“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Mark 10:6-9)
Obviously, this is an important passage in regards to our contemporary debate on the nature of Biblical marriage. There is no doubt in my mind God’s design for marriage is between a man and a woman, and that their union is among the most sacred of human relationships.
If those who believe otherwise choose to pursue another design, they are free to argue their case in the public arena with the rest of us. But in my opinion, any attempt to support such things by using the Bible as evidence is either dishonest or misguided. The Biblical view of marriage is that of a union between a man and a woman.
But this issue is not the purpose of Jesus’ reference here. He is addressing a question from the Pharisees regarding divorce. I think it is important to realize, the Pharisees’ goal was to trap Jesus and discredit Him. But He answered them just the same.
Divorce was not God’s plan since creation. Not only was marriage a life-time commitment, but the physiology of the sexual union that takes place in marriage has a spiritual dimension. Something good happens in the souls of a man and woman when they enter into a marriage relationship. They become “one flesh”, and although they maintain individual personalities, opinions and dreams, they become “one” in every process of life. As they journey together, they act as “one”, think as “one”, and feel as “one.”
For this reason, adultery and divorce bring immeasurable pain into a man and woman’s life. How one should deal with these circumstances involve complexities that are too great to discuss in a single devotional. However, I do wish to say two things.
First, no one is exempt from the possibility of infidelity and divorce. No one should ever be so arrogant as to think he or she is not vulnerable to Satan’s snare, or a relational breakdown. For this reason, we should all work hard at practicing good boundaries in our lives, and do everything possible to nurture our marriage relationships.
Secondly, God’s grace is available for those who sin or experience divorce. Remember, grace is the word we use for the good things God brings into our lives. Forgiveness is one example of grace, but so is the ability to live at peace with events in our lives we can’t change.
With this said, Jesus reminds the Pharisees the question is not what God wants. He has always wanted a man and woman to find joy and life-long commitment in their marriage (and offers the option of a pure single life, as well). Yet, because of the human condition of the heart, Moses provided people with a divorce certificate for the purpose of keeping order in the community, and clearly defining one’s status.
God always helps us restore our shattered dreams. But He also wants us to do everything possible to keep our dreams alive. The hair-splitting of the Pharisees misses this point.
Dear God, help me do my best to do what is best. In Jesus’ name, Amen.