It’s For Keeps

Divorce. Man, its such a tough issue. I hit Matthew 19 this morning, and Jesus is handed the issue of divorce. The scene is He has been healing a large amount of people, and the Pharisee’s come to see what Jesus will say about divorce. They ask, “Is it legal for a man to divorce a woman for whatever reason he wants?” This was a common issue then, just like it is today.

Jesus tells them “No. God created marriage for a reason, and He supernaturally joins a man and woman together physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Once He does that, people shouldn’t try to tear that apart.”

Then they want to know why Moses said to give a woman a certificate of divorce in the Bible? Isn’t that Moses condoning divorce?

Jesus tells them, “No. People were divorcing for all kinds of reasons, and the men would just pitch the women out. They couldn’t remarry, and they would starve. Moses said if you were going to do it, you had to give her an official document saying you had ended your marriage and she was now single. He did it because you were idiots and hardhearted, not because it is in God’s plan. Divorcing someone and remarrying someone else is adultery. If a spouse is guilty of sexual immorality, then it’s not good, but you aren’t guilty of adultery, because they have already broken the marriage covenant and left.”

I love the disciples response. This is what I saw for the first time today. They look at Jesus, and think about it, and tell Him, “If that’s the way God sees it, then it’s better not to get married. If you have to stay with someone who is difficult, or hurtful, or a pain, and can’t leave them, then it’s better to be single and celibate.” That just hits me as funny. It’s like they are incredulous at His idea of marriage, and suddenly want no part of it.

Marriage is tough. Tougher than any unmarried person can understand. That’s why we have to choose WHO we marry SO carefully. We don’t. We rush into based on feelings and fun. Those aren’t enough. And once we’re in, we drastically underestimate the power of our words and actions. It all counts. But we need to work it out. There are always exceptions, but the majority of us need to work it out.

It’s a tough teaching. That’s for sure.