THAT’S WHAT A READER of mine says she is planning to do.
Close up shop on her second marriage.
She has been married to her second husband for four years.
And she says she now thinks Jesus has given her one of two options:
- Reconcile with her first husband
- Stay unmarried until her first husband dies
That instantly brings to mind two choices the second husband might consider:
- Kill the first husband
- Commit his wife to a 12-Step program for recovering biblical literalists
I know I shouldn’t joke about this tragic decision the lady is making. But what other choices is she giving her second husband?
I blogged about this recently, before I knew what she was planning to do: Remarried, am I committing adultery?
The lady is basing her decision mainly on a one-liner Jesus didn’t make to her, but made to a group of Pharisees who taught that Jewish men could divorce their ladies for any reason.
Jesus responded with what biblical scholars say was the kind of exaggeration he used in the Sermon on the Mount (camel through a needle’s eye, be perfect, poke out your right eye).
Here’s what Jesus said:
“A man who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery” (Luke 16:18, NLT).
So in spite of the fact that God says “I hate divorce” (Malachi 2:16, NLT), the lady says she is going to divorce her second husband and either try to reconcile with her first husband or wait until he dies to remarry.
She says that repenting of her divorce isn’t enough. She has to “turn away from her sin,” which is what she considers the second marriage. For her, the first marriage was the binding covenant. The second marriage is…I don’t know what she thinks it is besides sin. But it’s a covenant as sacred and as binding as the first.
When I suggested that she was taking Jesus’ words out of context by applying them to her situation instead of limiting them to Jesus’ situation with the Pharisees, she told me that the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible, and that all Scripture is God-breathed, and that God never changes.
I took a class in college called “Fallacies in Argument.”
It’s hard to know where to begin with the lady’s reasoning.
Questions that come to mind:
- Where do you get the idea that every word in our Bible was written by the Holy Spirit? And even it if was, what does that have to do with saying Jesus was talking to you?
- The “all Scripture is God-breathed,” wasn’t talking about our Bible. It was Paul writing a letter to Timothy, talking about their Bible: the Old Testament; the Jewish Bible. The Gospel of Luke, which you are using to justify killing your marriage, hadn’t even been written when Paul wrote that.
- What does “God never changes” have to do with hijacking the words of Jesus which he used in one specific situation and applying them to situations he never intended, as far as Luke was concerned?
The lady’s radical misuse of the Bible in such a hurtful way leaves me perplexed.
It’s the kind of thing someone might do if they’re desperately looking for an excuse to get out of a marriage. Use the Bible to justify an unholy action.
It’s hard for me to believe that, in this case.
But it’s even tougher to believe that someone who seems to be so familiar with Scripture could be so unfamiliar with Jesus…to genuinely believe he would condone this.
As if two gut-wrenching wrongs make a right.
Or maybe she worships the Words as she understands them instead of the Person the Words are intended to introduce.
I just don’t know.
But I’m certain that her decision is wrong, despite whatever reason she imagines it right.
Perhaps nothing anyone says is going to turn this lady in a direction toward compassion and healing.
But I do feel compelled to say that the pain she about to cause herself, her second husband, and the rest of her family feels more evil than godly.
Am I wrong about that?
I suspect there is far more to this story than I’ve been told.
Of this much I am certain, two souls need added to the prayer list.