Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Irreconcilable Differences

Divorce should never be an option for Christians based on Jesus' teachings in Matthew 5, yet the divorce rate in the church (little-c) is a little higher than the national average (60 to 50 percent, last I looked). The number one reason for divorce in the United States, with laws defining "no-fault divorce", is irreconcilable differences. In other words, arguments that can't be resolved. Again, this should be a non-option for Christians based on Romans 12: "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought... Honor one another above yourselves... If possible, as much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." (Romans 12:3b,10b,18)

Reading Matthew 5 this morning, Jesus' instruction on divorce is buried in the middle of a larger train of thought. If your Bible has headings, it might look something like this beginning in verse 21: Murder, Adultery, Divorce, Oaths, An Eye for an Eye, Love for Enemies. Since Jesus' theme in these passages is less the action and more the heart consider this sequence: Anger, Lust, Unfaithfulness, Integrity, Turn the Other Cheek, Love Your Enemies.

What is your irreconcilable difference(s) with your spouse? What is the one (or more) thing that you two can never seem to resolve? How does that make you feel? (Come in, lay down on my couch) Angry? Do you use that as an excuse to be lustful? Remember that even lust is adultery and adultery is unfaithfulness to your marriage. Remember that you took an oath before God and your 'I do' means 'I do' just as your "yes be yes and your no be no". Are you still angry at your spouse? Is there anything you haven't let go of and forgiven? Turn the other cheek. Last, but certainly not least, if this is still too hard, love your enemy.

3 comments:

Peter P said...

Good post Frank.

Why do you think the divorce rate is higher among Christians than among non-Christians?

Could it be that less and less non-Christians are getting married thus making a disproportionately high number marriages among Christians?

Divorce rates don't take into account the people who have been 'living together' for 20 years and split up because if 'irreconcilable differences'

Noel said...

So...I'm curious, what led you to study divorce? Is it something you came upon when you saw the statistics of those who are Christian getting divorced?

I wonder if sometimes people go into marriage thinking it will be a happily ever after story. But they forget it is a real union between real people who are human.

Fatha Frank said...

@Peter: Not sure why. I've never heard a good explanation. It used to be even, but fewer people are getting married which I think caused the recent swing. The way they come up with that number is fishy too, btw.

@Noel: Hey! Not studying divorce, but it stood out to me. I'm reading through the Gospels chronologicaly and I just happen to be in Matthew 5.

Definately think too many enter into marriage thinking happily ever after and/or what's in it for me?