Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12
Peace be with you!
This passage cuts a bit close to home. I was eleven when my parents separated and eventually got divorced. I am not quick to share about this time in my life and few people know about it, unless they knew me then. Flash forward two decades and after six years of being in a relationship with a man I called my husband I find myself having to end my marriage after much careful prayer and discernment.
Divorce. A few centuries ago hardly anyone knew anyone who was divorced. It just was not something done. Mark 10:2-16 was probably read with a nod. Individuals who were divorced got looked down upon. Today is another story. I envy my few friends with parents who are still together and I admire the couples who are able to weather the storms throughout the years together. I remember my mom squirming in the pew when my pastor preached on this text a few years after my parent’s divorce. I did not completely understand why my mom eventually walked out during the sermon. Now I do.
Jesus has some harsh words regarding the topic of divorce. Any man or woman commits adultery when he/she divorces his/her spouse for another (Mark 10:11-12). It is not an easy statement to swallow. Yet I invite you to think about what Jesus is saying. To me, Jesus is saying, “Do not divorce your spouse just because you are having a rough time. Marriage is a relationship between two people who are committed to each other.” I think of how the Gazettes have reports on the shortest marriages. Most of us have heard the jokes regarding Britney and Jason’s fifty-five hour marriage. Marriage is not taken very seriously in our culture today. Jesus’ stern tone reminds us that marriage is a serious relationship between two people and is not meant to be entered into unless the two individuals are committed in making the marriage last the long haul.
I also believe Jesus does not want individuals with an abusive spouse or a cheating spouse to be in an unhealthy marriage – a relationship God intends to be holy. God wants his children to experience the unconditional love that he has for all of us. Marriage is a holy relationship that two individuals enter into by committing themselves to the other person. When one spouse repeatedly breaks the relationship with harmful words and actions, the marriage becomes harmful to other spouse. I do not think God intends an individual to stay in a marriage where it is harmful to them.
Even with Jesus’ harsh words regarding divorce, I also hear his words of grace. The Kingdom of God belongs to the little children (Mark 10:14-15) who are innocent and love with their whole hearts. Although I am divorced, I love as a little child; I am forgiven; I am still invited to enter the Kingdom of God.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for making marriages holy with your love. Help us to enter into marriage with another individual who will love us unconditionally and help us to love our spouses with unconditional love as well. Give individuals in marriages that are broken the courage to do what is best for both parties. Give your love to the couples struggling to make it through the storms. Thank you for inviting us to enter the Kingdom of God, even in the midst of our brokenness. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. Where is God in the midst of a troubled marriage?
2. How do you know if a marriage is irreparably broken? How do you know when you should keep trying? How does this passage inform your view?