Friday 2 October 2015

Mark 10, v 2/12
This passage looks at the question of divorce, and considers marriage, and by marriage we mean according to the Bible
Jesus is making His way through Judea and is on His final journey to Jerusalem. The Pharisees are set to test Jesus and suggest He is an opponent of the Law given by Moses. They went in order to catch him saying something which would allow them to put him to death. Divorce was a crucial question and a hot topic for Jews.

There were two views held by the Jewish leaders, one claimed that only in the case of adultery could a divorce be authorised, and this was what Jesus stated in Matthew’s gospel. An alternative view based on a passage in Deuteronomy claimed a man, (but not a woman) could divorce his wife if she displeased him; which could in effect be for the most trivial of reasons.
The Pharisees wanted Jesus to make a decision between the two. He replied, ‘It was because men's hearts were hardened that Moses allowed divorce.’ Jesus is explaining the reason why Moses granted divorce possible, but without justifying the decision. He was in fact publicly exposing the situation prevailing in which women were being harshly treated in a manner which rated them more as an article than a person.

Divorce is of course high in this country at the present time, due often due to couples not thinking things through, and too often not knowing properly the person they are (supposed) to be committing their life to. Now rather than being till death do us part, it is till we get fed up with each other. People are rushing into marriage on a wave of emotion, especially when they can get married in public places in bizarre ceremonies.

Divorce is a sad and unpleasant thing when two people who once loved and had affection for each other can turn into bitter opponents with feelings bordering on hatred. This pervades whole families as they have to look on, usually helpless to assist. We even see children being taken by a parent and killed to avoid the other partner having custody, and cause lifelong hurt.

Jesus went on to state that God made two people, man and woman, Adam and Eve. From the beginning of creation, God made them to be distinct and different; two recognizable sexes. He made them male and female, biologically and psychologically different one from the other. This takes us right back to the dawn of creation, the very beginning of the human race.

So we have two people, equal yet different, no question of superiority or inferiority. They were not meant to be identical, men are generally stronger physically, more aggressive, with a greater propensity for leadership, women softer and sensitive and caring, specially equipped to be mothers, and usually live longer.

Men think and feel differently than women. In the film ‘my fair lady’ Rex Harrison playing a professor of phonetics asks ‘why can’t a woman be like a man’, the answer is because she wasn’t created to be. We are a mixture that complements one another.
We must accept that God knows best and when he wanted man to have a companion He made a woman as the perfect answer, someone who could complement man in every way, physically and mentally in a way other men could not, and men throughout the ages have appreciated and recognised this. God wanted to supply what was lacking in man’s life and together they could have children and create the ideal family. He made men and women to have a natural attraction, opposites attracting. God planned the human heart to love, marry and have children. Most men if honest would concede how their wife has been of much help.

The Bible states a man should leave his parents and cleave to his wife. Cleave means glued together, so the two should grow in love through the years in an exclusive commitment. As they do so they share likes and dislikes, and whilst they will have different strengths and weaknesses, each will help the other. They will find they can know the other’s feelings and often anticipate what the other is thinking. They need to trust each other and have no secrets. The wife is now the one in the man’s life who takes precedence over all others.

When two people appear together at Church for the wedding service, they pledge their faithfulness to each other and there is the giving of a ring(s). The ring has no break, no ending, signifying unending love. The ring is made of gold, precious and for longevity. This is what God intended.

Having become one they were not to look for sexual pleasure elsewhere. Marriage was meant to be for life, but now is under attack as never before and not seen as a lifelong commitment, divorce is easy and generally taken as acceptable. Jesus laid strictness on marriage but ruled divorce out. In Britain we have one of the lowest marriage rates in Europe but the highest number of divorces.

Marriage is the bedrock of society yet now long held beliefs are being challenged. Marriage lends stability to society and builds a framework which is held in high esteem. It is one of the most important aspects of our culture. Jesus highly valued marriage and performed His first miracle at a wedding.

We have now reached the stage where the whole of God’s original plan for men and women has been widely abandoned. Just as in the days of Malachi described in the Old Testament, there is a spiritual decline with people forsaking God, and an alarming breakdown in family life.

God intended men and women should have children, which means having a father and mother. Children need both for a balanced upbringing and to receive the benefit of both characters in their lives. Family meant husband, wife and children. This is the ideal which cannot be attained by two people of the same sex.

This takes away such things as same sex marriages, which prevail in society today. Politicians have now tried to replace God with their own discredited plans and decided to redefine marriage on the spurious grounds of supposed equality. People can be perfectly equal without being the same; God did this at the time of creation when he made both man and woman equal in His sight, but for different purposes. Politicians are for ever trying to force an agenda whereby men and women are not to be recognised as being different

God created us different so children could be brought into the world, something same sex couples cannot do. Civil partnerships provided all the legal provision for people who wish to live together, and that is a matter for choice, which we all accept is a personal decision.

It is quite impossible for Christians to support same sex marriage when it is recognised that this was not God intended, as numerous Biblical passages spell out. Yet apostate Bishops tell we should support such unions and state we must view with a mix of bible, tradition and reasoned experience. They are obviously rather theologically confused.

The Bible is unequivocal that marriage is heterosexual; tradition is that marriage is solely man and woman; and reasoned experience has proved that marriage creates a stable structure and is the bedrock of society.

Politicians have caused untold hardship to many abandoned children by their stubborn insistence not only on giving two same sex people the right to adopt children, but making it illegal for Adoption bodies to refuse adoption by same sex couples. Such action resulted in Catholic Adoption agencies, which did such fine work, being forced to close down because they found it unable to reconcile such servile policy contrary to their Christian belief. Such is the government’s idea of democracy and freedom of conscience.

Divorce is a violation of God's intention for marriage. But God is a God mercy and grace. There is forgiveness when one partner in the marriage is subject to unbearable violence, either physically or verbally. Lessons can be learned which enable a man or woman to find the love God intended with someone who is able to provide such love.

I close with the words used by the more distinguished Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster in a pastoral letter, ‘‘we have a duty to married people today, and to those who come after us, to do all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for ever.


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