Matthew 19:3-20 (MSG)
“3 One day the Pharisees were badgering him: “Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?”
“4-6 He answered, ‘Haven’t you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.’
“11-12 But Jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.”
John 10:30 (ESV)
“I and the Father are one.”
Romans 12:1-8 (MSG)
“12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
I don’t feel qualified to write on this, yet I’m qualified because of how I’ve screwed up in this life. I’m married to my third wife, first two ended in divorce. Can’t blame wife #1 as she put up with a lot as I was drinking and getting sober. Alcoholics leave a wide wake of disaster as they plow through life – not like a tornado, but more like a class 5 hurricane. Wife #2 was a bad call, and it points to the difficulty men have with marriage. I taught my son and daughters that men don’t have enough blood to think with two heads at once and I’m living proof. My kids nicknamed wife #2 Cruella and I had no idea how much she hurt them until it was over. Before that were girlfriends I hurt deeply, very deeply, by doing unspeakably horrible things. Train wreck is an apt description.
I’m eminently qualified about how not to do it, so these words on how to do it resonate with me. I’m not wired to be able to decide to be a eunuch, though perhaps I should be forced to be one. So I’m left with option three – growing into the maturity of marriage. And it’s taking a lot of growing.
Growing into the maturity of marriage. Christ is eminently qualified to tell us how it should be done. He’s God, He knows how it was planned. We’ve screwed it up since the beginning. The maturity of marriage. I read posts on Facebook about a marriage that shows the depth and love that Christ speaks to as her husband is dying of alzheimer’s in his 50’s. That’s maturity of marriage. Sacrificial love. True love. Amazing love. The kind of love that many more than 50% (divorce rate) of us miss. I know a young woman married to the male counterpart of Cruella who’s trying to hold it together. I see my life repeated and want to strangle the guy. Idiot! Fool! You have no idea what you’re doing! I do because he is who I was. God must feel the same way when He watches us today. He knows better, He knows the design. Few of us get it.
I, I, I, I, want, want, want, want. That’s what Christ rails about in verses Matthew 19:7-10, how we’ve taken the purpose and beauty of marriage and turned it inward to us, to serve us. Broken it we have.
Do all we do to glorify God. Throw off the culture and do what’s right in His eyes. Grow to a higher standard. Mature. Stick with it. Love and live unselfishly. And know that growth means forgiveness.
Christ offers a complete package.