Staying married in today’s society is tough. Let’s just be honest for a minute. Everything from tv and movies to the books and magazines we read tell us that we should be happy at any cost. Marriage is viewed as temporary, something that we just move on from as soon as it quits providing us the happiness we desire. Families are split apart, lives are forever changed, and in the process we still don’t find the happiness we are longing for. I believe the Bible has a better plan for marriage, and it means that we that we have to desire Holiness more than happiness.
Too many times we look to our spouse to fill needs in our life that only God can fill. If we would just focus on seeking God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, I think we would be amazed at how our marriages would be strengthened. When we put God first, suddenly our selfish desires don’t seem so important. In church, I shared a “twitter” quote from Rick Warren, and I think he is accurate in his assessment.
I can summarize 35 yrs of pastoral marriage counseling in 2 words: GROW UP. James 4:1-2, Prov.13:10.Selfishness is the root
— Rick Warren (@RickWarren) April 9, 2010
If we would just grow up and think about the needs of our spouse before our own, most conflict in marriage would disappear. At Cornerstone this past weekend, we talked about the importance of the vows we make during our wedding. Do you ever stop and think about your vows? Before you argue, before you get angry, before you say or do something that you will regret, think about the vows you made.
I take you to be my lawfully wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
In Matthew 5:31-32 and Matthew 19:3-11 we see Jesus address the seriousness of marriage vows. In Malachi 2:13-16 NLT we see God’s heart towards divorce. Throughout scripture we see that covenants are made to be kept, not broken. I think the American church has done a poor job at helping people understand the commitment they are making, and they have also done a poor job at helping people stay married. Because of that, we see two huge problems within the church.
The first problem is that divorce is too rampant. We see people separating and divorcing over minor problems within their marriage, and the church does nothing to discourage it. The second problem is that those who have been divorced have been outcast from church. It seems as if divorce is the one sin that is unforgivable. As a church, I want everyone to realize the seriousness of the vows they have made, and that divorce is a last resort only when vows have been broken and the spouse is unrepentant. However, for those that have experienced the heartbreak and pain of divorce, I want them to know that they can experience the grace of Jesus Christ. Do everything you can to be reconciled, but if reconciliation is not possible, then know that you don’t have to live a life of guilt and shame. Please read this post to find out how you can move forward in your faith after divorce.
If you missed our service, you can watch the entire sermon online. I closed the service by showing this video from Newspring. I appreciate them allowing us to download and share the video. It is powerful and it shows how God can heal any marriage, even after divorce.