Love Rather Than Loopholes

Series: MasterClass | Week 4: Love in Real Life

Day One Matthew 5:31-32

31 “You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ 32 But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.” – Matthew 5:31-32 (NLT)

Learn From The Word
In Jesus’ third “you have heard it said… but I say” statement of chapter five, He addresses the controversial topic of divorce. Divorce was common in first century Jewish culture, with men divorcing their wives for such simple things as burning the dinner. But unlike the culture, Jesus had a high view of women and a high view of marriage. Comparing these verses to His later teaching on the same topic in chapter 19, we see Jesus once again addressing the hearts of those listening. The Pharisees looked for loopholes. Jesus pointed back to God’s intent for marriage and the protection of the human beings involved.

Put It Into Practice
Chances are high that your life has been affected by divorce in some way. Does anyone come to mind? How have you been hurt (or maybe you’ve caused hurt)? Think back to what you’ve learned so far in the Sermon on the Mount, and ask God for the ability to show mercy and make peace with that person. Ask God to help you focus on His good design and intent for your life – reconciliation, peace, and freedom from bitterness – rather than on the negative. Thank God for His faithfulness to us despite our unfaithfulness (2 Timothy 2:13).

For Families with Kids at Home
It’s likely that your kids have been affected by divorce in some way, whether that’s personally or observing it through friends or family. This week, try to find an age-appropriate way to engage with them about how divorce has affected them, whether it’s something they’ve personally experienced through family or something they’ve observed in the lives of others. 

Don’t feel the pressure to “solve” things for them. The best thing you can do is to provide a listening ear and validate any emotions they have around the topic. Encourage them that they can always bring any hurts or hangups to you, because you care for them and you always want to know how they’re really doing!