“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Society has become blasé about divorce. Worse, the church — in many corners — has become accepting of it. While there are valid reasons for severing this tie, Jesus gave only one: immorality.
I do not intend to go on a diatribe about divorce. That is not what struck me about this passage. What caught my attention is how prevalent valid divorce could be if we took the word immorality (Greek porneia) at all of its possible values.
Porneia literally means illicit sexual activity. The term encompasses fornication, adultery, homosexuality, beastiality, incest, and any number of other potentially deviant behaviors — including the consumption of pornography, which is linguistically derived directly from the Greek term in question. Considering how many of us tested the waters or sowed wild oats or some such, every single one of those marriages is potentially dissoluble. The persistence of pornography on into marriage and the instance of adultery with which Western society is replete creates a whole other group of marriages that could be legitimately dissolved. Perhaps it is not so much that we have grown accepting of divorce as that our moral compass is so badly off that we understand that most marriages could legitimately be dissolved.
But porneia could go still further. Metaphorically, it is understood to mean idolatry or general unfaithfulness. How many of us men are watching TV shows and movies only for the “eye candy” and being unfaithful in some fashion? How many women are watching TV shows and movies and reading books that scratch that romantic itch that all women seem to have and being unfaithful in some fashion? We have become faithless not only to our God, but to one another.
How many believers, myself included, are being unfaithful to our God? Does He get the best of my time or what is left of my time — does He get first billing or does the TV or a movie or a book or music or anything else? Does He hear from me regularly or rarely — is I spend time trying to maintain my interpersonal relationships, but do I spend equal or greater amounts of time maintaining my relationship with God? Do I give Him all of me or withhold some portion, thinking that He will reject me if He knows me better? In short, am I being devoted to Him or am I being unfaithful? I must examine the deeper recesses of my heart and ask whether or not I am being faithful to my God. I must be faithful to Him first and from that faithfulness will flow all other faithfulness. If I am dedicated to Him then I will also be dedicated to my wife and children. It will flow from the greater (my relationship with God) to the lesser (all other relationships). I must get the first relationship right first or else hobble every other.
Today, let me examine myself and my relationship with God. Let me take the time to talk with Him and bring things out of the shadows where they are wont to hide. Let me expose everything between us to His Light. And, in His Light, let me refuse to make excuses for my failings, but resolve instead to be faithful to Him.