Q&A – Is it ok for a Christian to divorce an unbeliever?

Q: If a non-Christian person marries another non-Christian person and then down the road, one of them becomes a Christian, should they get a divorce or how should this be handled? In your “Hitch” series, I believe you stated that a Christian shouldn’t marry a non-Christian and that it will cause problems. So how does the “new” Christian handle their already married life to a non-Christian?

A: This question is something that is addressed in scripture in 1 Corinthians 7:12-13.

12To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.

This passage teaches that if a believer is married to an unbeliever, then they should continue to stay married and the believer should be a godly example to the unbelieving spouse.

Verse 15 goes on to say… 15But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

A Christian can not stop a non-Christian spouse from divorcing them. The Christian should not initiate divorcing a non-Christian, but should remain with their spouse to represent Christ to the unbeliever in the kindness, generosity, and service they express to their spouse. The Christian should seek to constantly show the love of Christ in everything they say and do, and show their spouse how Jesus has radically changed them.

Let me know if you would like me to explain anything further or if you have any more questions.

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