Pastoral Relief and Retreat

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Wethersfield, CT, United States
I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January 12, 2009 Lust and Divorce

READ: Matthew 5:27-32
27 “You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.
28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.
30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

31 “It was also said, Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.
32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

There is a common root between lust and divorce. Both are motivated by selfishness. Well, I suppose all sin is motivated by selfishness. But the particular kind of selfishness these two sins are rooted in is called adultery. To make a terrible pun, there isn't anything adult about it at all. Adultery is what happens when a person hasn't learned how to be faithful to another. In our adolescence this is what we see all the time in friendships. We want to hang out with one friend one day and another friend about 10 minutes later. But we don't want to "hurt" the first friend, so we make up some excuse why we're busy and move on. We weren't really busy, we were just done with our friend and expected them to wait around until we came back.

As we get older our lust takes on this same quality if we will let it. We are taken up in one sexual relationship after another in our late teens and early 20s... at least, that's what the modern age would have us do. It isn't wrong they say. it is just that kind of learning everyone has to do on the way to maturity. But let's call a spade a spade. You want what you want when you want it and if it isn't yours to have, you'll simply take it. That's what lust is.

Finally, in marriage adultery finds its fullest expression when our spouse isn't enough to satisfy our sexual urges and we go looking for release somewhere beyond the covenant we made. But let's be honest about adultery: it isn't just having sex... or perhaps it isn't even primarily the physical thing we are doing that is the unfaithfulness. Our adultery can easily be with so many "others". It may be your career that draws you away from your spouse. It may be something as innocent as some sport or club or activity that, in-and-of itself is good. But if it draws you away from your commitment to your husband or wife, for you it is sin. Ask anyone who has been in "the ministry" for 10 or 15 years. They'll tell you what a threat the desire to be loved and needed by others can be to the covenant of marriage. The worst is when we let our commitment to the church outweigh the love we spoke of at the altar. That is an adultery deserving of divorce!

Let's get our priorities straight, beloved! There are times when honoring God means you don't go to church. Most of the time, the best thing you can do for your marriage is to engage with your spouse IN your relationship with God, wherever and however the opportunity arises.

Jon

1 comment:

curmudgeon christian said...

It does take two to tango and adultery, at least in this instance is about sex. And lets face it, Christians have weird views about sex. Even more, church society and Christian woman in particular put the expectation standard so high that men are bound to fail, especially when the other party refuses to put out. Not to be crude but if a husband doesn't have a place where he feels at home and is accepted, he'll just go and find it somewhere else be it in sex or some other pursuit. The Church does it to themselves so it isn't any wonder that the divorce rate is slightly higher then the national average. Usually both parties end in divorce because they are not honest about what they think about what they want and how they regard one another. Lies beget lies which opens the does for more obvious sins. The starting point is God and flows from there. Marriage means giving one up for the other which means that at least for the woman, they should stop being prudes and guys should remember to keep it in their pants sometimes.