaching, preaching, serving as a deacon, working with children. These were all out of the question. The church was glad to have their money, but wanted little else from them. They had committed what many believed was the unpardonable sin.
Interestingly, divorce is not what Jesus classifies as the unpardonable sin.
He had strong words for those who attributed His work to Satan—and told them blasphemy (unbelief) could not be forgiven, but He never said the same about divorce. In the Old Testament, God said He hated divorce, but He never said it was unforgivable.
Divorce is detrimental. While some choose it, others have it thrust upon them regardless of what they want. Its sad effects meander through families, churches, and nations. But it isn’t the unforgivable sin.
The Bible is filled with examples of God using people with all types of issues in their backgrounds—murder included. If God can use murderers like David and Paul, surely He can use someone who has been divorced.
Telling or implying that someone is unusable because they have been divorced is as sinful as the sin they claim the divorced person has committed. God is in the business of restoration.
Don’t allow anything in your past to keep you from being used by God.
Prayer: Father, may we allow You to use our past instead of letting our past imprison us.