Every great once in a while I open up my inbox and find myself surprised by a question. It’s always a pleasant surprise and a great honor when anyone comes to me with a question.
Just last night a friend of mine on Facebook took the time to ask me a very good question: Can a preacher be divorced?
I’m going to share with you the very same response that I shared with her. Enjoy.
Dear Ms. Davis,
You asked, “Can a preacher be divorced?” A better question would be, Can someone who has divorced be a preacher?
First, everything you need to know about divorce can be found in just one, single verse in the Bible: Malachi 2:16: “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”
God absolutely hates divorce. There’s no question about that! As a matter of fact God hates all sin!
As a matter of fact, lets take that very same rephrased question and substitute a word or two. Shall we?
Can someone who has murdered be a preacher?
Can someone who has lied be a preacher?
Can someone who has gossiped be a preacher?
Can someone who has been a glutton be a preacher?
Can someone who has been a thief be a preacher?
Can someone who has cursed be a preacher?
Can someone who has been a blasphemer be a preacher?
Can someone who has gambled be a preacher?
Can someone who has been an alcoholic be a preacher?
Can someone who has committed adultery be a preacher?
Can someone who has failed to honor their mother and father be a preacher?
Can someone who has borne false witness be a preacher?
Can someone who was an atheist be a preacher?
Can someone who has not observed the Sabbath be a preacher?
Can someone who has ever worshiped anything other than God be a preacher?
Can someone who has loved themselves more than their neighbor be a preacher?
Can someone who has ever used the Lord’s name in vain be a preacher?
Can someone who has coveted be a preacher?
Can someone who was a homosexual be a preacher? Can someone who has divorced be a preacher?
I could keep going, Ms. Davis, but I’m not. There are plenty of sins that we could talk about and plenty of sins that we could cover. At the end of the day, we’ll still come to the same conclusion:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10).
The point is, Ms. Davis, God doesn’t call those who have been righteous to preach. He calls men and women who have been sinners to preach. If living a perfect, clean, spotless life was a requirement to be a preacher then there wouldn’t be any preachers.
As a matter of fact, we’re all called to fulfill the great commission of Christ: To make disciples of all nations. No one who is a believer in Christ is exempt from this call.
And like it or not, our lives may be the only Bible that someone may ever read. How we live our lives and how we conduct ourselves preaches Christ Jesus to them. Unbelievers are watching us and listening to us, just the same as you are watching and listening to your pastor at church. Our lives are a sermon! That makes every single one of us preachers.
So it doesn’t matter what your background is: God still wants to use you. He’s not limited by it. He’s not bothered by it. You’ve already turned from your sin. You’ve already repented of it. Christ’s blood has already covered it. It’s been forgiven. God’s grace is greater than whatever your sin was. It’s now a part of your testimony. He’s going to use it for his glory. It doesn’t matter to him. Do NOT let your past stop you from doing what God has called you to do. Do NOT let any man restrict you because of your past.
Do what God has called you to do. Go! Preach! And make disciples.
How would you have answered the question? Please leave a comment below with your answer.
Eric Johnson wears many hats! Husband, father, organic church planter, pastor, preacher, conference speaker, worship leader, songwriter, cancer survivor, and a semi-retired professional stand-up comedian, Eric has been really blessed over the years to have the following artists close the show for him: Hawk Nelson, 7eventh Time Down, The Josh Gilbert Band, and Shinebright. Eric makes his home in majestic mountains of Bristol, Tennessee, with his amazing wife, Crystal and their son, Kyle. Follow him at @EricIsGuitarted.