Summary: - The painful reality of divorce is something we really don’t want to be reminded of. It’s been called the “hemorrhoids or cancer” of our relational life… but perhaps that is why we do need to hear God’s heart openly… because too many have been left with
Hearts have a way of changing over time… especially marital affections.
Last week we looked at how Jesus restored sanctity to our pursuit of marriage and family… this week I want to address more specifically the questions that may surround divorce and remarriage for those seeking to follow God.
Not an easy subject to address for several reasons:
- The painful reality of divorce is something we really don’t want to be reminded of. It’s been called the “hemorrhoids or cancer” of our relational life… but perhaps that is why we do need to hear God’s heart openly… because too many have been left with silence, shame, and confusion.
- My own calling to ministry grew out of a love for fellow youth and the problems so many faced in their families. This would later lead to completing a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy… and becoming licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist. What has shaped my heart most is the calling to pastor a community of lives and marriages… which includes a calling to share in the pain of divorce.
- If you’re here … as one who has experienced the painful process of a divorce… it’s not my intention to pass judgment on your past. While I am straightforward in speaking into the marriages I know, I would never presume to speak fairly about a marriage that ended without being a part of all that was involved.
What I want to do is help us get God’s heart and mind clear. Let’s begin with the very challenging words of Jesus…
It has been said, “Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.” But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5:31-32
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" 4 "Haven’t you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator ’made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." 7 "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?" 8 Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." Matthew 19:3-9
• Christ’s teaching here has often been poorly misunderstood and painfully misapplied.
• My desire is first to consider UNDERSTANDING the intent of God’s Word, then share briefly several points for APPLYING the intent of God’s Word.
I. Understanding The Intent of God’s Word
The issue is not whether these statements are to be taken seriously, but precisely what Jesus intended to imply. He meant to oppose divorce but did he mean to forbid remarriage to the faithful victims of divorce or even repentant participants of divorce?