Lord of Peace

In Matthew 19 Jesus is speaking to all believers about the permanence of marriage. While teaching the Pharisees, Jesus brings up Deuteronomy 24:1-4, and since you have read your bibles, I don’t need to share here, do I? In Divinity circles (those working towards becoming fully divine) this passage is called this the Liz Taylor Clause. A lovely actress who got lots of press late in life over her penchant to marry and divorce. She had 8 marriages in total to 7 different husbands. So Jesus, what do you say about to Ole Mo giving a certificate of divorce? 

Matthew 19:8~He said to them, “Because of your hardness (σκληρο sklēro) of heart (καρδία kardia) Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning, it was not so. (ESV) They were suffering from spiritual sclerosis, a hardening of their hearts. Translated as hardness of heart it is (σκληροκαρδία sklērokardia) in the Greek, which gives us both cardiac and sclerosis, which means a hardening of the tissue. In other words, Jesus is saying the provision for a divorce was a concession; and does not reflect the will of God. 

Divorce is a testimony to man’s hardness of heart, which is a result of sinfulness. The hardness of heart refers to prolonged, unconfessed sin that makes the divine plan for marriage impossible. Irreconcilable differences or no-fault divorces come because of hardness. When an adulterous husband or wife has a hardness of heart, they are insensitive to the sin of adultery. Therefore, God makes a concession and reluctantly permits divorce. The Bible shares only three biblical reasons for divorce: Adultery, Abandonment, and Abuse. To delve deeper go look at Matthew 5:31-48. 

Seeking to clarify the intent of the command about divorce, Christ Jesus continues in Matthew 19:9~And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality (πορνεία porneia), and marries another, commits adultery. (ESV) The word (πορνεία porneia) translated sexual immorality or fornicate means any form of forbidden sex. In its broadest sense, adultery refers to sex with anyone except your spouse. This includes homosexuality, bestiality, and incest. The Greek word (πορνεία porneia) refers to a persistent, unrepentant lifestyle of sexual immorality, not just a one-time act. A one-time moral failure is not a basis for divorce. Christ Jesus is not encouraging divorce; He is allowing it in the case of an unrepentant spouse. 

Regardless of the circumstances, God never encourages divorce because His way is always reconciliation. Remember Paul’s words to the people of Rome in Romans 12:18~If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (ESV) JB Philips takes his rendering a little more strict saying, As far as your responsibility goes, live at peace with everyone. When that is not possible, divorce may be the only option, but it must be biblically based. 

Divorce is God’s concession for those who are innocent. For the Bible teaches God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16~For I hate divorce, says the Lord, the God of Israel, and him who covers his garment with wrong, says the Lord of hosts. So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously. (NASB) The NIV says divorce does violence to the one we are to protect. Divorce hurts, it creates emotional scars that never go away, especially for the children. I can’t tell you how many adults have told me that decades later, they still have pain over their parent’s divorce.

Is there a place in your life where you have a longterm pain? If so, I want you to honestly go before the Lord and ask Him for help. I want to encourage you to not hold anything back. What we want is for the Lord to heal the hurt and alleviate the pain. Yes, there will always be a scare, but we can have the victory the Lord promises us in scripture. Understand, like with all healing, it may take time and require more than one trip to the Lord in prayer to process your pain. But know that God will WAR for you, because God is: Willing, Able, Reliable=W.A.R.

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