There are those who use scripture to claim unshakable positions on re-marriage. They believe the “one strike and you’re out” theory applies to marriage. They give more weight to the Law than to Mercy. Jonah stated (Jonah 4:2b) that God was a gracious and merciful God, way back then! Let’s raise some other interesting questions, but first, read on!
Loving Another Again
I believe that one of the worst things a divorced person can do is to go out and almost immediately date and/or remarry. They try to fill a hole that one person left in their lives with another person. Let the heart heal so that it has love to give another person! If you don’t love yourself, if you can’t forgive yourself, you are unable to give love. That puts undue pressure on the second person. Let the Loving God heal you before you rush in again. (Yes, there are exceptions, but why push it?)
Here are some questions to ponder before we move on:
- What sins fall under the group of ‘one strike and you’re out’? Which ones take two strikes? Three? Or even seventy times seven?
- Does God ever bless a sinner after they’ve sinned? This was already answered earlier, wasn’t it?
- Can a promiscuous person marry? How much promiscuity is too much to allow the person to marry?
- If a never-married, sexually active person can get married, receiving God’s and the church’s blessing, why can’t an always monogamous, previously married person marry?
- Read number four above again, slower.
- Which heart is harder; the heart that sins, or the heart that refuses to forgive?
Many use the Bible to support a different view. You may have heard them, or you may be one of them. It is easy to quote verses that don’t appear to support what I’ve said. It is easy to find apparently opposing ones. I commend people for their desire to know God’s will and their diligent search and study of translations of what He has said.
Scripture Never Contradicts Itself!
Whenever we find apparent contradictions, it is our interpretation of what God said that is wrong. God’s ways are so far above ours, that we can’t easily grasp what He actually said or meant for us to hear. For those of you who went through a divorce, (and those of you who want to know what God desires) let’s remember a few things about God:
- God is Love, not rules nor standards.
- He is consistent, and never contradicts Himself. Nor does He change His mind!
- God wants a more personal relationship than He already has with each and every one of us. He loves spending time with us!
- God especially loves you!
If you or I think that a part of the Bible contradicts another part, we don’t understand what God is saying! Remember that as humans, it is difficult for the mind of man to comprehend the will of God. You and I both want to do the best we can. Let’s also remember that the Bible is basically a Hebrew document. By Hebrew law at the time most of the Bible was written, it took two witnesses to prove something in their courts. Two was the minimum. Some scholars have realized that the Bible is the same way. If you read one scripture that tells you something, but cannot find support for it elsewhere, you may be understanding it wrongly. I have done that many, many times myself!
Why Was the Bible Written?
There are a lot of reasons, and here are some for us on a personal level:
- Guide the Jewish people in their culture and as a nation. (He now guides each of us individually the same way!)
- Guide us toward a closer, more intimate relationship with God.
- Let us know that we have eternal life.
- Inform us that our joy may be filled.
- Reveal God’s desire for us as individuals and as humanity.
- Reveal God’s character.
- Teach us how to be holy.
- Help us learn to glorify God.
- Improve our coping skills when our circumstances seem against us.
- Help us to love God more deeply.
Let’s keep those reasons in mind, and pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance on a deeper meaning of these verses. A minister I respected very much often said, “Always apply God’s laws through the prism of God’s Love.” Just as the prism reveals the many colors in white light, the prism reveals all the ways that God loves people. We just have to look for them!
Let’s also realize something about scripture: Whatever version you are reading, it is a translation of the original. We then try to translate that ‘translation’ into our lives, sometimes forgetting that something may have been lost in the translation from the original language and culture. Those of you who understand translation, know that to literally translate something is good, however, you often lose the original meaning. It is a very good way to translate the Bible, because so many people read it, and read it often.
For example, you may translate a husband’s words to his wife as either:
“You are a little kitten.” or “You are a little cat!”
Without context, you don’t know which one he meant.
Cultural Use, Idioms, Sayings, Street Talk
The words are almost the same, certainly, they would translate the same way literally, yet one meaning can be opposite the other. In current American culture, the phrases have opposite meanings: one phrase is very tender and positive, while the other phrase is angry and negative. One would have to look at the rest of what the husband said, to get a picture of his mood, whether angry or intimate. The punctuation would also help, but ancient Hebrew had no punctuation! For that matter, it didn’t have vowels, or spaces between the words, either!
Idioms, street talk, or slang, rarely translate their meaning if translated word for word. For example, imagine the frustration you would have if you tried to translate verbatim the following common American phrases if you didn’t know what they meant:
- “We played bridge, and had a blast.”
- “She ran through them like a hot knife through butter.”
- “He was watching the boob tube.”
- “He was a gay fellow.”
- “Wow, he was really bad!”
In American slang, a boob tube is a television, yet in England, it is a woman’s sweater. We need to know the cultural origin of the speaker, not just the language! Also, to complicate things even more, go back to number 4 above. In order to understand the statement, you must know when it was said. If said in 1900 A.D., it meant he was a happy man. If said in 2000 A.D. it meant he is homosexual. So we also need to know the time frame and more importantly, know what the word meant to the listeners when it was said. Don’t forget “street talk”! Slang tends to change over time as each generation has people who are creative in their use of language! (See #5 above!)
We have seen that divorce is not an unforgivable sin. We have noticed that it is not even mentioned in the 10 Commandments. Moses allowed it because men were abusing women and it allowed an escape from that abuse. Also, it’s not the document that is divorce, it’s the death of the relationship.
Putting that together, it’s apparent to me that God doesn’t see this the way many churches see it. Re-marriage for the wrong reasons, just like getting married for the wrong reasons is not good. However, any marriage for the right reasons is blessed by God.
- Part One: Introduction
- Part Two: What is Marriage?
- Part Three: God’s Viewpoint
- Part Four: Is Divorce Unforgivable?
- Part Five: Is Re-marriage An Option?
- Part Six: Scriptual Backing
Please comment and/or respond to what you heard inside of you as you read this! Let’s share!