Like Hosea the prophet and his adulterous wife, Gomer, Christ pursues us, hedges us in, and showers us with his longsuffering patience and love until we repent. This is the love that should mark all Christian marriages. We live out Christ’s love for us in our marriages when we forgive when sinned against, even when we are the victim of serious sins, such as adultery.
One of the church’s biggest problems is divorce. I can’t say that I’ve seen any documented statistics, but one of the mantras I’ve heard over the years is that the divorce rate is the same inside and outside the church, with about half of all marriages ending in divorce.
I have my doubts about such claims, as the churches I’ve been a part of throughout my life have had very few divorces. There have been a few but certainly nowhere near fifty percent. Nevertheless, one of the problems I have witnessed has been the speed with which couples want to pull the divorce ripcord.
Jesus allowed divorce in the case of infidelity; he did not command it.
As soon as people encounter trouble, it seems like they begin looking for the door. Or even in the face of significant trouble, such as infidelity, people want to pull the ripcord on their marriages. I remember on one occasion that a young married person was the victim of adultery. He told me, “Jesus commands me to get divorced.” I quickly responded regarding his erroneous opinion.
I told the man that Jesus allowed divorce in the case of infidelity; he did not command it. The gospel makes this clear when Jesus specifically states, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives” (Matt. 19:7). This person was in such a hurry to divorce the cheating spouse that he twisted Christ’s statement.