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Jesus Teaches about Divorce

 Matthew 5:31-32

“It was also said, ‘Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,’ but I tell you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away commits adultery.

Moses was the one who made the law from Deuteronomy 24:1 about putting the divorce in writing. He had to have a set of laws for the people to go by, because he was the one they counted on for problems that arose among the thousands who were traveling together in that Wilderness. Here, Jesus provides a new set of rules about divorce. It appears that divorce was as common in Jesus' day as it is in our day. And men were the only ones allowed to put the divorce in writing in the Bible days!

Now, I always like to repeat what I have heard reputable preachers say - that people should never stay in a dangerous marriage - or any dangerous relationship for that matter. And I don't think God expects us to continue to live with battered nerves of being unable to please a person who changes their mind from day to day about what does and does not please them, of always being judged for not thinking of what the person thinks we should think of to do to please them (remember last week, I mentioned people who like to be idolized), of continuous verbal, mental, or physical abuse of any kind. One day they love you for what you're doing, and the next day, they're telling you what a terrible person you are because you made a decision they didn't like. Again, I'm not talking about just marriage here; I'm talking about any relationship that is dangerous or that hurts your relationship with God regardless of the years and years you have tried to get it right for that individual just to be told you're not good enough and God could never love you. That person is wrong. Nobody can make that decision for God. God loves you both. And that separation may be what saves that relationship with God for both of you.

However, there are people who make a career out of divorcing their spouses. Just because they don't like that the spouse doesn't wipe their shoes before entering the freshly vacuumed house or the way the spouse spends too much money or the two of you don't like the same TV shows or one is ready to move on to the next spouse. A few years of getting to know each other isn't enough to anchor a marriage. Everyone makes mistakes, or they don't think the way you do. Give each other time to get those kinks worked out. Again, threats, danger, continuous false accusations, and abusive treatments are another matter. But if it's just your spouse getting on your nerves, you can talk it out (calmly) and try harder to not get on each others nerves and concentrate more on the love that brought you together. If needed, speak to a marriage counselor to find out how to make your marriage respectful, strong, and loving. Sometimes, your spouse is set on getting the divorce regardless. Sometimes, no power on this earth is going to save the marriage. 

I'm not judging. God knows if you tried. Jesus doesn't write you off because of a divorce (eventually, we'll read about the divorced woman, many times over, that Jesus talked to at the well; He chose her to spread the news of His arrival in Samaria) or any other mistake you make - because we all still make plenty of mistakes. But He does ask us to try harder and to make better decisions in the future. Think before going into a marriage and make sure it's the right decision and the right time. Don't go into the marriage thinking that you will just have it dissolved if it doesn't work out. If the person is doing things that get on your nerves before you're married, chances are that's not going to change after you're married if you don't discuss it before the wedding. Don't be judgmental and snippy to cause an argument. Use kind, gentle words to have a calm discussion.

stay married
image courtesy of Micheile Henderson via Unsplash

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God be with you,

Patricia

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