Jesus And Divorce
Harvey and Jenae have now been faithfully devoted to their marriage promises for twelve years, and I can already see how this home security is giving their four sons a strong foundation as each of their personalities mature. The last thing any of our kids or grandkids need is the instability that invades when there’s a divorce.
The American Psychological Association agrees when it says that “Healthy marriages are good for couples’ mental and physical health. They are also good for children. Growing up in a happy home protects children from mental, physical, educational and social problems.” The down side is that about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the US divorce, and the really bad news is that, according to a recent Barna report, the percentage of divorces among “born again” Christians is at 27%.
In the first century, like today, social and religious leaders argued over the pros and cons of divorce. In fact, if you wanted to ignite an argument in Jesus’ day, you simply asked, ‘Is it lawful or is it unlawful for a man to divorce his wife,’ and the fight was on. That’s why some Pharisees tried to use the Divorce Debate to try and divide the crowds who were flocking to Jesus by asking him that loaded question.
“Now from there Jesus went up and came into the region of Judea on the far side of the Jordan. Again crowds came together to him, and, as was his custom, he taught them. At this time some Pharisees approached to test him. They were asking, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ Jesus answered, ‘What did Moses command?’ They said, ‘Moses permitted it if a document of divorce was written then she could be divorced.’
But Jesus said to them, ‘This commandment was written because of the hardness of your hearts. From the beginning of creation God made them male and female, and for this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and be glued to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man divide.’” Mark 10:1-12
People who don’t believe they were created by God or that God created humans in his image as male and female aren’t going to care much about Jesus taking us back to Genesis, or God’s statements about a man leaving his father and mother’s home to set up a new home with his wife. Sexual intercourse for them will continue to be viewed as a mutually pleasurable experience to be enjoyed by consenting adults without any long term “oneness” commitments or responsibilities, but those of us who claim to follow Jesus must take his words seriously.
God’s heart is for a husband and wife to recognize that they have formed a new “oneness”—a oneness that only God has the right to divide. Jesus couldn’t be stronger about why Moses allowed divorce. Hard hearts was the cause, and Jesus is calling us to have tender hearts toward him and toward one another, especially in the faithful union of our marriage commitments.
In the flow of Mark we are still in the context of the horror of causing a little one to stumble. Before any of us as Jesus’ followers think about getting a divorce, we need to think long and hard about these little ones who will get hurt. Jesus is focused not on our personal happiness but upon the need for love and security for all the little children, like Silas.
LORD, continue to bless the marriages of each of our children so that none of our grandkids will have to wrestle with the difficulties of broken homes. Help me never to think, like the Pharisees, that the divorce question is only a debate about morality. Help me realize Jesus still takes a strong stand against divorce because he cherishes all the little ones.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!