Wednesday, June 22, 2011


In Lutheran circles (and in many other denominations too) we often say that there are times when it's not sinful to get a divorce. We say that a spouse who is abused can divorce without sin. We say that, if someone cheats on his wife, she is not obligated to stay married to him.

This is based on the verse in Matthew 5 where Jesus says, "Anyone who divorces his wife (except for sexual immorality) causes her to commit adultery." Does that mean it is sin-free to divorce a philanderer? Someone pointed out to me that the passage says that the man who divorces his wife causes her to commit adultery ... unless she has already made herself an adulteress by committing sexual immorality. Maybe this passage isn't the exception-to-the-divorce-rule that we think it is. Maybe, instead, it's pointing out how corrupting it is to divorce -- how there's no wiggle-room in excusing ourselves.

When a person is enduring abuse or when illicit affairs have occurred, there is a need for pastoral care. Are the people able to remain married and forgive? Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing we do know. The Lord's bride went a-whoring. She abused Him. And still He loved. Still He sacrificed. Still He gave. Still He remained faithful even when she cheated on Him.

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