Divorce and Marriage
Matthew 5:32In Jesus' day, the right of a Jewish man to divorce his wife was assumed. Some rabbis argued, like Jesus, that divorce was permitted only in the case of a wife's unfaithfulness. Others claimed that a man could divorce his wife for any reason, even if she burned the toast or if he saw a more attractive woman. In the end, this latter view prevailed.
It's surely the norm in our day, when divorce seems almost as common as marriage. The world, and sometimes even the church, has lost its commitment to the sanctity and permanence of marriage. Though there may be situations in which divorce is allowed, Jesus urges us to take marriage as seriously as God takes marriage.
Taking marriage seriously means, at a minimum, that we join God in hating divorce, even when it may be allowed (Mal. 2:16). But so much more is required than just this. We who are married are called to devote ourselves to our spouses, to invest the time and energy required to build solid, healthy, and joyful marriages. This isn't easy, especially in today's world. But our commitment to marriage both honors God and enriches our own lives.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: If you're married, take time to reflect on the state of your marriage. Is it strong and healthy? Are you and your spouse growing together . . . or apart? Have you been tempted to leave your marriage rather than to work on it? If you're not married, consider how you might encourage and support the married people in your life.PRAYER: Gracious God, you instituted marriage for our good and for your glory. Marriage is a gift from you, one that helps us to grow in grace and to fulfill the calling to be fruitful on this earth.
Yet we confess that we haven't cherished your good gift. We have trampled upon it by making divorce commonplace, an easy option for impatient people. We who are married often take our spouses and our marriages for granted, investing our lives in our careers, or our children, or other good works rather than in building healthy, lasting marriages. Forgive us, Lord, for our inattention to that which is so important to you.
Help those who are tempted by divorce to find the strength to stay in their marriages. Help those in difficult marriages to find healing. Help couples in healthy marriages to find ways to grow together in love. May we strive together as Christians to support marriages, and to provide a place where all broken people, as well as broken marriages, can find healing and wholeness. Amen.