by Tony Nester

Struggling with Divorce
Tony Nester
Matthew 5:31-32; Matthew 19:3-10

(Matthew 5:31-32 NRSV) ''''It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' (32) But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.''

(Matthew 19:3-10 NRSV) ''Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, ''Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?'' (4) He answered, ''Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' (5) and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? (6) So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.'' (7) They said to him, ''Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?'' (8) He said to them, ''It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. (9) And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.'' (10) His disciples said to him, ''If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.''''

Today we return to a series of messages I began months ago on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

We've come to Jesus' words about divorce. The Sermon on the Mount has a short passage on divorce while Matthew 19 has a longer section on the same subject. I'm interpreting the shorter passage in light of the longer one.

I suspect there are few here among us whose marriage or family hasn't been touched by divorce. Mine has. Divorce has slashed away at our parents, our brothers and sisters, our children and our grandchildren.

We struggle with divorce. Divorce confronts us with the mess of broken promises, bad decisions, human stubbornness ...

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