When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he cured them there.
Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that the on who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?” He said to them, “It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was no so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.”
His disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs for others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”
Hm, I get the feeling from verse 10 that maybe some of the disciples were maybe unhappy with their wives. But that’s just the thing, we can’t just go around getting divorces because we’re a little (or even a lot) unhappy. Jesus said the only reason anyone ever got divorced in the first place was because they were too hard-hearted. Jesus wants us to un-harden our hearts from one another, forgive each other, and work on our marriages.
He also acknowledges that it is probably better to not marry, presumably because it would give you more time to be closer to God. (I believe Paul says the same thing in one of his letters.) That’s where monks and nuns came from. But He understands that not everybody is made for that kind of life, and that’s okay.
Notice Jesus also didn’t say that if you get a divorce God won’t love you. Divorce is just like any other sin, God can and will forgive you. That doesn’t give you licence just to go ahead with the divorce, knowing you will be forgiven. No! Work on your marriage! You are of one flesh now. However painful it would be to cut your arm off, your heart will feel all that pain if you cut your spouse off.
I wish churches wouldn’t just ignore this passage. The divorce rate n the church is just as high as the rate outside. Why? Because this truth is inconvenient. (Sorry for stealing from Al Gore…) People are happy to ignore God’s word if it’s easier for them. The church needs to help these people see that ignoring God’s word is wrong! And right now I feel like it is failing to do that. Something big needs to happen, and soon.