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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Marriage and God

Pastor Chris Ney - The title is that of a well-known book that dives into just what it says it does, it takes a good look at marriage and where it began and what it is for. This subject of marriage is no stranger to headlines trying to redefine it to suit our own purposes but then also minimize it to just a special event with contracts that we can break based on a feeling. Google's search engine actually pulls up all kinds of help and cheap ways when you type in divorce, making it really easy to just forget and move on. Before we move on I want you to know I am not bashing people who have had divorces or maybe are even in the process now, and I know this is a sensitive topic that needs to be read as such and in so reading this, I am not judging or condemning in any way, just bringing out biblical principles that are counter-culture to the world around us, but maybe they shouldn’t be.

It doesn’t even matter how I feel personally about it, God states in Malachi that He hates divorce and yet because of the heart of man, He provided a way for men to break their promise. He granted them the ability to divorce only under the pretense of adultery. That then got translated into any inappropriate act, and in Jesus' day the husband could basically divorce his wife for burning a dinner. Now I know that sounds silly, and Jesus thought so too, which is why He lifted the bar higher.  He said to them that it was never meant to happen in the first place but because of your hearts it is so. That was then right, I mean in our day we wouldn’t possibly treat marriage with such looseness and hold it to a high standard across the culture and even in the church. Well, the reality is that there is just as many divorces in the church as outside it, and there are very few willing to gut it out and stick to the vows that they made. We tend to look at the grass and say "Well it is so much greener over there". Too often it isn’t, but sometimes it looks like it. On the flip side of it all, I am not now or ever advocating that someone who is in a truly abusive relationship be stuck there either. I do not believe that was the intent of marriage either.

In fact, what was the intent of marriage?

Marriage was created by God, and for God’s glory to show give us a picture of His love for us. No matter what your beliefs are if you believe in marriage, you cannot separate that from God. He designed it as a picture of love, mostly His love for us and for us to follow that. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church, so much so He gave His life for the church and has never or would ever turn His back on the church or get rid of the church which is His bride, no matter how far the church has gone after other idols, He loves and forgives and embraces. That is also how He looks at all of us, we can run, hide, do whatever to avoid it but the reality is that He loves you and died for you. He is calling you now to live a life that is seeking after Him, if you do not have a relationship with Him maybe this is the week where He is calling you to know Him, to ask Jesus for forgiveness and accept Him as Lord and Savior and to know Him. If you are living through a divorce there is hope, there is redemption found in Jesus. You don’t have to live in guilt or shame, He will take it all. Maybe your reading this and your thinking about divorce, stop, pray, remember God’s words about how He hates divorce: Malachi 2:16 "and what God put together let no man separate".

Take a stand and go against the culture, love your spouse, respect your spouse, cherish your spouse, and in the tough days gut it out and get through it, there is so much beauty in a marriage that last, and so much hurt otherwise. Finally, think about how much God has forgiven in us, how can we act any different and not forgive others. In all of this you are loved, and my prayer is that this will be a counter-culture message that may just transform lives.

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