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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Divorce: What does Jesus say? Part 2...

"They said to Him, 'Why then did Moses command to 'Give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?'  He said to them, 'Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.  And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.'--Matthew 19:7-9  Here we see why Moses and in turn God allowed divorces for just about any reason.  It was not because God wanted it that way.  It was because of their hardness of hearts.

Divorce.  Earlier today, we did a mock counseling session in my marriage and family class.  We the students did this with each other.  The sessions involved various issues that married couples face up to and including marital unfaithfulness.  Those of us involved in the sessions played the part.  It was kind of fun actually but it did give us a taste of what we preachers will face when we get into our work.  Of course divorce came up during the session on unfaithfulness.

Divorce.  As I mentioned before, divorce in Jesus' day was not much different than it is today.  Originally, people could legitimately divorce for just about any reason but this all changes when Jesus utters five little words: "And I say to you..." in Matthew 19:9.  What Jesus says next is what would be at the center of divorce controversy within the Lord's church.  Jesus will state that the ONLY reason one could legitimately divorce is because of immorality or porneia which encompasses all forms of sexual immorality.  Jesus takes this an additional step further.  He says if a divorce happens for any other reason besides porneia, in the eyes of God you are still married to the one from whom you thought you were divorcing.  So what this means is that if someone (never married) marries someone who is previously divorced for any other reason besides porneia, both parties are committing adultery.  This is a difficult pill to swallow.  The apostles recognized that this was a difficult teaching to accept based on Matthew 19:10-11.

Another thing that was discussed during our mock counseling sessions today was the fact that divorce can be such an ugly thing.  This is no secret especially when there are children involved.  Divorces impact not just the couple but also others that might be linked to the couple in some way such as the children.  One of the most notorious divorces in recent months has been that of the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers from his wife.  This divorce impacted the team in that the Dodgers were left bankrupt.   I bring this out to illustrate how divorces impact more than the just the ones getting a divorce.  This is why divorce is such an ugly thing and this is one among many reasons, God never intended for divorce when He created marriage.

Divorce.  In Matthew 19:5, Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24 where marriage was originally instituted.  This is where God joined man (Adam) and woman (Eve) to be one flesh through marriage.  In Matthew 19:6, Jesus affirms that since God joins man and woman (and man and woman ONLY, NOT man and man or woman and woman like many are propagating today) through marriage, He intended for the two to be PERMANENTLY bound.  Therefore, as Jesus says in the second part of Matthew 19:6, what God has joined together let no man separate.  Furthermore, in Malachi 2:16, God says very plainly (and bluntly) "I hate divorce."

Divorce.  So my encouragement to you in all this is simply this.  First of all study this issue further as there is much more to be said regarding the subject.  Additionally, if you are reading this and have been the victim of porneia, make an attempt to first work it out even if you do have every SCRIPTURAL right to get a divorce.  But if you are the one who was unfaithful or is being unfaithful, repent of that sin and work things out with your spouse and make an effort to rebuild that trust.  God has said He HATES divorce.  So even if you are within your scriptural rights to get a divorce, this does not necessarily mean you should.  Make an effort to work it out even if it is for the sake of the children that might be involved.  As for the rest of us who have not yet been married, remember that if and/or when you do, God intended marriage to be permanent.  This includes our "marriage" with Him which we have through Jesus Christ so if you are being unfaithful to Him in any way, may we also repent of those sins and if we have not done so, be baptized for the forgiveness of those sins.  Encourage others with these words.


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