Ours is a fallen world; it is a broken world, a broken society with a broken economy, a broken political system, broken values and priorities.

Adam in his thoughtless affront against the Authority and Government of God through disobedience became the first broken man in a dysfunctional home; his son Cain, committed the first fratricide; he killed his brother Abel.

The Home: An English proverb says that “East or West, home is best”.  Somebody has said, “Every bird loves its own nest, the owl thinks that its habitation, the old ruins, is the fairest spot under the moon. A dog is said to be a lion when it is at home”. A first-century Roman commander and author, Pliny the Elder declared, “Home is where the heart is”.

In a nutshell, the true home is expected to be a place of comfort, security, freedom, peace and happiness. Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, says “The husband is expected to be the ‘house band’ binding the home together like a cornerstone but not as a milestone that crushes everything”.

So the man is both a representative and the typology of Christ in the home.  Of course, the wife is expected to be the type of the church, the virtuous body of Christ. Prov. 31: 10-12; 30. An ideal home on earth is a reminder of our Heavenly Home, the place of ultimate rest.

The Home, a Societal Foundation: God laid the foundation of the first human society by establishing a home. Subsequently, most human societies are built around family structures as building blocks. When the home breaks, the society breaks with dire consequences. Hence, Billy Graham the popular 20th/21st century evangelist warned saying, “The basic unit of any society is the home; when the home breaks, the society is on the way to disintegration”.

Causes of Broken Homes: Marriage is one of the first topics discussed in the Bible and mentioned in detail in the New Testament. Causes of broken homes include:

  1. Lack of love: When the man’s love dwindles and he begins to look elsewhere outside the home for his satisfaction.
  2. Premarital pregnancy. A man forced to marry a lady because of pregnancy without love can be a problem.
  3. Infidelity and adultery. Extramarital affairs can cause a separation.
  4. Wife battering can lead to a divorce.
  5. Incompatibility of the couple’s blood group.
  6. Economic challenges where the man cannot provide for his family can lead to a breakup.
  7. A very serious cause is the failure of the couple to seek God’s approval before marriage. Even where God says, no, some of our youths are still bent on going on with the marriage. Marital tensions are not unique; they can also be observed in the marriages of Abraham, Jacob, Job, Samson, David and others for various reasons.

The Case Of Mental Disorders: Many cases abound around us of couples killing themselves. Every spouse must note cases of strange behaviours of their partners. We may need the help of psychiatrists for an immediate assessment and help.  As long as a person with a mental challenge submits himself or herself to treatment, he or she can live a normal successful family life. Teachings on who he is in Christ must follow with prayers for a permanent cure.

God Hates Divorce: Even in the Old Testament, the Bible presents marriage as a permanent, intimate union between a husband and wife. This is God’s unchanging ideal, yet since the fall, man has lived on a subideal level. This is why Moses gave them guidelines for separation in Deut. 24: 1-4. It is a practice tolerated but never commanded nor divinely encouraged.

Divorce Permitted Among Christians?: The Old Testament Mosaic law permitted divorce legally only on the grounds of “UNCLEANNESS”. The theological debate over centuries before Christ was on “What exactly constituted uncleanness?” Jesus Christ, the father of theology Himself was contacted in Matt. 19: 3-9. He only clarified the contentious section of the Mosaic law of Deut. 24: 1-4. He told them that the meaning of uncleanness in their law was ‘fornication’.

Strangely, many Christians today are asserting that Jesus sanctions divorce on the grounds of fornication (uncleanness). You are misrepresenting Christ who was only educating the Jews on a worrisome clause in their theological book, the Torah. He was not addressing the church.

Never mind the comment of the disciples who believed that it is even better not to marry than to be stuck with a woman in an unhappy marriage. Matthew 19: 10. The disciples rather believed in a ‘divorce made easy’.

Jesus gave the church no law on marriage. The only law He gave the church is the law of agape love, God’s kind of love. John 13: 34. This is the law governing all Christian marriages. Whatever your action in your marriage, is it out of your agape love? Answering the Jewish question in Matt. 22: 36-40, Jesus declared that the law of love is the pedestal on which all the Old Testament Torah (laws) and the ordinances of the prophets (nevi’im in Hebrew) hanged. Matt. 22: 40.

What Is a Broken Home: ‘Brokenness’ is a condition in which something is badly damaged and unable to continue or work properly. Ordinarily, a broken home is viewed as the one in which one or both parents have been removed by death, divorce, desertion, separation or prolonged absence.

Broken Home- Broken Hearts: Somebody has said that a broken marriage is an emotional open-heart surgery. The late Dr. Myrles Munroe identified three traumas of a family separation namely: a broken heart, a broken spirit and a painful soul. A person’s heart is broken when the bonds of a relationship are broken.

What God Has Glued Together: A married couple are no longer two individuals but have become one flesh. The Bible says, “What God has joined (or glued) together, let no one put asunder”. Trying to tear apart a glued object (of powerful glue) will only end up in ruins; the original interface is lost forever. When the marriage breaks, the couple does not go back to being two individuals again but two parts of the same flesh, now torn apart with deep emotional wounds.

The right word is not SEPARATION but TEARING apart with part of you going with the other person. This is very difficult because a part of you is lost to him or her forever. It is the tearing of those bonds; the tearing of the glue which Jesus Has used to glue the husband and wife together; it is the RIPPING OFF of a part of your life away and leaving the webs hanging and bleeding; it is a wounded bleeding heart.

King Solomon said that, “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity but a wounded spirit who can bear”? The message translation says, “A healthy spirit conquers adversity but what can you do with the spirit that is crushed”. Prov. 18: 14. So a divorcee has a crushed spirit with an urgent need of help.

Those who have gone through this road will tell you that at times, it will take many years to heal. For some, it never heals except Jesus who Has come to heal the brokenhearted is allowed to intervene. Is. 61: 1. It is also pertinent to note that a home can still be broken with both parents present. Such a home is a dysfunctional home.

A Dysfunctional Home: Once the couple have no communication, interaction or investment in each other’s lives, the home is broken and becomes a house with roommates. Here the husband and wife cease to live together functionally as an integrated unit, whether or not they physically live together. This writer knew of a Nigerian family in the U.K. in the early seventies that communicated only by writing; they refused to talk to themselves.

Jesus And the Ministry to the Broken Hearted:  No one escapes the injuries of a broken home, not even the children. The trauma of a broken spirit is deadly. Jesus invites all that are labour and are heavy laden to come and rest. This includes those with a broken home. Matt. 11: 28; Jer. 30: 17.

A single mother once declared, “At the beginning of my single parenting journey, my children lived in a very broken home with a very broken parent-me. I was so broken that my children didn’t have a mom; rather a devastated overwrought adult living with them until the Lord took me back to my senses. She insisted that her children did not grow up in a ‘broken home’ but in a ‘single parent family’. This is a good lesson for others to note. When life tosses lemon at you, you must turn it into lemonade (sweet) juice.

Cures for Broken Homes: 1. There is the necessity to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and personal Saviour which we call regeneration. Where both spouses are children of God, the issue of divorce is very minimal. 2. Allow Jesus Christ into every fabric of your family life, even in minute details.

Becoming One: The oneness is not of the body alone through sex, not material possessions alone but in thinking, feelings, joy, sorrow, hopes, fears, successes and failures. Yet individual personalities are never obliterated but are combined in the relationship.

Inevitable Divorce:  Please note that some spouses hate divorce but it is forced on them by their partners. How do you explain a Christian brother who told a senior pastor that the following day after his marriage, his Christian wife packed her load saying that she was sorry but did not want to marry him again? At this time, it was 17 years since she left!

The man of God prayed with him and within 2 weeks, the lady phoned that she was feeling homesick. This was after being with another man for 17 years. Restitution is good but how many men will wait for 17 years because the church does not allow re-marriage? How many men will take a woman who has spent 17 years with another man? This is to underscore the fact that divorce is not as simple as many think it is.

Be Careful: A Nigerian proverb says that when the young one falls, he looks forward but when the elder falls he looks back. Many elders have done many wrong regrettable and irreversible things in the past that they regret today. The young ones are hereby warned to be careful. God help you.

Conclusion: My prayer is for all the children of God who have gone through the trauma of divorce that God will heal your wounds. Jesus is now your spouse and He will show you what to do. Insist that yours is not a broken home but a single-parent home. God will help you. For those of us having happy marriages, God will also sustain the joy to the end in Jesus’ name. Remain blessed.

Writer: Elder Omole: Sunday School Commentary April 2024