A terrorist bombing in NYC, shootings in Oklahoma and North Carolina, and riots in Kinshasa, Congo, all happened this week, but many will be talking about the divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Still, God is just as heartbroken over a broken family as he is about shooting victims, angry terrorists, and power-hungry leaders. And while society divides its limited attention among these various news stories, God focuses his infinite love on each one personally. Nothing escapes his gaze or his heart. God engages with each situation and moves, by his Spirit, in each one.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie first stirred the pages of tabloids in 2004 with rumors of their relationship, even though Pitt was still married to another actress, Jennifer Aniston. Eventually Pitt and Aniston divorced, and the super-celebrity couple dubbed “Brangelina” finally acknowledged what the paparazzi had already detailed publicly. Over the next 10 years, Brangelina adopted 2 more children, adding to Jolie’s first adoption, and had 3 more biological children. They range in age from 8 to 15.
Beyond acting, the couple is well-known for their advocacy and charity work. They established the Jolie-Pitt Foundation in 2006 for their advocacy and charitable giving throughout the world. Jolie has been a goodwill ambassador with the UN and then a special envoy for refugees, and Pitt showed his support for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The couple leveraged their celebrity status to sell photos of their newborn babies to the highest bidders like People Magazine, and then donated those millions of dollars to charity.
They did the same thing with their wedding ceremony, which happened in 2014. Now, just two years later, Jolie has filed for divorce from Pitt, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Concern for their children was the top-of-mind issue for both actors. Jolie said she filed for divorce “for the health of the family.” Pitt told People magazine: “I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids. I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time.”
Despite their hopes, the reality is that children are often the deepest victims of divorce. It has plagued human families for centuries. Jesus saw the institution of marriage being challenged in his day too. When the religious scholars questioned him about divorce, Jesus explained that God always planned for marriage to last for a couple’s entire life. Divorce was God’s concession for hard-hearted spouses. He knew how much it hurt everyone in the family.
The world faces many challenges today. Read Jesus’ words and hear his compassion. Let his words shape your prayer for Brad and Angelina, for their kids—Maddox, Zahara, Shiloh, Pax, Vivienne, and Knox. And let Jesus’ voice of compassion inspire your prayers for the many issues facing the world.
One day the Pharisees were badgering [Jesus]: “Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?”
He answered, “Haven’t you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.”
They shot back in rebuttal, “If that’s so, why did Moses give instructions for divorce papers and divorce procedures?”
Jesus said, “Moses provided for divorce as a concession to your hard heartedness, but it is not part of God’s original plan. I’m holding you to the original plan, and holding you liable for adultery if you divorce your faithful wife and then marry someone else. I make an exception in cases where the spouse has committed adultery.”
Jesus’ disciples objected, “If those are the terms of marriage, we’re stuck. Why get married?”
But Jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.”