The views expressed below are those of the writer and may not reflect the views of Rejoice Marriage Ministries or the Steinkamps.
Men, has the Lord placed a devotional on your heart that you would like to share with other standers?
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
Several years ago, my wife told me she was leaving. I was fine with it; the pain in my life would be gone and since she left me, I had biblical grounds to move on to another wife. For three days there was a struggle inside me. I could not reconcile the many passages to love with divorce. Divorce does not show love. On the third day, my form of repentance to God (Christian all my life and I never repented to God) was asking Him to show me the truth. As the words left my lips, my knees hit the ground. God showed me so much, too much to write here. I did not understand it all, but I knew divorce was not the path to take.
“I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Matthew 19:9
I read verses in Matthew 19:1-12 many times, understanding where the interpretation of the exception clause, giving biblical grounds for divorce, comes from. It made complete sense to me, but something was not right. As in the other “but I tell you” passages, Jesus is telling us the question we are asking or the path we are taking is the wrong question to ask and the wrong path to take. He always directs us to imitate Him.
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
My next question to God was, “Why didn’t you include the exception clause in Luke 16 and Mark 10?” I asked God this question countless times and read or listened to everything I could get my hands on to relieve this war that was going on inside of me. I could not reconcile love with divorce, but I wanted the exception clause to be true so that modern day Christian teaching would be right.
What I found is Jesus was speaking to Jews who at the time were still under the Old Testament law to divorce their spouse by killing them when their spouse was martially unfaithful. If Jesus did not include the exception clause, there would have been people in His audience asking Jesus, “Have you not read, we are commanded to divorce our spouse by killing them?”
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
The exception clause is not in Mark and Luke because these books are written to Gentiles who were never under the Old Testament law but are under the command to love as Jesus loved. In Ephesians 5:32 we learn the purpose of marriage is to show God’s unconditional love and from the passage we learn we, the Church, are Christ’s bride.
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:31-32
We put Jesus on the cross. Literally it was Christians who killed Jesus. The Roman government washed their hands and let the church do what they wanted to with Jesus. We wanted to kill him.
“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34a
One of things that God showed me the night I repented was what He did for me. It is so humbling He does not condemn me for my countless divorceable sins against Him. Our Husband, Jesus, while dying on the cross, that we put Him on, was still interceding for us to God!
The reason I love RMM is because of how it shows and teaches the Gospel, a sacrificial unconditional love, guiding us to do the same. So, we will be a light for the whole world to see the Gospel. I have a dream that someday the only guidance Christians will receive in a tough marriage is the Gospel, to imitate Christ’s love for us. To only receive support to stand and fight for their marriage. Giving them the patience to wait, wisdom to know what to do and the strength to endure.
I now only see biblical grounds to stand for my marriage.
Torrey in Minnesota