Today I am in Wichita, Kansas. We had a great weekend here with various gatherings of women, men, and church family. God’s presence was here and God’s family is alive and well in Kansas. Thank you to all who came to be together.
I have been addressing the topics of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. What did Jesus say in regard to divorce? There was a time in the New Testament when two religious groups came to Jesus. One group believed you could divorce your wife if she displeased you for any reason. The other group believed you could only divorce your wife if she committed adultery. So, they asked Jesus a trick question.
Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” 8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted 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; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
Obviously, these religious people walked away and the group that said adultery was the only reason for divorce thought He verified that they were right. But if we listen to all the words that Jesus said, He said things like this: You have heard it said in the law you shall not commit murder, but I say if you hate your brother in your heart you have already committed murder. You say the law says you shall not commit adultery but if you have ever thought it in your heart you have already committed adultery.
By the words of Jesus, probably every marriage is justified to divorce. Probably every man and every woman have a legal right to divorce one another. But the question is, should they? Jesus said it is just as bad to think it in your heart as it is to actually do it. It was for the hardening of heart that divorce was permitted because divorce is an issue of the heart and it is the testimony of death. Death can only produce more death. A hard heart is the testimony of rigor mortise, a condition of the flesh when dead. Christ in us is the hope of keeping our hearts tender and alive in every season of life. The presence of Christ in us is the power of God’s grace to continually change our hearts and minds to be a testimony of love that overcomes all things.
I know that there are many believers and even pastors and leaders who have probably asked the question; Did I marry the right woman? Or for a woman, Did I marry the right man? That is committing adultery. Considering who you should have married when you are married is a trespass in the thoughts of your heart. Entertaining pictures of pornography is a breach in a covenant relationship. Jesus was really saying that every human being has the right to get divorced; but should they? I think that every human being should find the grace for a broken place in relationship to be healed. In a marriage you have to be born again every day. You have to return to your first love. Not your first experience. You can never return to a first experience. It is a second, a third, or even a number of great measure that only diminishes the experience. Only returning to your first love can give you the ability to have new first experiences in your relationship together as one flesh. Your first love looks like this. Hi, I pick you. Here am. I give you my life. That is how our relationship with God was born. Jesus said to us, Hi, I pick you. I didn’t come to condemn the world or you. I came that you might be healed. I reconciled you before you even believed in me. I have come that you might live. We respond, Oh Jesus, I pick you! You make me come alive!
These actions created a revelation of love. He gives life to us and we receive that life that He gives and then we begin to have faith towards Him. We respond to Him. He responded to us. He gave us life and we took that life and gave it to others. We became an expression of us. We realized that who we are is for His glory. He demonstrates that who He is, is for our glory so the Father will be glorified in all things. We became a community – a husband and a wife as Christ the head and Christ the body are one flesh in the purposes of God the Father in all things. This is the foundation of family by which the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God. Babies were born and family began to happen. We met friends and we became part of a neighborhood. We found enemies, but we were even able to bring life in the midst of our enemies. We found that life is beyond us. There is a generation beyond us and a generation beyond them. The fruit of two becoming a husband and a wife became a dad and mom to become a grandpa and grandma, but it all started with a first love. Here I am, I pick you. The only way we can prevent divorce is to say, here I am. I give life to you because divorce is death. These principles are not only true for our natural relationships, they are also true in the spiritual dynamics of our lives as the body of Christ lives for the lives of others through life-giving relationships. Even single people can participate in the dynamics of this truth.
In marriage we make a commitment until death do we part. Which means we have to give life every day or we are going to be dead long before we die. When I married my wife, I no longer had a day that was my day. She no longer had a day that was her day. It became our day. And then we had children and it was no longer our day without children and now we have grandchildren and marriage is a miracle where every day is a new day where we can return to our first love, and we can have many first experiences.
Ted J. Hanson
Please help me reach the nations.
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Thank You So Much – Ted J. Hanson