Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Monday, November 16, 2009

Divorce; The Scourge of Marriage

Divorce is a reality of life. What was spoken of in hushed terms a number of years ago has become an accepted part of our culture. As a Christian community we have fared no better than the society in which we live. We have lost the voice of reason and resolution because of that very fact. People have had a tendency to put Christians into context as having the solutions to all social ills and usually as a consequence of their sense of judgement when faced with the Christian belief that God condemns certain practices and behaviours that occur outside the laws as outlined by the Ten Commandments, The Bible, and the teaching of Jesus. Jesus said "He who is without sin can cast the first stone." and to borrow another poignant phrase, "You don't throw rocks if you live in a glass house." As a people who are to be discerning about our relationships and be a light in the management of those relationships it has come that we are no longer the epitomy of health. Christians are human and in that we suffer temptations and succumb to lusts. I am not saying that that is the way it must happen, but, it appears that for a large portion of the Christian community it has. Our spirituality no longer translates into the redeemed and peculiar life we are called to live. We no longer have the strength to 'Just Say No'.

When Christians face the tragic dimensions of everyday life there is a propensity to equate the solution with spirituality. The assumption is that spiritualty will resolve the conflicts and provide restoration and peace. There is an idealism involved here which does not translate into actual legs being put to a reasonable expectation of success. The church is full of those who are ill-equipped to deal with the realities of life, either through an idealist mentality or the lack of education in psychological and sociological fields. The second group exists everywhere in every facet of life, it is the first group which creates the greatest source of vexation to our culture and provides the fuel for much of the alienation and disdain faced by the Church today. Some aspects of this idealist mentality refuse to acknowledge that sometimes "peace and goodwill" deteriorate in the face of personal desires and possibly necessities. It is at this point that the definition of what constitutes 'irreconciable differences' comes into play. It is at this point that social mores and expediency in personal lives becomes the impetus for the dissololution of relationships. Rational life trumps personal social context. "If the social context leaves no room for reasonable 'personhood', where compromise, negotiation and solutions are met, then inevitably, realtionships are dissolved through divorce."

* As with any discussion there are instances where personal life may be at jeopardy, where the marital situation involves abuse or threat and these extraordinary circumstances are outside the realm of this blog entry. There will always be instances where a gracious reality must exist, where the hard and fast rules do not apply.

"Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for any reason?" Jesus replied, Haven't you read that God made them male and female in the beginning and He said, ' For this reason a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two become one flesh they are united into one.' Since they are no longer two but one (for God has joined them together) let no one seperate them." The intention in Genesis takes us beyond culture and places us in the context of the purpose of man and woman. They are to be joined without option, which stands in contardiction to today's culture which sees marriage as 'throwaway' with a fatalistic attitude allowing for an emotional loophole 'so long as we both shall love.'

The addendum to this conversation is that there has to exist an understanding and recognition of the belief that the institution of marriage is ordained by God and any and all aspects of marriage are viewed in that light, meaning the convenant is with God as well as presiding with each spouse.

Consequently "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery."

In God's eyes the illlegitimacy of divorce proliferates adultery. People whether 'Churched' or otherwise are not playing the game of life outside the rules. The rules apply regardless of the personal belief systems used to negotiate through life's quandaries. Julia Gianni makes this profound statement in the movie Vannila Sky, "Don't you know that when you sleep with someone, your body makes a promise whether you do or not." There is a 'hardness of heart' in our culture which draws attention not only to the concessions of indivual weakness, narcisssim and inevitable conflict but also reflects the incomplete develpment of God's society and intentions in this world. The world has moved the basis for marriage from one of covenant to one of consent and convenience.

The real issue here is sexual immoralty. 1 Cor. 6:18 "Flee sexual immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the man who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body."  As in all cultures and societies the prevalence of the promiscuous, the indiscriminant, the pervasiveness of pornography have hieghtened our sensitivity to our sexual nature and in that we see the destruction of marriage. We have already made promises with our bodies, if not through sex, at the minimum, through our thoughts and fantasies. We can not turn back that clock. However, God in His grace offers the opportunity for forgiveness, freedom from guilt and restoration. Restoration involves the removal of the conflicting promises made in our indiscreet moments allowing for the permanence of covenant relationships to be affirmed as truth. Being joined to God first, creates the basis for understanding what a covenant relationship is all about. It is establishing our personhood first in God and then as a developed adult seeking a marital relationship.

The whole concept of being 'joined' carries a sense of permanence and indissolubility; a complete unity of parts making a whole, completeness. Unity is expressed in forgiving, encouraging and being patient with each other providing the steps to negotiation, compromise and not finding your 'personhood' within the context of covenant marital relationship. This is the real spirituality that which puts legs to forgiveness and love for each other, irregardless. As I see it there really isn't a lot to be gained by refusing to sacrifice.

1 comment:

Wayne said...

I've got some entries to catch up on, but I'm still reading... Thanks for continuing to provide insightful perspectives into topics worth thinking about. God bless.