How God Sees “Them”: Matthew 19:1-12

Focus Passage: Matthew 19:1-12 (NCV)

 1 After Jesus said all these things, he left Galilee and went into the area of Judea on the other side of the Jordan River. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

 3 Some Pharisees came to Jesus and tried to trick him. They asked, “Is it right for a man to divorce his wife for any reason he chooses?”

 4 Jesus answered, “Surely you have read in the Scriptures: When God made the world, ‘he made them male and female.’ 5 And God said, ‘So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body.’ 6 So there are not two, but one. God has joined the two together, so no one should separate them.”

 7 The Pharisees asked, “Why then did Moses give a command for a man to divorce his wife by giving her divorce papers?”

 8 Jesus answered, “Moses allowed you to divorce your wives because you refused to accept God’s teaching, but divorce was not allowed in the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman is guilty of adultery. The only reason for a man to divorce his wife is if his wife has sexual relations with another man.”

 10 The followers said to him, “If that is the only reason a man can divorce his wife, it is better not to marry.”

 11 Jesus answered, “Not everyone can accept this teaching, but God has made some able to accept it. 12 There are different reasons why some men cannot marry. Some men were born without the ability to become fathers. Others were made that way later in life by other people. And some men have given up marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. But the person who can marry should accept this teaching about marriage.”

Read Matthew 19:1-12 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

Before diving into this passage and the one big idea I want to focus on, I want to emphasize that this is a challenging passage for many people. A lot of people who have experienced divorce in their lives can look on this passage as God condemning them for their actions. I don’t have much to say about this – since this is something that everyone must work out with God personally/individually. I may write my thoughts on how I see this passage relating to divorce in a future post, but instead, this post will focus on a big idea for those who are married or are currently in a long-term relationship.

In verse 6, we read the following phrase, “God has joined the two together”. I know there are countless things that have happened and choices that were made that directed me to moving to Idaho where I would meet my bride-to-be. It seems as though God is working behind the scenes to direct people together. I could make my head spin trying to think of what may have happened had I made different choices regarding my schooling, major, and direction after college, but whatever the case is – whether there is only one match or several great candidates along a variety of different paths, the passage states that God is present in the relationships that I have – especially in my marriage.

Here’s the big idea, stated in the form of a question: If I believe that God brought people into my life for a reason (including my spouse), would I treat them differently?

And an equally challenging follow-up question: If I believe that God loves my wife enough to die for her and that it hurts Him when I hurt her, would I treat her differently? (Feel free to swap genders if you need to.)

God brings people into our lives, and in many cases, not all of them are pleasant. Some might be downright annoying at best, and one (hopefully not more) of these you might have ended up marrying. (Disclaimer: This is not my marital situation, but it seems to be a common theme in culture.)

However, have you ever stopped to think that Jesus loves – and He died for – those annoying people too? It isn’t just the pleasant people that Jesus loves, but the unpleasant ones too. If we are really being honest with ourselves, we might be that annoying person to our spouse. We might be closed off to them when they are looking for love, or harsh with them when we are really upset about something unrelated in our own lives.

We can only change ourselves, and our actions. We cannot change others. However, with the thought that God brings people into our lives, and that He loves them enough to have died for them, would that be enough to change my attitude and actions towards them?

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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