Skip to comments.Does God Expect Me to Stay Married to a Jerk?
Posted on 09/22/2009 7:29:33 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Years ago, a family therapist was asked, What are the top three causes of divorce? to which he replied, Selfishness, selfishness, selfishness! Of course this is an oversimplification of the varied and many contributing factors to divorce but there is an element of truth in this statement that permeates each.
At the core of all that ails the human race is selfishness: this innate love of self-self-worship-or pride. We alienate ourselves from one another when we elevate our desires, our opinions, and our feelings above others. We cheat and steal because we want, we lie and deceive because we give priority to our self-interests, we murder-in actuality or with words-because our puny sense of supremacy is threatened. This is the very sin that separates us from God: our love of self over and against the Father. In short, we are deplorably selfish beings consumed with satisfying our own appetites and desires, often without regard for anyone else.
This is the dreadful state in which the Lord finds us-and despite our active resistance to his rightful rule in our hearts, our thoughts, and actions, he lovingly subdues our rebellious pride with his grace and mercy. He saves us from eternal alienation that our stubborn resistance brings! The old man, so infatuated with himself, is crucified and buried with Christ; we are raised to a new life in Christ (see Romans 6:4). However, this new life doesnt just happen. Our will, which was once in bondage to sin, has been freed to pursue godliness in obedience to Christ through faith. Paul, writing to the church at Ephesus, tells us that we are to be taught to cast away our old self and to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:2224, NIV). C. S. Lewis summed it up in saying, To become new men means losing what we now call ourselves (Mere Christianity).
The clearest clue to what this new self looks like is given in Pauls letter to the Philippians when he writes, Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness (Philippians 2:57, NIV). This is a radical departure from our selfish nature into one that denies self even in the face of offense. This same nature is, of course, the foundation for marriage-but also all relationships.
In Ephesians, Paul lays out the foundation of marriage as being rooted in a mutual love and submission, Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord and Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:22, 25, NIV). Notice also that Paul begins this chapter with the charge to Be imitators of God, another reference to the disposition described in Philippians chapter two. Later in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul compares this joining of two people into one flesh to that of Christ and his bride, the church (see Ephesians 5:32). Thus marriage-this profound mystery, according to Paul-transcends anything resembling a mere contractual obligation. Nor is marriage simply a self-serving means to personal happiness; Christian couples should strive for and display this self-denying disposition.
Another aspect that should govern Christian marriage is the doctrine of Gods sovereignty.
Do we believe that when we suffer, we suffer outside the will of God, or do we believe that God allows suffering to enter our lives for his good purpose? Isnt there the expectation that we, too, will share in the sufferings of Christ, that we must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22, NKJV)? While we do not eagerly seek to suffer, dont we believe that suffering bears sweet fruit nourished by bitter tears and that such fruit is nothing less than holy character (see Romans 5:24)? If we believe that God in his providence causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose(Romans 8:28, NLT), then wouldnt it be reasonable to conclude that such suffering may also come in the form of a troubled marriage?
That being the case, wouldnt we be expected to persevere rather than seek escape, trusting God for both endurance and the outcome? It is here-in the domain of our so-called domestic happiness-that we may be tempted to draw a boundary, saying, in essence, Lord, you may come this far but no farther. It is often in this context that the old self returns in an effort to assert his rights: I need, I want, I deserve! However, the Christian is compelled to lay down these rights and instead trust in God, believing that his grace is indeed sufficient in all things including an oppressive and loveless marriage. It is here that the Christian patiently endures, trusting the Lord for the grace to do so, and hopes for a future where God may be pleased to set things right.
Please do not think I am suggesting that the person suffering physical abuse remain in a situation whereby he or she is subjected to physical harm. I am not! However, that is a topic for another time, as I am presently addressing divorce for no other reason than the failure to achieve personal happiness. This is where we Christians either begin to differ from the world or remain worldly. The Christian life does not culminate in a quest to be happy but to be holy!
If our attitude is to be the same as that of Christ Jesus, then consider how Jesus responds to his frequently unfaithful bride, the church. Every one of us has, at some point, been unfaithful to Christ; we have wantonly rebelled against him, we have been indifferent, even abusive in our disregard toward him. We have all failed to love him at times and we constantly put our needs ahead of his. And yet Jesus never says to us, Thats it, Ive had it! I will not take this abuse anymore; you are selfish and uncaring; you dont love me or make me feel special, so I am out of here! Can you imagine these words coming out of the Saviors mouth? Never!
So it is to be with us. For those poor souls who walk in darkness, there is no chance of assuming the self-denying character of Christ; but for those whom Christ has made alive, there is the all-sufficient well of grace. It is to Christ that the Christ-follower must go with his irreconcilable differences, not to the courts. It is only Christ who reconciles the unrighteous with the righteous and it is Christ that can reconcile husband and wife.
The question for the church is this: Will we truly trust him in all things, including while we suffer marital maelstroms? Will we follow Christ when it is most difficult? If we wont, then not only will we fail in our witness, we will never know the freedom of living by faith. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________
S. Michael Craven is the President of the Center for Christ & Culture. Michael is the author of Uncompromised Faith: Overcoming Our Culturalized Christianity (Navpress). Michael's ministry is dedicated to renewal within the Church and works to equip Christians with an intelligent and thoroughly Christian approach to matters of culture in order to demonstrate the relevance of Christianity to all of life. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, visit: www.battlefortruth.org. Michael lives in the Dallas area with his wife Carol and their three children.
NOPE - but you gotta forgive him/her.
Does the poster really think any human knows what God expects, or just what someone may think God expects?
I think you mean "does God expect me to continue to live with a jerk"?
You will always be married to him, irrespective of what the judge says.
People have been claiming to know the will of $DEITY for many millennia, and lots of people have believed their claims. Today appears to be no different.
A simple rejoinder ...
You are with some boyscouts in canoes approaching a waterfall, and one containing three boys - one is your son — turns over. Two cling to the canoe and your son is alone in the water.
Who do you save?
Correct answer is you save your son.
Your future grief will be over losing two, whereas your future happiness will radiate among others, including your own self.
I invite anyone who is against divorce to spend a week with my ex wife.
She’ll make a believer out of you.
The correct answer is: Don’t marry a jerk in the first place.
This article doesn’t quote the OT Law, where God makes allowance for divorce. That wasn’t because divorce is a goal we should seek, but because there ARE times when divorce is appropriate.
If one person is working to destroy the other, and will not agree to counseling, then the other needs to escape. If one makes the mistake of marrying a psycho-bitch (as my son did), then the right answer is not to stay with her and have kids!
God has told us what He expects of us time and time again.
Yes there are times when a divorce is appropriate and I believe God knows that.
God Himself is divorced.
One simply cannot study a NIV or NASB or NKJV or any other of these new-fangled versions and expect to find truth.The best study tools available are geared to the KJV.
Divorce is a sin, but Christ Jesus offered us a new start, a sort of resurrection every time we repent.
In twenty years of counseling, I can tell you that God does not expect His children to live in turmoil in a house divided.
Anybody doubt that look at your spouse now vs when you got married.
What do you mean by this statement?
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