Posted in Christian LivingFeb 9, 2009
A conversation on divorce and remarriage (Matthew 19:1-12)
by John Buchanan, Chapel Hill, Hamilton
Divorce is an important and difficult topic. It is where something is “wrong” – something that contradicts God’s good design. It deals with the most precious of human relationships and in particular its failings. I do not have all the answers. Be wary of anyone who does.
We all intersect with divorce. You may have thought about getting divorced yourself, you may have been divorced, and you will almost certainly have been close to friends or family who have divorced. Whatever, you will have experienced first or secondhand the pain of an intimate relationship breaking down.
There’s a story in the Gospels of a woman who is caught in adultery and brought to Jesus1. When her accusers have left, Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” His response is pastoral and theological – there is his gracious, forgiving response to the woman and his sober treatment of sexual sin. Sin is not treated lightly, but the woman is offered the chance to start again3.
God’s design is clear. Marriage is to be a permanent relationship. The Bible teaches that marriage should be for life. But remember, marriage is a temporal relationship that does not continue into eternity, for there is no marriage in heaven2. It’s for this life, not the next one.
That’s the design – the ideal for marriage. What about the reality? It’s at this point that there can be dissonance between the ideal and the reality. It’s got a lot to do with acknowledging the difference between two small words. Those words are: “can” and “should”.