Posted by: richard | 21 November, 2007

Relationships: Protecting the Precious (2/2)

Our group discussion last Monday on the issues of lust, adultery and divorce (Matt 5:27-32) was productive- thanks to all. For me, the major themes that we discussed were fourfold:

Firstly, that love, faithfulness and commitment as demonstrated through lifelong marriages (in good times and bad) is very good news for us and our world. Part of being salt and light is living this out and sticking at our marriages in so far as is depends on us…

…but (and this the second point) sometimes marriages are broken by the other party, through extreme events (adultery is the scriptural example, but we suggested that this might also apply to domestic violence, etc.). In those cases, grace and forgiveness may be an option, but so may divorce and (potentially) re-marriage. This logic was supported by the fact that idea of divorce is strongly linked to the possibility of remarriage; and by the fact that we know that widows could remarry, so there isn’t a prohibition against multiple marriages in the course of one’s life per se.

The third point is related to how to keep marriages strong. Lust is a de-humanising, all-consuming force that we will be tempted by, but if we dwell on it it will pollute our very being and contaminate our marriages and our relationships with others, with our very selves, and with God. Giving into lust is so damaging but so insidious that Jesus says we would be better off stopping it by cutting off hands and eyes if that would help. We all need God’s help in this area.

The fourth point is around how to communicate our values to others who might not share them. Words can be cheap, and the best demonstration of the advantages of faithfulness, love and commitment is living them out. When words are needed, and when we are faced with people in difficult relationships, we need to offer grace and tenderness; and help people realise when (i) the relationship has been permanently broken by the other party, and when (ii) there is still hope that faithness and commitment can help them get through the current situation.

Is that a reasonable summary? Feel free to comment and expand/correct this below.

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