Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Christians Marriage (14) Pastoral Reality

The pastoral reality that we have to deal with is a world that is all messed up and many in the church are messed up too. So if divorced Christians are acknowledging their failures and wanting to make a new beginning, we should encourage them. If they are willing to commit to marriage, Christians elders and pastors should be willing to marry them. Churches should be willing to support them.

On the other hand, if they want to continue living a selfish lifestyle, we might need to challenge them. We should not encourage those who a stuck in selfishness to enter a new marriage, because they will probably just get more of the same.

This is not a drift in the biblical principles. It is a Christian response to the situation that has emerged in a sinful world. Our calling has always been to work with the cross and the Spirit to clean up the mess that evil has made in the world. Christians should be skilled in sorting this stuff.

Pauls describes the ideal in 1 Cor 7:10-11. If Christian separate from their spouse, they should ideally remain single, or be reconciled. However, this ideal includes a church that provides the same level of emotional, spiritual and monetary support, as it would provide to a widow of a martyr. The separated person should still have a fulfilled life supported by their Christian community. In our world, life often does not work out like that. The modern church is not capable of providing the level of support needed after the separation, or before it for that matter. People left on their own often get drawn to others of the opposite sex. We were created to relate to others, so it is natural for a person living in isolation to get entangled with another.

Once it has happened, Christians have to deal with the situation as it is. When a separated Christian comes and asks their pastor, if they can marry again, they are not usually asking a theoretical question. They already know who they want to marry. They have already committed adultery with them in their hearts by choosing to unite with another, so they are technical divorced in God’s eyes and free to marry. So the pastor/elder does not need to feel guilty about marrying them.

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