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You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free

Renette Vermeulen

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FORNICATION, ADULTERY, VIOLENCE, AS WELL AS OTHER TYPES OF DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR DO JUSTIFY THE DREADFUL CHOICE OF DIVORCE   BUT WITH SEVERE CONSEQUENCES

All the rabbinical laws and references to marriage and divorce I could find in the Old Testament were structured by the Hebrew teachers to shift the failure of marriage and it’s consequences onto women, while vindicating men to fornicate, divorce, and even force women and children into sex slavery as they choose.  No wonder Jesus firmly withstood the Pharisees on the matter of divorce for any reason.  In  Mt. 19:3-10, He reminded them that “in the beginning it was not so.”  The scribers changed God’s Creation Principles, the marriage covenant, and the Moral law to make them into grandiose, ruling patriarchs, who can supposedly sin as they choose, (Mark 7:13.)  As unchallenged religious patriarchs, they even changed God’s laws so that the man allegedly has the right to claim the wife and children, (small and young boys and girls,) of his slave, and if the husband-slave protested, he was forced into slavery for the rest of his life, (Ex. 21:4-6.)  Men could take female captives as sex slaves and supposedly ‘marry’ them by ‘going into them’ - and then, “if they have no delight in them, [they could simply chase them away,]” (Deut. 21:10-14.) 

What happened to God’s indissolvable marriage covenant while the rabbis of the Old Testament presumed positions, authority, and rule over women and children, which God never sanctioned? (Mal. 2:13-17; Gen. 1:27-28; 2:18-24.)  Just as church clergy and other ungodly people still do, they simply did with God’s Moral Law and True Word as they pleased. 

A man was also at liberty to sell his young daughter as a sex slave, (v. 7-9.) What’s more, the man did not need a “letter of divorce” to take whomever he chose as his harlot, [the fornicating man is also a harlot,] or co-called “wife.” 

In violation of God’s Law, only women who adulterated received the death penalty, not men, (Lev. 20:10-27.)  As if the marriage covenant applied to women only, married and single men could heap up as many sex-slaves, concubines or ‘wives’ as they could afford.  To get rid of his wife by covenant at any whim, (or  his concubines and other prostitutes,) all he needed to do was to write them a “letter of divorce” — mostly without the acknowledgement that they are free to marry again.  For example, the entire passage in Exodus 21, where ‘masters’ can push ‘slaves,’ (either their wives, sex-slaves, or concubines,) into ‘divorce’ by “diminishing their food, clothing, and marriage rights,“ [as if he can really keep more than one woman satisfied, the poor deluded stud,] could only result in the women leaving him if he consented to give them “a letter of divorce.”  But even then, the women left without any compensation whatsoever.  Abraham’s treatment of Hagar and his son Ishmael is a classic example of such heartless treatment of women.  Deut. 24:1, “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes… he can write her a certificate of divorce... and send her out of his house.” 

Ž Yet, in Mt. 5:27-32, Jesus condemned all this ‘legal’ prostitution and other abuse of women by commanding that even if a married man lusts in his heart after another woman he is committing spiritual adultery, and vice versa, of course.  “And whoever divorces his wife [or the wife her husband] for any reason except for sexual immorality causes her [or him] to commit adultery [should he or she marry again.]  And whoever marries a divorcee commits adultery.”  Jesus said marriage is indeed ‘sacred and binding’ — except in death and adultery, (1 Cor. 7:15.) 

 

Jesus made it plain that it is a lie that ‘some vows were made to be broken.’  Still, some people think not all marriages were blessed by God because they ended with the bad fruits, which came from wrong choices and immoral behavior.  It is not that God did not bless the marriage, but that unrepentant people do with their marriage partners as they choose.  God, Who gave us the great gift of free will, will not stop our ruthless choices, although He will warn us against them through His Moral Law, which is written on our hearts, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, (Rom. 2:14-15; Jn. 16:9-11.) 

Yet, once we made our choices and sealed them with a solemn promise like in the marriage covenant, we must remember that God stated in Eccl. 5:4-7, “When you make a vow to God, [or to someone else, as far as it depends on you...] pay what you have vowed - better not to vow than not to pay. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin.  Nor say before the messenger of God [the minister or magistrate] that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands…  Fear God.” 

Ž Sadly, billions of people suffer innocently because we humans are not responsible for, and can also never control, change, or stop the corrupt and unrepentant choices of marriage partners, parents, family, friends, or anyone else — and their failure to pay their vows to God and to other people, (Eccl. 5:4-7.) 

Still, as the Old Testament rabbis and New Testament church clergy demonstrated, man usually does with God’s Word whatever he chooses, (Mark 7:13.)  For example, I know of an older woman, who, without considering her two young children, divorced her husband to marry his youngest brother.  The two are allegedly “very happy together” and she states that it was “a wise move.  Her first marriage was not God’s will, because she was unhappy with the older brother.”  Yet, what this woman and her husband’s baby brother committed through fornication, adultery, and divorce, was incest, according to God’s Word, (Lev. 18:16; 20:21.) Do not let the Scripture-twisting rabbis of the Old Covenant fool us.  What Old Jacob did by supposedly “marrying” both Lea and her sister Rachael was adultery, polygamy, and incest.  Immorality came from the fall in Eden, not from God, (Lev. 18:24-30; Genesis Chapters 29-30; Lev. 18:18.)  As Jesus commanded, His original creation principles must always govern marriage and divorce, other relationships, and the secular duties of both genders in the world and in the ecclesia, (Mt. 19:1-10; Gen. 1:27-28; Acts 2:17-18.) 

Ž No marriage is “a bed of roses.”  All marriage partners have personality and background issues to deal with on their way forward.  The wise advise of Prov. 27:17, “[As] iron sharpens iron, [so] the [character of] one man sharpens the [character] of [another,]” does not speak of an idyllic life together.  It is an allegory of conflict, hardship, and differences being “smoothed out” between two people through the aggravating, painful process called “life,” (Mt. 18:15-20.)  Someone commented, “This phrase means, wise people should be questioning, encouraging, coaching, and challenging, [supporting, and teaching] each other [to grow together emotionally and spiritually to truly become “one in mind and Spirit” in Christ.]”      

On the other hand, the hateful, murderous sin of non-stop abuse was never sanctioned by God, (1 Jn. 3:15.)  Especially the clever narcissists, who think they are entitled to stealthily torture their victims ‘until death do them part,’ has no ‘right’ to play psychological mind games  or assault defenceless children, (which is not ‘discipline’ but cruel attacks,) women, powerless men, or animals.  When the spiritual, emotional, and physical lives of spouses (and children) are on the line, abused spouses must leave no stone unturned to get help as soon as possible.  If abusing spouses remain unrepentant, there is only one way to deal with them.  Jesus commanded in the context of remorseless abuse such as adultery, anything or anyone that “cause [victims] to stumble... must be “plucked out, [or rejected] and cast [away]…” [so that victims can survive emotionally, spiritually, and even physically,]”  (Mt. 5:27-37.) 

Ž Yet, even for the murderous crime of adultery, divorce is not mandatory.  (Abuse is hatred and emotional murder.)   No one can force the abused spouse to choose divorce above restoration — if that is at all viable.  And forgiveness does not mean that sincere repentance can be excluded from the deal.  But in the case where torturers exhibit narcissistic traits, the Godly gift of forgiveness and the tears and promises of such abusers mean absolutely nothing — except in fulfilling the narcissistic purpose of getting a greater hold on victims.  So, to divorce or not to divorce is always a personal decision.  Still, it is a fact that peace through forgiveness of serial adultery is rarely obtainable, as reconciliation is  always a two-way street.  Although we influence one another in a thousand ways, we are not responsible for the unrepentant choices of other people, (Ezk. 18:19-24.)  It is impossible to change people without their consent.  Not even God forces people to change.  He does not want slaves but loving children.  Redemption, salvation, blessing, and spiritual and emotional growth in Christ is always a personal choice.  So, if unrepentant people refuse to let go of their demons, innocent spouses should let go of them for the sake of their own eternal lives, and the emotional and physical safety of all those involved.  Abuse, left untreated God’s Way, is always an escalating process, (1 Cor. 7:13-16; Mt. 18:15:20.) 

 

THE UNAVOIDABLE CONSEQUENCES OF DIVORCE — AND DIVORCING UNBELIEVING SPOUSES

Where Paul gave advise on marriage and divorce in 1 Corinthians Chapter 7, the Old Testament misogynist view that the husband does not really need to keep his marriage vows while the wife is compelled to comply, is greatly diminished.  What troubles me in this passage, (1 Cor. 7:1-2; 8-9,) is that, firstly, if one does not view it in context, it seems as if Paul advocates celibacy above marriage.  But what he probably means by “it is good for a man not to touch a woman,” is that it is good for singles to rather remain celibate than to fornicate, (1 Cor. 6:15-20.)  Secondly, in this chapter, Paul embroiders on what Jesus commanded concerning divorce for ‘other reasons than sexual immorality.’  He states, “I command, not the Lord...” (1 Cor. 7:12-16.)   We must not depart from what Jesus taught on His Creation Principles concerning marriage, (1 Cor. 7:10-11; Mt. 19:1-10; 5:31-32,) while we consider what Paul said in this passage. 

Paul took the time to analyse the dilemma of one spouse coming to Christ while the other spouse refuses to surrender to Jesus, (1 Cor. 7:12-16.)  The hardest thing Godly spouses can be faced with, (except for adultery, fornication, drug and alcohol addiction, violence, etcetera,) is to “be unequally yoked” with unbelieving spouses — which can be the same thing, as unbelievers, just as false believers, usually do not adhere to God’s moral laws, (2 Cor. 6:14.)  Hence, believers, when considering marriage, must be very careful in choosing spouses.  What Paul was talking about here, is the dilemma when Jesus enters a home some time after marriage.  Still, we can accept that Paul was speaking about remaining unequally yoked to unbelieving spouses who live morally clean lives, when he commanded believing spouses not to “divorce their unbelieving spouses,” (1 Cor. 7:12.) 

In God’ infinite grace, He has made provision for a believing spouse to continue with the marriage covenant when other [morally good but unsaved] spouses persistently choose to reject Jesus and the truth of His Word, (1 Cor. 7:14.)  So, Paul wrote, (and this makes sense on a mental level,) “If unbelieving [spouses] choose to live with believing [spouses,]” and not the other way round, there is no real reason for believers to call for divorce. “For unbelieving spouses are sanctified, [made spiritually clean not saved] by believing spouses…  [Remember that adultery does not quality unbelievers to live with believers, unless believers choose to forgive the adulterers, who then repent of all fornication —  which is highly unlikely.]

Ž “But if unbelievers depart let them depart, (1 Cor. 7:15-16.)  Believing spouses are not under bondage [to the marriage covenant in the case of desertion.]  But God has called us to peace.  [Let us do our part to save the marriage.]  For how to you know, [Godly spouses,] that you will save [your ungodly spouses?]”  Nonetheless, do not live on false hope and promises with unbelievers or false believers, who depart now because they might never accept and follow Jesus,  (1 Cor. 7:12-16.) 

Ž It seems that, according to Paul, (remember he stated it is him speaking here not Jesus, 1 Cor. 7:10,) in addition the death of spouses, adultery, and fornication, the desertion of unbelieving spouses also completely nullifies the marriage covenant so that the innocent spouses may marry again.  It seems logic because, how can a marriage continue if one spouse simply rejects the other spouse, and deserts him or her, and their family?  (1 Cor. 7:15-16.) 

Still, it seems that marriage is to binding that being yoked to bad people, who do not repent from life-destroying sins, (talking about destructive sins other than adultery or sexual fornication, and as Paul added here, desertion,) actually chains Godly spouses to “stinking, dead bodies,” which they must drag with them for the rest of their lives.  Even if they do divorce, they must still remain single until those bad spouses dies (Mt. 5:31-32.)  According to Jesus the only grounds for remarriage are the death of spouses or adultery — and Paul added desertion. 

Ž However, as said, Jesus also commanded that unrepentant people, (either believers or unbelievers, spouses or no spouses,) through His disciplinary process as described in Mt. 18:15-20, can and must be treated “as heathens and tax collectors,” (Mt. 18:17.)  Not treated with hatred, but certainly not as believing brothers or sisters — or as spouses, with the purpose of shaming them into repentance, if possible.  Should they repent, it must then lead to their ‘restoration’ to fellowship, and if possible, to their marriage partners, (1 Cor. 5:4-13; 2 Cor. 2:5-11; 6:1-11; Gal. 6:1-5.)   

 

Neither husband nor wife, father nor mother, grandfather nor grandmother, son nor daughter, brother nor sister has the right to oppress, steal from, hurt, slander, lie to, rule, cheat, manipulate, and harm another human being.  Jesus commanded us to do unto others as we want them to do unto us.  Our human spirits, souls (minds) and bodies must be the temple of the Holy Spirit.  We cannot allow unrepentant people to destroy His temple through unrepentant sin.  Jesus never commanded us to tolerate unrepentant abuse indefinitely, (1 Ths. 5:23; 1 Cor. 6:15-20; 3:16-17; Mt. 18:15-20.)   

Ž Regardless of whether spouses are serial adulterers, fornicators or deserters, abused spouses must realize that both the decision to go or to stay have terrible consequences.  Separating the interwoven lives of marriage partners is so complicated that no one can escape unharmed.  The brokenness caused by the trauma that led to divorce and by the divorce itself, will always leave deep scars and most probably be carried through to the next relationship.  For the children especially, the separation can be devastating.  Financially, it will also be the children that suffer the most. 

Yet, abuse is an incredibly strong demonic power, and in a marriage relationship, as in any other relationship, repentance and restoration by offenders is the Scriptural and rational answer.  Should such repentance not occur, (as serial abusers can cry a river of tears without ever keeping one promise,) mere forgiveness will not be enough to secure the spiritual, emotional, and physical safety abused spouses and children.   Yet, it is a fact that it is not always possible to flee from such demoniacs to start new lives — which is usually not successful in any case.  But to live under such unbearable conditions is almost impossible, especially without a clear directive from the Holy Spirit Himself. 

Ž Spouses who choose to stay, must therefore refuse to accept any more empty promises.  To secure at least some financial support for themselves and in the case of a young family, for the future of the children, spouses can change the financial state of their marriages from “in community of property” to a post-nuptial agreement. If offenders agree, they must then ‘put their money where their mouths are,’ and pay for their infidelity and deception the next time they give way to their demons. 

Following the clear directives of the Holy Spirit in the truth of Scripture is the only real answer to this (or any other dilemma.  Victims of abuse must stop deceiving themselves and realize that quick-fixes to such immense destruction of life and limb are unobtainable dreams.  God never lets His believers jump over the river or fire, but by His grace, He always takes them through it all to build His strong, Godly character in them, and to teach them obedience to His true Word in complete reliance on Him. 

Marriage will always remain sacred and binding; we must never believe we may divorce as we pleaseIt is a fact that even violence and other types of devastation, once sincerely confessed and truly repented from, need to be forgiven to restore personal inner peace, God’s holy marriage covenant, and to bring spiritual, emotional, and physical healing to victims and everyone else affected by the abuse.  Believers are only spiritually and emotionally free while they remain in the will of God.  Once sincere confession of sin and repentance from serious sin enter broken relationships, responsible forgiveness has the power to save marriages; honoring and glorifying God in the process. 

But let us be honest, when dealing with torturers such as narcissists, (and many other types of dangerous abusers follow on their heels,) reconciliation will always remain impossible.  So, forgiveness does not mean the continuance of a non-existent marriage covenant, which was mostly continually broken by offenders, often without the knowledge of spouses.  No one can lay claims on innocent spouses to either divorce or to continue with demolished marriages, which can only be a God-led, personal choice.  But forgiveness or letting go of the humiliation, hurt, anger, rejection, and everything else that goes with it, will always remain a requirement for believers’ own, inner peace, and spiritual and emotional growth in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

THE TWO-PHASE WEDDING CEREMONY 

“LIVING TOGETHER — ‘MARRIED IN GOD’S EYES?’ 

 

Facebook Post August 2016, DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE IN THE BIBLE.  Paul wrote, “There is now no condemnation for those who do not live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit...”  (Rom. 8:1.)  These are the believers of Christ who have experienced God’s complete forgiveness, and have repented from sin, dealing with those whom they have trampled according to Jesus’ directions in Jam. 5:16, “[Sincerely and fully] confess your trespasses [against one another to one another,] that you may be healed.  [E.g., ‘Please forgive me, I have committed slander, emotional murder, adultery, rejection, etcetera, against you….’ and ‘come clean’ by telling the whole truth and the entire extent of what you have done.]  Then pray for one another.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous person [who confessed his sins] avails much.” 

All sin is sin.  Do not let anyone condemn divorcees while overlooking other types of sin.  The problem with relationships began in Eden when the husband and his wife disobeyed God.  When they had to take responsibility for what they did, regretting and confessing their sin to turn everything around, they began to practice the fine art of blame shifting instead.  “The snake deceived me...”  “That woman You gave me...”   And without cursing them directly, God cursed the whole earth because of them.  The consequences of their unrepentant sin still severely affect not just every human being to this day, but also every innocent child, person, and other living thing on earth. 

The fall affected the provider-husband in a way that made everyone suffer.  Weeds and thorns of all types infected every sphere of life, and, since that day, not only humans, but every living creature has to wrest a life from the earth.   [Ever watched a spider or an ant work for its food?]  In spite of what churches teach, God did not curse the wife to a life of violence, verbal abuse, and demonic oppression under the harsh rule of her husband.  The same goes for the husband, of course!  Instead, God actually warned the wife that, [and this also applies to the husband,] if she allows her now scrambled priorities to idolize her husband instead of worshiping and serving God above all else, the man, as the physically stronger one, will treat her harshly

All relationships, (humanity’s relationship with God, with each other in the marriage covenant, their families, and with all other people,) were severely marred by only that one act of unrepentant disobedience to the Highest God.  But Jesus came to give every human being a way out of that cursed position without God by bringing complete blessedness and healing to all those who choose to live in Him, (Jn. 1:12-13; Gal. 3:10-14.)  Still, most of humanity choose to continue in the art of blame shifting, hatred, and spiritual, emotional, and physical murder, (1 Jn. 3:15.) 

A Hebrew writing described the marriage relationship as follows, “God did not create the woman from the feet of man so that she should be his slave, but from his side, so that she can be near his heart.”  They should have added, “God did not create the woman from man’s head that she should rule him, but from near his heart, so that she should help and encourage him.”  But instead of realizing these great truths, the fact remains that behind every successful man... is a woman rolling her eyes.  And behind every successful woman is a man shaking his fist. Marriage partners forget that even before God joined them together through the marriage covenant, God gave them joint-management over His entire creation.  To execute joint-management over secular and ecclesiastical work, and also in general management of the marriage covenant, they need to “submit to one another” in everything Godly and true, (Eph. 5:21; Gen. 1:27-28; Acts 2:17-18.) 

Often, instead of pulling together to get their marriage carriage to the finishing line, either the husband or the wife or both are going mad to get out of the restraints that yoke them together in marriage.  Every Godly marriage counsellor will always attempt to save a runaway marriage carriage by calling both the husband and the wife to accountability and repentance, so they can stop attacking each other and start pulling together.  However, if one or both spouses refuse to submit to God and to each other in everything Good, Godly, and True, there is no hope for that marriage.  If adultery, drug and alcohol abuse and violence are left unrepented, [remember that our bodies must be the temple of the Holy Spirit,] guilty spouses are systematically wrecking their marriages and everyone around them – especially the precious family that God had entrusted to their care. 

If the wild horse insists on getting out of that yoke, greater harm to all involved is unavoidable and divorce is imminent.  Paul, not Jesus, (Mt. 5:31-31,) wrote that if the unbeliever deserts the Godly spouse, the innocent spouse is free to marry again, (1 Cor. 7:15.) 

But before we take that dreadful step, let us remember:  divorce is death to that marriage, but without a burial  or complete turning away from the ‘wild’ horse,’ the good spouse and their family will suffer continuous grief, because in many ways, both the guilty and the innocent partner as well as the children remain yoked to that rotten corpse, the dead marriage.  Sadly, lovers never realize that Jesus said we must not enter the marriage covenant lightly, nor annul it lightly, because He hates divorce – not because He condemns it as some ‘unforgivable, binding’ sin, but because He wants to spare us all the incredible brokenness and disruption attached to it — as well as the chaos and sorrow that follow it, (Mal. 2:14-16.) 

 

Facebook Post, August 2015I have been asked to write more about marriage.  Remembering that marriage is the first covenant that God made between His newly created human species, and therefore it is a covenant no one should enter into without deep consideration, I cannot help remembering the utterly superficial advice of most elderly people to young couples: "To marry is not buying horses." That's it? Makes sense in some silly way, because if we think of the marriage covenant in terms of ''playing true love,'' or a convenient business transaction, we will never get mauled when our spouses commit adultery, choose to party with their friends instead of coming home, lie, deceive, manipulate, never defend us when we need support, waste all the money on flashy cars, jewellery, gambling and unnecessary items - and assault us verbally and physically when we object.

What will happen to such a marriage and the children of that marriage if both spouses choose to live so immorally? Where will those children learn the many precepts of God's moral law, which set humans apart from animals? If they are taught that Mommy is just ''one of the girls,'' and Daddy is just ''one of the boys,” how will children ever know the Creator God in all His love and mercy, and the fact that a marriage requires constant fidelity, a lifetime commitment, and self-sacrifice?''

(Continue)