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The Fruits of Lovelessness

Matthew 5:31-32
It has been said, "Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce." But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (NIVUK)

There are no winners in divorce. Marriage breakdown is always a painful business, often after a long process of eroded trust and the suspicion of infidelity. What once seemed bright is now dark: love has gone. The Old Testament law given through Moses recognised that there may come a point where the married couple were unwilling or unable to restore the relationship, and that divorce was the only way ahead (Deuteronomy 24:1).

However that law seemed to give the husband the opportunity to divorce his wife for trivial reasons, as the Pharisees identified (Matthew 19:3-9). The certificate of divorce seemed to be a licence for the husband to relieve himself of any responsibility towards his wife. Of course, adultery is the serious marriage-breaker and in that case if the couple cannot forgive and rebuild trust, then divorce provides the possibility of a new start.

But, Jesus said, the consequence of a 'divorce of convenience’ will ripple on into another marriage. The 'one flesh' principle remains in God's eyes and is embedded into our consciences; therefore remarriage is an adulterous offence against the first marriage. Jesus was using this practical example to demonstrate the lasting nature of love in His kingdom, which is also the model for human relationships.

In God's kingdom, love is an undying commodity. It is about giving and forgiving in order to build relationships which express the mutual love of the Father with the Son and the Spirit. Love does not expose others to harm or put them in danger of offending God. It is not so much a feeling, as a covenant commitment to seek the best for the other (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) and to work through the difficulties to secure what is best. The tragic pain of dysfunctional human relationships can lead us to accept less than the best; that is why we need the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14) to help us to attain God’s best in a sin-riddled world.

Loving God. Thank You for Your unending love towards me. I am sorry when my love to others is so fragile and when I give up on loving, especially when that will make others spiritually vulnerable. Please help me to grow in the practice of committed love, drawing on Your grace to support me through the difficult times. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams