Tag Archives: divorce

My DOMA Reaction

This is a re-working of a post from May 2012. With today’s Supreme Court ruling that apparently refuses to rule on Proposition 8 and strikes down sections of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), I thought about this post. I stated the following on Facebook this morning: “As we reflect on the state of marriage and what our government now recognizes as marriage, remember that long ago our government forsook a godly definition when divorce and remarriage for reasons other than what Jesus states in Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:4-12, and Mark 10:3-12.” This goes with what I said a year ago. Keep reading;

One valid observation homosexuals and others make is that many “Christians” who speak loudest against homosexual marriage (and many politicians who are using this agenda  for political gain) are on their second, third, or even fourth marriage or they are guilty of violating the marriage covenant by having affairs.  Some may also be guilty of having sexual relationships before marriage (which is also a sin according to God’s word).  Folks,  this is a serious matter.  How can we expect others to listen to us, when we do not follow Christ’s teaching ourselves?

Now for my friend, I would remind him that just because others are sinners that does not give me (or him) license to sin where we want too.  In an effort to make my point to all involved (my friend and to those promoting the protection heterosexual marriage even while they abuse it) I ask all of us to consider the following event from Jesus’ life as recorded in the John’s account of the Gospel.

Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (Joh 8:2-11 – ESV)

This story appears to be specific to heterosexual relationships outside of marriage.  Jesus tells those who are about to stone her to look at themselves first and see if they meet the qualifications as judge.  (BTW – if she was caught in the “very act” where is the man?)  Then Jesus tells the woman that He is not condemning her and then to stop her sin.  Here are some quick observations:

  • She was guilty of sexual sin – specifically adultery – a sexual relationship outside of marriage.
  • Jesus, in so many words, is telling those about to condemn her to death and to hell that she deserves a second (third or fourth) chance to do what is right.
  • Jesus takes this opportunity to teach these men to think hard about how they would want to be treated if they were the one caught in this sin – (the Golden Rule).
  • Jesus gives the guilty woman the opportunity to keep living – Jesus offered Grace when others would not.
  • There is a difference between stating that an activity is sin and judging (condemning) the one who practices that sin.
  • There is an important statement from Jesus we cannot over-look.  He told her  ”from now on sin no more.”

There is a question for all of us to consider:  What if she were caught with another woman?  What if? I believe that Jesus would have responded the same way.  My point to Christians who pounce on the sin of homosexuality without considering the many sins of heterosexuals – THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!  Both are sin.  If you speak against one, speak against both.  If you are guilty of one, I would be very cautious about judging, lest I be just as harshly judged (Matt 7:1ff).

Admittedly, I do not have all the answers or even a good start on the answers.  My goal, as I tried to communicate to my friend is to get all of us who are sinners (which is all of us – cf. Rom 3) to come to a realization that we need the forgiveness of our sins offered by God’s Grace found in the good news (the Gospel) of Christ (Rom 1:16; 2Th 1:7-9; 1Cor 15:1-4; Rom 6:1-6) .  This is the ONLY hope any of us has (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

- Scott

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“Mawwage”

Marriage Wall

Marriage Wall

“Mawwage is what bwings us togevah today. Mawwage, that bwessed awwangement. That dweam wifin a dweam,” says the clergyman in The Princess Bride. In character might I add, “Mawwage is vewy special.”   Marriage is a very special organism. Yes, organism! Marriage is a living, growing, adapting reality that is composed of multiple (two) parts that make up the whole. Jesus reminds us that “the two shall become one flesh.”  “Marriage,” says the Hebrew writer, should be “held in honor among all.”

Our current culture struggles to define marriage from a legal standpoint. Some states are passing laws that expand the definition of marriage, while others are passing law that supposedly “protect” marriage. This same discussion concerning the definition of marriage is going on not only in the United States, but also through out Europe. I recently learned that Scotland is again considering separating from British rule for self rule and that one reason is so that they can redefine marriage to include same-sex unions.

What is marriage?  How should Christians around the globe view marriage?  According to God’s Word (the Bible) who can enter into a marriage union?  To begin to answer those questions, lets simply start with the words of Jesus and the apostle Paul.

  • Matthew 19:4-9, “He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” 
  • Mark 10:6-12, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” 
  • 1 Corinthians 7:1-5, “Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
  • Eph 5:31-33, “”Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” . . . . However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
  1. According to Jesus and the apostle Paul: Marriage is one man and one woman for life.
  2. According to Jesus and the apostle Paul: Multiple wives (husbands) are not an option.
  3. According to Jesus and the apostle Paul: The divorced (except for adultery on the part of the other) sin if they remarry.

So, my fellow Christians, our government(s) already support a non-biblical definition of marriage when they allow for “no fault” divorce. Before we jump on the so-called “Traditional Marriage” bandwagon, we might need to get the mote out of our own eyes and start practicing the definition of marriage that Jesus and Paul lay before us.  Then we can not only have authentic marriages but we can have a positive influence on those around us to do the same.

Now, let the conversation begin!

- Scott

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Marriage Matter Monday – Man and Woman, Man and Man, or Woman and Woman

I am currently in an online discussion with a friend who is homosexual and in a committed homosexual relationship.  He is understandably upset at the current political climate, specifically with Southern States that continue to ban homosexual marriages.  From his perspective, I understand his frustration, I may not agree — that is why the discussion, but I understand.

One valid observation he and others make is that many “Christians” who speak loudest against homosexual marriage (and many politicians who are using this agenda and the reaction to President Obama’s statement for political gain) are on their second, third, or even fourth marriage or they are guilty of violating the marriage covenant by having affairs.  Some may also be guilty of having sexual relationships before marriage (which is also a sin according to God’w word).  Brethren,  this is a serious matter.  How can we expect others to listen to us, when we do not follow Christ’s teaching ourselves?

Now for my friend, I would remind him that just because others are sinners that does not give me (or him) license to sin where we want too.  In an effort to make my point to all involved (my friend and to those promoting the protection heterosexual marriage even while they abuse it) I ask all of us to consider the following event from Jesus’ life as recorded in the John’s account of the Gospel.

Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (Joh 8:2-11 – ESV)

This story appears to be specific to heterosexual relationships outside of marriage.  Jesus tells those who are about to stone her to look at themselves first and see if they meet the qualifications as judge.  (BTW – if she was caught in the “very act” where is the man?)  Then Jesus tells the woman that He is not condemning her and then to stop her sin.  Here are some quick observations:

  • She was guilty of sexual sin – specifically adultery – a sexual relationship outside of marriage.
  • Jesus, in so many words, is telling those about to condemn her to death and to hell that she deserves a second (third or fourth) chance to do what is right.
  • Jesus takes this opportunity to teach these men to think hard about how they would want to be treated if they were the one caught in this sin – (the Golden Rule).
  • Jesus gives the guilty woman the opportunity to keep living – Jesus offered Grace when others would not.
  • There is a difference between stating that an activity is sin and judging (condemning) the one who practices that sin.
  • There is an important statement from Jesus we cannot over-look.  He told her  “from now on sin no more.”

There is a question for all of us to consider:  What if she were caught with another woman?  What if? I believe that Jesus would have responded the same way.  My point to Christians who pounce on the sin of homosexuality without considering the many sins of heterosexuals – THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!  Both are sin.  If you speak against one, speak against both.  If you are guilty of one, I would be very cautious about judging, lest I be just as harshly judged (Matt 7:1ff).

Admittedly, I do not have all the answers or even a good start on the answers.  My goal, as I tried to communicate to my friend is to get all of us who are sinners (which is all of us – cf. Rom 3) to come to a realization that we need the forgiveness of our sins offered by God’s Grace found in the good news (the Gospel) of Christ (Rom 1:16; 2Th 1:7-9; 1Cor 15:1-4; Rom 6:1-6) .  This is the ONLY hope any of us has (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

- Scott

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Marriage: When to Call it Quits

First, consider the following texts from God’s Word:

  • But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” (Mal 2:14-16)
  • “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Mat 5:31-32)
  • They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” (Mat 19:7-9)
  • To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife. (1Co 7:10-11)

These texts limit divorce to the unfaithfulness of one spouse.  Jesus, God through he prophet Malachi, and Paul all say that marriage is permanent.  The meaning is clear in these passages, “one man and one woman for life.”   However, before we toss in the towel and decide that once we are in a “bad marriage” that we are stuck, there is one more idea to consider.  One that ultimately comes from scripture.  The disciples state this principle in Matthew 19 and Jesus confirms it.  I think we need to take a closer look at this teaching of when we should quit a marriage.  This is sound teaching about breaking up a marriage.  I consider this to be the BEST time to break-up a marriage, even better than unfaithfulness.  The BEST time to break-up a marriage is BEFORE YOU SAY, “I DO”!  Yes, I am shouting with all caps. This is after-all what the disciples said, ” . . . If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” (Mat 19:10).

My point? Make sure you are ready to stay together – for life before you complete the ceremony.  I tell couples, that if she is on the way up the aisle and one of them decides they are not ready for this, then tell me then.  I would rather see those gathered disappointed then than broken-hearted at a later day.

What do you think?

- Scott

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Marriage Break-Up Prevention

HELP!  All around me I see couples my age and younger breaking-up marriages.  Some of these relationship are longer ones lasting a couple  of decades and some are shorter not even making it to the first decade.  My son’s peers have split families, I see their posts on Facebook, “going to Mom’s this weekend, I will miss Dad.”

Milford and Bessie Minor at 72 years of marriage.

Amy and I come from a “long line of love.”  My parents will celebrate 52 years in June and hers will celebrate 50 this year.  All of our grandparents remained married to their first spouse until death separated them. Adding up our total of years and that of our siblings (none of which has a divorce record) we have approximately 87 years of marriage between us (I have two brothers and she has one sister).  Here are some observations of our grandparents’, parents’, our siblings’, and our own marriage that I think will help prevent break-ups. This is time-tested.

1. Put Your Spouse FIRST!  I cringe when I hear people say their children come first.  I love my son, but Amy is first.  She comes before him, and from her perspective, I come first.  The security of the strong love between your parents is better than any other gift.

2. Learn to EXPRESS Love! Hold hands, give hugs, buy small tokens for them, write them love notes.  Tell them you LOVE them in no uncertain terms.

3. Live WITHIN Your Budget!  Many marriages seem to break down over the stress of financial difficulties.  Live by this simple motto:  If I cannot afford it, I do not need it.  By “afford it” I do not mean “buy on long-term high interest credit.”

4. Have COMMON Goals!  Too many couples have different agendas and plans.  Put your relationship on the same track.  Look for projects and goals to pursue as a couple.

5. Learn to COMPROMISE!  Be flexible.  Know that your way is not the only way to do something.  Learn that your taste in furniture (a ratty old recliner) is not the only standard. Break out of your comforts zone, not your marriage. Try new things together and learn to enjoy similar events, foods, and experiences.

6. Learn to APOLOGIZE!  Some of the sweetest words in marriage or any relationship are the sincerely spoken, “I am sorry, please forgive me.”

7. COMMUNICATE!  Learn to lovingly say what is on your heart.  Ladies, do not think us menfolk understand the hidden language of women.  Please tell us what you really want us to know.  Men, learn to read between (under, over, and beside) the lines for the hints in what your wife says. For example:  You are walking from the car to the restaurant and your wife says, “Wow, look at the moon.”  She is not asking you to notice that there is a moon or that it is waxing or waning Gibbous, new or full.  She is not asking for a comment on how a moon like that would make for good fishing or coon-hunting.  She is not looking for a lecture on the moon’s impact on ocean tides.  She is saying, “put your arm on my shoulder or at least hold my hand in the romantic light of this moon.”  Ladies, if you do want us to hold your hand, please tells us just in case.

8. Please GOD and You Will Please Your Spouse!  If both of you focus your life on being the type of person God wants you to be and to be the husband or wife that God desires – sacrificial and submissive toward each other, you will have a successful marriage.

- Scott

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Warning! This is a Reaction!

I suppose I am naive. I suppose, this is something expected. But I did not see this coming, I did not expect this, especially from the source, but then again . . .

This morning on GMA there was a story about Pat Robertson’s answer to a question sent in by a viewer this aired on Tuesday’s program. The question had to do with a friend whose spouse was suffering from Alzheimer’s. This friend was lonely and wanted to move on. Pat Robertson’s answer was, “I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her.” After a question about “for better or for worse” from co-host Terry Meeuwsen, Robertson replied, “If you respect that vow, you say ’til death do us part. This is a kind of death.”

Can Robertson see the conclusions of his so-called logic. Cancer is in some cases a kind of death. Spinal chord injuries similar to Christopher Reeves’ injury are a kind of death. Lou Gehrig’s Disease is a kind of death. There are many things one might consider a kind of death.

Robertson’s answer hints at what is wrong with many marriages and in the lives of many people. That problem is that we are full of self. Many are neglecting to submit to any authority other than their own desires. How many times do I hear people say, “but God would want me to be happy.”  I dare you to find that phrase in the Bible. I know the Bible talks about joy, but the joy the Bible speaks of is a joy beyond what this world has to offer. Joy in the Bible comes from being in Christ not from living of the world. The Bible does teach that God wants something for us, He wants the best for us, not what we think is best, but what He knows is best. Ultimately what God wants for all people is eternal happiness in an eternal reward (2 Pet 3:9; 1 Tim 2:4).

I am currently watching a Godly man stay by his wife’s (of over 50 years) side as she slowly departs this world. For the last 7+ years, he is continually, tenderly, patiently, and lovingly taking care of all her needs. This man was an active person, out in the community, but for the most part of the last decade, he stays at home by her side showing her love and graciously submitting to her every need. This is a picture of the love God has for us, this is a picture of what marriage is to be, not what Robertson describes.

Please tell me if I am wrong.

-Scott

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The Phone Call

The phone call I returned last night was not what I thought it would be.  My best friend from my teen years called.  We have not kept in touch because of distance, but we manage to catch up with each other once a year or so.  Last night, I had missed his call so I called back.  His first comment cut deep in my heart.

Daniel and I spent four years in homeroom and in chorus together.  I was also his voluntary chauffeur our senior year when his insurance dropped him for excessive speeding tickets — but I digress.  Late in our Junior year, Daniel began dating Martha and a year or so after graduation they married.  This year they celebrated 23 years of marriage.  But Daniel’s first words to me last night were, “Well, I am single man again.”

I thought they would be one of the exceptions.  Many of my high school friends were not married for 5 years before they divorced.  I thought Daniel and Martha were going to make it.

I asked what happened.  According to Daniel, the split came down to the mutual realization that they had grown apart over the last few years and she decided she did not want to be married to him any longer.  Daniel said they were still friends and that their divorce was civil.

My heart breaks for Daniel and Martha.  Breaking off 23 years of marriage is not easy.  Daniel is still the same; he has a positive attitude that he will make it.  But he is hurting.  He revealed his pain as we wrapped up our 90 minute conversation, “I hope you never have to face this.” I replied that I was not planning on it.

Here is part of my avoidance plan:

  1. Make sure Amy knows I love her.  I will tell her and show her daily.
  2. Date, date, and date some more.  We continually do things together.
  3. Hold hands more often.  That may be difficult since we already hold hands a lot.
  4. Continue to pursue (court) each other.  Attempt to keep the romance alive.
  5. Talk about our day.  Listen to what she says and be empathetic to her stresses.
  6. Open the car (truck) door for her.  I have let down in this area.  I need to get back to this.

- Scott

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