One of the biggest social issues facing the west today is the topic of divorce. With divorce rates rapidly surpassing over 50%, one must wonder why this is so normal and not addressed as a serious issue? While there are multiple of reasons, the only reason is not sexual immorality. Sometimes, people become selfish and completely neglect the vowels they made. They only understand love to be only encompassed in the honeymoon phase of relationships and marriages. Then, when the test of love comes by, they fold under pressure like origami. “If people do not believe in permanent marriage, it is perhaps better that they should live together unmarried than that they should make vows they do not mean to keep.”
Who gets it the worst from divorce?
An important question must be answered: Who suffers the worst out of divorce? If there are kids in the marriage, then the answer will always be them. Dr. Ben Arbour and his Wife have recently died and now their four kids are orphans. They were both 39 and their children are from ages 10-16. They are going to have serious mental struggles in life, which is just a psychological fact. The actions of divorce other than sexual immorality involves self-centeredness that will always be put above the children.
While orphans know they were loved by their parents, those of divorced parents feel less than loved because their needs are secondary to the selfish acts of the parents. What this does psychologically to children is unbearable at times, therefore the reason why Christ emphasizes obligation over the hardness of hearts in Matthew 19:8. This verse reflects a question of current debate. Opinions were divided. Jews regarded marriage as a sacred obligation whose fulfillment often carried very noble or meritorious overtones.”
Notice how in Matthew 19:13-15, Children are addressed right after divorce. “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these (Matthew 19:14).” Jesus is emphasizing the intrinsic value of children by saying the kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Divorce can easily be a hindrance to the value of this antithesis and exposes why it is so evil for reasons other than sexual immorality.
Also, in the preceding chapter: “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea (Matthew 18:6).” When in the context of a Christian Marriage, that marriage is to be based around the Love of God as the lens your love for spouse and children. If you cause your own children to stumble in their love for God, then you are acting on the hardness of your heart. Jesus says you must be humbled like a child to enter the kingdom of Heaven, marriage must be practice out of humility in order to work. He hates is violence. He hates it, because it makes it harder to raise children in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Malachi 2:16).”
The Original Purpose of Marriage:
Jesus points to the original creation of monogamous marriage, between one male and female in Matthew 19:4-6. The bigger picture is being made, that goes beyond mere obligation and one’s own needs. Jesus is looking at marriage from above down, while the Pharisees are looking from down to above. “In any case, Jesus goes beyond the Pharisees in emphasizing the permanence of marriage. God’s purpose is a stable family life, and divorce is no part of that purpose.”
Marriage is supposed to be the greatest of loves that human beings can experience from one another. Song of Solomon refers lovers as each other’s best friends’ multiple times. A covenant made between two and God, where all forms of Love are brought together. In begins with philia (friendship) love, then with self-given storge (affectionate) that builds into true, meaningful eros (Romantic). Agape (God’s love) love must be at the center of it all or it fails. “Marriage is the deepest and most intimate of all friendships; here love should be given all areas of the relationship, both physical and spiritual.”
Adam and Eve left agape love for self-love, to be like God. We see how their children ended up, Cain killing able out of his self-love for pride. This is the first violence we see from a broken marriage not built around God. Augustine, apologist of Love, defines sin as a desire of something beyond it’s worth. As soon as this pops up in marriage, this is when unlawful divorce takes place and becomes sin. It literally ruins one of God’s most beautiful creations, by one single act of selfishness and desire.
God has literal ontological purposes for marriage, while those who divorce of sexual immorality do so out of the hardness of their hearts. It is not real love or ever was if it’s fruits produce selfishness instead of selflessness. “The disciples are alarmed at the strictness of Jesus. The Obligation to consider marriage as an indissoluble bond, for life, seems to them to surpass the power of man (vs. 10).”
The original purpose of marriage was to be in relation with God and to live out your love through the lens of his love. Marriage is truly a task that is most successful in the reality of Christian metaphysics. That God is love himself, a relational being. Loving Love himself first makes you most loving to all those involved in the marriage. The Parents must represent the love of God to their children so that those children may introduce the love of God to those they interact with. “It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive from God.
The Torah Law Debate:
The Pharisees attempt to put Jesus into a corner by asking him about the lawfulness of divorce. It was a custom back then that a Jewish man could divorce his wife whenever he wanted to as long as you got the signings of three rabbis for the certificate.
They ask whether it is unlawful to divorce his wife on every ground and he responds with only on sexual immorality. “But by appealing to the creation he was making use of a rabbinic method of disputation, namely, “the more original, the weightier.”
“But, as I said before, ‘the most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of our nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs’.”
Bibliography Dietrich, S. D. (1973). The Layman's Bible Commentary: Volume 16, Matthew. Richmond: John Knox Press.
Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Volume 11, Matthew. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
Horton, S. M. (1989). The Complete Biblical Library: Matthew. Springfield: The Complete Biblical Library.
Johnson, S. E. (1951). The Interpreters Bible: Volume 7 Matthew, Mark. Nashville: Alingdon Press.
Lewis, C. S. (2001). Mere Christianity. New York: HarperCollins .
Morris, L. (1992). The Gospel According the Matthew. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
1. Lewis, 106.
2. Horton, 397.
3. Ibid, 399.
4. Sherman, 480.
5. Horton, 399.
6. Dietrich, 103.
7. Lewis, 109.
8. Exell, 418.
9. Morris, 481.
10. Lewis, 108.