"…because of the hardness of your heart…" Mark 10:5
With receptive hearts and heightened attention the crowds had gathered to listen to Jesus teach. There, standing with the masses were the Pharisees who had come armed to verbally attack Jesus. They had argued with Him about every other subject and He had always won. However, saving this most divisive subject until last, they knew that divorce would split and confuse the listeners.
In that crowd, as in any church, there were people with problem marriages, people who loved someone other than their spouse and people whose emotions and hearts had been so mangled by the past they felt they could never trust another again. The feelings of guilt, judgment and condemnation were lurking beneath the surface.
In every congregation there exist many dimensions of divorce including divorced people living together in marriage. The divorce may be spiritual, intellectual, volitional, or physical. Nonetheless, recognizing these various separations in marriage should make people tender in judgment.
Too often sentimental rationalization from Christians produces cheap grace which hinders real healing. There's seldom space provided for cleansing, confession and contrition so hurting people remain imprisoned in remorse. No matter the circumstances surrounding the split, there must be the willingness to admit the root issues leading to the breakdown. The wound must be washed. Often we are quick to sew up the gaping gash before the cause has been recognized, repented and removed. Ministry begins with confession, then allowing Gods’ grace through the cross to do its full healing.
Those sitting in churches sorting through the ruble of a marriage gone bad need the people of God. It's the community of faith that ministers a message of hope and love to the broken. Remember any unwillingness to deal graciously with human failure is a telltale sign of unforgiven regions in our own heart. Many times people who are the most severe in their treatment of divorcees are those who have unconfessed sin burning in the cauldrons of their secret memories. We all need the ministry of Jesus.
Have you confessed your issues to Christ and asked Him for a new life? Have you shown Christ’s love to those who have been divorced, allowing them freedom to admit hurt and remorse and to find a place to begin again?