"Till Five Years Us Do Part. . . . "
June 11, 2009
They said to Him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?" He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so." Matthew 19:7-8
Next year Pam and I will be married 40 years.
Those years together, as is true for every marriage, have been marked by good times and bad, happy times and sad, some unbelievable ups and some deep, depressing downs.
The fact that we remain together is due to the Lord's grace, the love of a wonderful woman, the support of those around us, and the knowledge divorce was never an option.
But suppose, just suppose our marriage didn't have those supports. That's the question being asked by Australia's Helen Goltz, who believes lifelong marriages are becoming a "thing of the past."
And what does Helen propose? Helen suggests that since we have fixed-term contracts for buying property, cars, and insurance, we ought to try the same in marriage. Helen thinks couples ought to try a five-year renewable marriage contract. That way, if someone isn't happy, he or she just moves on. If you like your situation, then you renew the contract.
Sound strange? I imagine it does, but I wouldn't be surprised if in a few years from now someone comes forward and seriously proposes the idea. No, I won't be surprised in the least.
After all, Jesus wasn't surprised when some Pharisees spoke to Him of how Moses allowed easy divorces. Jesus wasn't surprised, but He wasn't impressed, either. On that day Jesus stood up for marriage, and God's idea of a man and a woman in a voluntary, lifelong union. His message to them was that Moses allowed this because of the hardness of their hearts, not because it was right or because it was what God intended.
It's a good answer which can be applied to other situations. Indeed, every time the world advocates Scripture be set aside and replaced by a new morality or no morality at all, we who have been redeemed by Jesus' blood can say, "That idea was born in a hardened heart and not from God's will. What you are proposing is not the way God would have His people walk."
And although saying such a thing might not make us many new friends, at least they would know where we stand -- on the side of the Lord whose love is shown on the cross and not in a fixed-term contract.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, have You noticed that commitment is being replaced by convenience? I give thanks it was not that way with Jesus. In spite of rejection and inconvenience, He remained committed to my salvation. Now, may my life be committed to Him. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries