With the near complete collapse of the institution of marriage as defined in the Bible, animals stay together longer, I am so tempted to drop the issue and “let God sort it out at the judgment”. Just stay in your marriages. Stay in your second, third, fourth, fifth….stay in all of your marriages. If you are married to someone of the same sex, just “stay in the condition in which you were called”. I think that’s the way some are using Paul’s words. And if you are married to two at the same time, by all means stay in that condition. As a matter of fact, my reasoning tells me that polygamy is more moral than dumping one and getting another.
I’m just really sad and upset that the devil is winning. Men said, “I do” and they didn’t. They start screwing around on the internet and that leads to worse. I’m sad to be encountering more people than not who are shacking up or already in their third marriage and have numerous children from different women. Things are really bad.
“But Dan, why are you so shaken up over this? Nobody’s perfect. People make mistakes and they can be forgiven for this just like any other trespass.”
“I hate divorce, says the Lord”, Mal 2:16. That’s in the same book he calls the leaving the wife of one’s youth “treachery”. And in case you are ready, on this topic to exclude the Old Testament, remember that Jesus was just as clear on the subject. In Matthew 19 when the Pharisees – let’s see how many Pharisee defenders we have lurking around today – asked if a man could divorce for any reason, Jesus basically answered, “No”. The teaching by Jesus on this subject of divorcing and remarrying was so strict that the disciples said, “It’s better not to marry.” Let that sink in a minute because the Pharisees are especially armed to kill this teaching.
God hates divorce, so if I am shocked and appalled at the divorce and sexual immorality in this world I’m in pretty good company. God made marriage to be a lifetime commitment. “What God has joined together let no man put asunder.”
“But Dan, Jesus was just explaining Old Testament and isn’t binding today. That’s interesting. Do you treat other teachings of Jesus so cavalierly? But Dan, God is a God of love and he brings forgiveness for all sins. So while God doesn’t like divorce, people can marry again.”
Excuse me, but isn’t that the very thing the Pharisees were looking for?
I am distressed about the marriage situation in our world. And while the situation has created some very difficult situations for the church to address, there’s no option to punt and leave the judgment to God. We too have a responsibility from God to keep the church pure. We cannot turn a blind eye to men who are living in adulterous marriages. These must be addressed and men and women must be called on to repent and put away the sinful relationship.
My thoughts turn to the children. Everyone always brings up the children. “What about the children of second or third marriages. Do you want them hurt?” Indeed I am thinking about those children and the “cut and run” attitude that’s been shown them. I’m also thinking about the children of previous marriages that have been abandoned to greater poverty and mental depression. Oh yes, the stats are in and divorce has a lifelong impact on children. And why shouldn’t it! God intended for children to be raised by a father and a mother. That’s the ideal. We are so far from the ideal that’s is not funny. It’s a travesty. It’s a scandal.
So while there’s a part of me that just wants to ignore the issue of divorce and remarriage, there’s the faithful Christian that says there’s too much to be lost if the truth isn’t preached. Marriages can be saved if we teach what Jesus says.
Here’s something I can’t get around. According to John the Baptist, according to Jesus, and according to Paul, there are some marriages that are not acceptable to God. That means we faithful leaders have to be calling attention to the good and the bad marriages.
“Are you telling me that I have to leave my husband! You don’t know how much I agonized over my divorce. I wouldn’t have chose that. I think God wants me to be happy and shame on you for suggesting that I have to leave my husband.”
To such a person I can only say, I’m sorry for you, and there are many Pharisees who will give you comfort to stay just as you are.
Said with fear and trepidation. Sincerely, Dan