On Wednesday my wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary. I wanted it to be special, and I bought her 25 exquisite red roses, one for each year of marriage. I had asked my mother-in-law to drive my wife to work that morning, so that I could deliver them personally, and then take her out to dinner.
I had no idea what kind of a reception awaited me at the front door of the rehab centre where she works. One of her colleagues came running out to shake my hand. I wondered what this was all about, and I found out later that when my wife’s colleagues learned about our 25th anniversary, they were astounded.
“25 years? Is that even still possible nowadays?” They had asked.
Unknowingly my wife and I have become a relic of the good ol’ days, and this knowledge saddened me to the core. All these young people out there who are blinded by the “I” that is promoted by society, and none of them have any idea how to make their own marriages last!
Jesus warned us that in the last days we should: “Watch out that no one deceives you.” (Matt 24:4 NIV)
Is it possible that divorce is a deception straight from hell?
One day Jesus was approached by some testy Pharisees concerning divorce: “Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?'” (Matt 19:3 NIV)
His answer was unexpected: “‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “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.'” (Matt 19:4-6 NIV)
Unsatisfied, they questioned Him further: “‘Why then,’ they asked, ‘did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?'” (Matt 19:7 NIV)
Again Jesus’ reply shocked them to the core: “Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.'” (Matt 19:8-9 NIV)
What is even more surprising is the reaction from the disciples of Jesus: “The disciples said to him, ‘If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.'” (Matt 19:10 NIV)
They are so shocked that they decide if they didn’t have the possibility of divorce, then it was better not to marry at all!
Maybe we aren’t relics of the olden days after all! It seems that the attitude of pro-divorce was vividly exhibited even as the years turned from B.C. to A.D.!
Jesus rightly concluded: “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given.” (Matt 19:11 NIV) Unfortunately, not everyone will listen to the advice Jesus gave. Only those with a heart for God!
And how does God look upon divorce? “‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel.” (Mal 2:16 NIV)
Okay. So maybe that’s just Old Testament mentality. What does the New Testament say about divorce?
“Are you married? Do not seek a divorce.” (1 Cor 7:27 NIV)
Case closed! God is opposed to divorce!
But if He hates it so much, why is it promoted so much in our society?
In all reality, isn’t divorce a public announcement that we are being absorbed by the “I” (Me and my pleasures first)? Isn’t divorce a public disclosure that although Jesus died for our sins, forgiveness isn’t possible? Are we so absorbed in ourselves that others have become insignificant? Can’t we learn to forgive the one who was once the “apple of our eye”?
“When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25 NIV)
Have we forgotten how to forgive that way Jesus forgave us? “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Col 3:13 NIV) Has that also become unimportant?
If we expect Jesus to forgive any of our sins, shouldn’t we at least try to forgive the one we used to call “beloved”? Remember: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NIV)
Remember that once you are married, you are no longer two individual people. You become one in purpose and direction: “‘The two will become one flesh’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Mat 19: 5-6 NIV)
Marriage is just like a rope used on fishing boats. Most consist of two cords that in themselves consist of many fibres and are braided together to improve strength. One strand by itself is more susceptible to breaking, but together it can withstand tempests and rough handling!
As Christians, we have access to a third strand that becomes intertwined amongst this rope of marriage, a strand that renders our marriages even stronger: The Holy Spirit!
But if, If all of a sudden, one of the strands decides it would be advantageous to look at other cords, the rope will become weak and prone to destruction!
Isn’t it interesting that those who divorce once have a tendency to divorce again?
The effects of pursuing the “I” are disastrous!
Through one death entered this world, through Another life was offered (See 1 Cor 15:21-22). We need to ask ourselves: Am I a promoter of death or a promoter of life?
Our actions will determine what kind of promoter we truly are.
Only love brings meaning to our life. Will we let the “I” ruin it?
“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always ‘me first,’ Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.” (1 Cor 13:4-7 The Message)
Who am I truly? Am I a promoter of death and destruction or a promoter of life and hope?
(To view the entire “The “I” devotional series, please click here.)