DAILY DEVOTION: DAY 202
“He [Jesus] saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8, KJV).
Divorce is man-made. No matter how desperately people fish for Bible verses to support divorce (and remarriage), one thing is clear: God created marriage; we created divorce and its attending consequences. In certain places around the world, especially in the West, a multi-million dollar industry – backed by the legal system – has been built around divorce. While many key players profit from the system, precious lives are torn apart and children are left confused. Today – more than ever- we need to listen to what Jesus has to say about the subject and heed His voice.
Every problem has symptoms, the root cause and the solution. If you can identify the root of a problem, you are close to finding the antidote. Jesus came into the world – not to save us from symptoms– but to save us from the root of our problems, i.e. sin. In today’s Bible passage, some Pharisees come to Jesus with a question on divorce. They claim justification for divorce based on Moses’ command.
But Jesus has a surprise for them. He says that Moses permitted them to divorce their wives because of the hardness of their hearts. He then adds, “but from the beginning it was not so.” Jesus was at the beginning when marriage was created. Divorce wasn’t part of the Father’s original plan. God hasn’t changed, but we have changed. Jesus identifies hardness of heart as the root cause of divorce. What is hardness of heart? It simply means a heart which opposes the law of God. All moral evils can be traced to the human heart (cf. Mark 7:20-23). And it is a well known fact that some people enter marriage with ungodly motives, thereby setting the stage for potential problems later in the relationship.
A heart that is not governed by God is more likely to trigger divorce. Jesus calls us to repentance for a reason. Repentance leads to purity of heart. A converted, Spirit-filled heart will not create the conditions which trigger divorce: abuse, manipulation, infidelity, lying, deceiving, scheming, anger, unforgiveness, selfishness, greed, laziness, the games-playing, etc. While we’re busy creating new programs to promote healthy marriages, attending conferences and seminars, and writing books on the subject (and these things can be helpful), Jesus is pointing us to the heart.
Jesus looks beyond symptoms. The heart – that is where everything happens. A good heart – a heart given over to the Lord – is the answer to divorce. When we address marriage issues, especially among Christian couples or those preparing for marriage, it is imperative to address the heart and call people to repentance.
To sum up, Jesus’ message to us about divorce is this: Change the heart, enjoy marriage.
May the peace of Christ reign in your heart today. Amen.
For further study: Ephesians 4:17-32