And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:25-29 (NKJV)
Jesus came as God in the flesh to flat out question the religious strongholds of His day, to turn everything 180° from where it was. The idea that God himself would choose to take on His own system of belief through His son may be hard for us to imagine, but He did. The religious leaders had created an idol of the scriptures and in keeping the law and forgetting completely the intent of God’s love. They became an exclusive club of “believers” that looked down at those who didn’t keep the law as they did.
Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Luke 10:31-34 (NKJV)
Jesus himself was a rebel and was very much viewed that way, so much so, that the religious leaders were scared and took notice of His message enough to want Him dead.
On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10 35-37 (NKJV)
Today we standers are subversive in our approach to the view of marriage in society. We might be looked upon as strange, maybe even a little nuts, as we look at marriage through the lens of scripture rather than the way the world sees marriage. At the same time creating a certain notability especially among our peer group of believers. Most men, even men in the church today, when placed in the position we are in (the absence of our one flesh covenant wife) tend to instantly look elsewhere to fill the void, unaware of the one love that can fill that void.
“But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” Mathew 5:31 (NKJV)
I would caution us all as the standers we are not to look down our noses at the ones who have left us, divorced us and maybe remarried. We know what scripture says about these marriages. However those who choose divorce as a method of fixing their marital challenges are no greater a sinner than I am or you are. We, like the Pharisees, have the choice to make, to love our wives and pray for their release from the chains that bind them. Not to become an exclusive club of standers that has no forgiveness in our hearts for the lost as the lawyers and Pharisees looked upon others.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34 (NKJV)
The position we have taken to stand against separation and divorce is 180° out of alignment with social and now seemingly, church norms. In this we can tend to feel out of place and isolated as I’m sure Jesus felt in His flesh. Jesus was willing to be bold with straight talk on the position the Father gave Him in His mystery. All He asks of us to be like Him in the way that He loved. It is doubtful however that we will be hunted down to be put to death.
Make no mistake, there is one who is interested in making sure that our marriages remain dead and that you do not align yourself with God’s plan for marriage, the one who was defeated at the cross with Jesus’ own blood. The same one who liked how God’s plan was working with the Pharisees and hated that God was willing to challenge His own system to get it back right with Him.
We must be willing to walk on the same side of the road as those who are beaten and robbed and recognize that we are all broken and abandoned in some way and at the same time be willing to speak out as Jesus did.
Be bold in your stand brothers, feeling your pain.
Jim in North Carolina
Unless otherwise noted, scripture quoted are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.