Divorce is a terrible thing. There is something violent about the separation that takes place when a man and a women become so hard hearted toward each other that they decide to part company. It’s sheer butchery to un-join that which God has joined and it’s not the clean cut of a knife. There’s a bludgeoning that must take place. They pound each other with words until the bonds come loose and they can pull free. It’s messy and ugly, and purposeful. You have to work at getting a marriage to that point. Most of the time it’s a bloody mess and when its not its generally because both parties have become so numb that they just want the thing over and done.
Every year I am reminded of the horror of this as I see parents who choose the front of the school to give the kids back to the other parent. Children who must endure the stares of their friends coming in: it must feel as if the whole world is in the gallery, spectators to their misery. That ticks me off.
So I’m going to back up in our Mark study and have another look at the same event as it happens in Matthew 19:3-12 (ESV):
3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
As usual the disciples can’t just leave well enough alone. Whenever they encounter a truth from Jesus that conflicts with their own ‘pet beliefs’ or their own tradition they balk. I can’t say we’re much different. So in v.10 they smart off and say to Jesus, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” In other words, if we can’t get rid of her when she doesn’t please us anymore they what’s the point? This is the sort of thing I was talking about on Monday. It’s all about me. The problem today with this mentality is that women don’t have to take that kind of stuff anymore from men. They are legally able and well encouraged by society to use the law to take him to task. They can divorce a man and leave him destitute with no contact with his children other than a child support check every month.
Jesus, being God in the flesh, knows this about men. He knew what was in them so he thumps them with this in v.11 and 12. “But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”
I’d say that it’s true about the gospel that not everyone can receive it. Not every one is equipped for marriage either, as v.12 points out in rather plain language. Not only that, but v.11 says something that I hadn’t really noticed before, not only is this idea of a marriage commitment something that not everyone can received, but ‘only those to whom it is given’ can receive it. If you’re in a marriage and you’re committed to one another praise God because he has ‘joined’ you together. You have been given a great gift. Don’t blow it.
Dan Phillips nails it with God’s Wisdom In Marriage
Plus, click on the relationships tag in the sidebar tag cloud.