When you talk to people about their personal lives and thoughts about life like I do, you learn interesting things. I’ve had a few conversations lately about Leviticus and Deuteronomy, which is generally stretching.
And that’s when we take time to talk about an important–may I say the most important–principle of Bible interpretation and application: we want to read and see Scripture from God’s perspective, not our own.
This is why many individuals, men, and churches fall off the wagon of biblical interpretation with the D word [divorce]. Take a moment to back out of cultural norms, fears, and misconceptions. I’m not promoting anything here except sound biblical thinking, so don’t raise your hackles (yet) or run in fear.
Divorce is the exception.
Marriage is the rule.
God’s focus is marriage: His covenantal relationship with Israel, Christ’s sacrificial love for the church.
Somehow, we’ve lost God in our thoughts and talk about marriage and made it about ourselves (no surprise). One woman said,
“When I don’t know what to do it’s because I don’t know who God is. He’s given us His Word so we can know who He is and what His heart is. If I don’t understand marriage it’s because I don’t understand God. I ‘ve become increasingly aware of what I don’t know–I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong until I know God.”
There is no better, wiser way to think about life than through that lens.
Colossians says that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. He is the manifestation of God. Yet, we struggle with Jesus in regard to marriage, because we don’t have a picture of a literal, physical bride. Correction: we do. We are the Bride.
Here are some “What would Jesus do” questions:
- Would Jesus isolate and confine His bride, disregarding her design and gifting?
- Would Jesus smash wedding cake in his bride’s face?
- Would Jesus withhold resources from his bride?
- Would Jesus use sarcasm in answering his bride?
- Would Jesus make rude gestures and comments about his bride in public?
- Would Jesus block doorways, scream at and belittle those in his care?
I could go on–those are just a few. And we know the answer. No. Why not? Because that is not the way Jesus interacted with His bride while He was here on earth.
He released those in bondage. He spoke gently. He gave generously of not just His resources, but His time and Person. He welcomed people and they came–to receive rest, life, and grace. He was present in each moment. He walked; He did not run. This and so many other instances are pictures of trusting His Father.
Jesus trusted His Father to meet His physical needs. His sexual needs. His social needs. His spiritual needs.
We need to spend a lot more time studying who God is before we make distinctions about what is and what is not “allowed.” When we do, there will be less contention and fear of the “D” word–not because it is or isn’t sinful or does/doesn’t exist, but because we have a clear understanding of how and why God uses it.
And perhaps, when we see God in the middle of it all, we will find it wasn’t worth hurting the people we did.