I can remember times when we as a church would let preach or listen to “evangelists” who were actual convicted murders. And they were praised for their being a “new creation” and the power that God could do in a person’s life. What a legacy to live up to…. King David- Adulterer and murderer. Moses- Murderer and coward. Saint Paul- Murderer. Saint Peter- Betrayer. All of these people were just fine and right as rain but those divorced people… well, we could barely even think to talk about them. And they sure weren’t getting any kind of leadership position in the church, that is for certain.
While I always had a problem with the way these people were treated, Mark 10 shows us that it is indeed an important subject that needs to be discussed. To Christ, marriage was important and living up to such an important commitment was not something to take lightly. The ideal is for the 2 to become 1. This is why Jesus puts so much importance on it. Paul tells us that Christ is married to his bride, the Church. It is his very body. The two becoming one. It’s a big deal.
Divorce has such short and long term ramifications on family. It is the destruction of relationship. We as the Church are supposed to be the light to the world and set an example in this area but so often, we fail here as well. We don’t salt the earth as well as we should. We should be living out the call to be ministers of reconciliation in all areas of our lives, especially in marriage.
But the ideal is not always the world we get to live in, is it? And Jesus understands that. I guess I believe that infidelity comes in many forms. I don’t think that it just means that one partner physically cheating on the other. I have seen emotional infidelity actually be more relationally destructive than physical infidelity. I find that we believe our happiness should trump righteousness. “If I’m not happy, I get to leave.” And that is true if the commitment we make is to our feelings. But I can’t find in the Gospel where that’s the idea. We are committed to each other through Christ in both the good times and the bad. Or at least, we are supposed to be.
I think that God’s standards are high but I really believe that his grace is even higher. James tells us that mercy triumphs over judgment. So if while we try to live out the commitment in our marriages, we rely on God’s grace. And if we find we fall short, we still rely on God’s grace.