Emails to God – Marriage and Oaths (and a little Thanksgiving) (Matthew 5:31-37)

24 Nov

31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Dear God, I want to take the part on divorce and the part on oaths and put them together. First, I have to say that I am a product of adultery since my father married a divorced woman. I know there was physical abuse involved in my mom’s divorce. I can’t remember if there was sexual immorality on her husband’s part or not. But I know that it is something that, after my dad became a discipling Christian, really kind of stuck with him. Where did he stand in this area? Was this something for which he needed to repent? What about the person who gets an “inappropriate” divorce? Is Jesus simply making the point that they need to be more humble about it and ask your forgiveness?

Anyway, I think it is interesting that Jesus follows the marriage paragraph with the oath paragraph since probably the biggest oath we take as Christians, beyond our oath to follow you, is our oath to our spouses. We even put, “So help me God.” At the end of it. Now, we aren’t going, “I swear by God that I will…,” but we are taking our “vows”. Are we doing something wrong there?

I guess I have always treated the passage on oaths to be that I need to be a person of integrity whose word is not doubted by others. I need to be known as a handshake kind of person. I need to be known as someone who is true to his “yes” and his “no”.

Father, it is Thanksgiving Day, and I thank you for more blessings than I can count. My tendency is to look at the frustrations in my life and dwell on how my life can be better, but the truth is that I don’t deserve a better life. I deserve less than what you have already given me. I heard Rich Mullins say once that we all have it better than we deserve. That is true. So I thank you on this Thanksgiving Day. I thank you for my wife, my children, my job, my parents, and all of the normal things. But I also want to thank you for peace. Thank you for joy. Thank you for patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control (Galatians 5:17). I appreciate that you care enough to develop fruit in us as we pursue you. So help me to be faithful to my wife, be a man of truth, and to bear the fruit of your love for me.

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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Matthew


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