Sunday, June 26, 2011

Marriage & The Word of God

Okay, there's lots being said in the past few days regarding marriage due to the passage of a law in the state of New York. Many Christians and several Christian leaders are speaking out and condemning the law, the men and women who passed the law and the people who support the law. I want to take a few minutes and speak about the topic of marriage, the Bible and the church today.

Many of those who are shouting the loudest about the laws of the land are married to their second or third spouses, while their previous spouses are still living. How is this possible? It's possible because they've divorced their first and/or second spouse and remarried. Yet Jesus, Himself, told us that we are not allowed to remarry after divorce, and we're only allowed to divorce if our spouse has committed adultery. Note, we cannot commit adultery, ourselves, then ask for a divorce from our spouse.

In fact, it's written in scripture that if we divorce a spouse due to adultery, we are to remain single until our former spouse passes away or we are guilty of adultery and the person we marry becomes guilty of adultery, thereby placing the responsibility for their committing sin on our souls, and Christ told us that if we are responsible for someone else committing sin, it would be better for a millstone to be tied around our neck and we be cast into the sea.

So, how is it that divorce and remarriage has become so accepted in the church? I remember as recently as the 1970's a joke that stated it was better to murder your spouse than to divorce them because it was easier for the church to forgive murder than divorce. Yet, beginning in the 80's, divorce has become rampant, and accepted, in the church. And, along with it, remarriage is accepted, with the caveat that God doesn't recognize our marriages before we were saved. Hogwash! Paul addressed that situation, clearly, when he stated that if we're unequally yoked (married to a non-believer) we are to remain married to them if they are agreeable, because we have no way of knowing if our continued marriage to them will lead them to Christ. But, he also stated that if they were not agreeable to remaining married to us, we are to grant them a divorce, but we are to remain single, only allowed to remarry our former spouse.

I find it more unbelievable that so many of our pastors, teachers, evangelists and other leaders are on their second, third, fourth marriage. What happened to following Biblical teaching? The text of scripture states that in order to be a leader, the leader must be "the husband of one wife" (or conversely, the wife of one husband). There is no excuse listed in scripture for a shepherd to be divorced and remarried, much less multiple times divorced and remarried. Yet, if you look at those who are screaming the loudest about these laws, you'll likely find they've been married multiple times, and their former spouses are still living.

Now, I recently posted a blog in which I spoke about the speck and the plank. How much more appropriate can that statement from Jesus be to a conversation than it is to this one? I'm not condemning anyone who has divorced and remarried while their former spouse is still living. It's not my place to judge a single soul on this planet. However, I find it a wee bit hypocritical of us, as the church, to be carrying on about what the world is doing while we, ourselves, are committing sin; acting out in direct opposition to the teachings of Christ on the very subject that we are shouting the loudest about.

Maybe that's the key to why we're screaming so loudly. We tend to scream the loudest, and hate the most, those things we see in others which we dislike the most in ourselves. Unless and until we get our own acts cleaned up in regards to marriage IN the church, we have no right to condemn or complain about what those in the world are doing in regard to marriage.