Religious texts give us a vocabulary; our relationship with the Spirit gives us possible answers
The other week, we were contemplating Matthew chapter 5 verses 21 to 32. We stay with the same passage for two weeks, believing that the longer we stay with it, the more we will absorb its fullness.
It was verses 31 & 32, that focused me,
“ It has been said, ‘Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a divorce; but I say, That whosoever, shall put out away his wife, except for adultery, causes her to commit adultery and whoever marries her also commits adultery.”
I am attempting to modernise my King James Version with the above. If it remains unclear it seems Jesus is saying if you divorce other than on grounds of adultery you make yourself and your spouse adulterers.
I have been divorced so how does that leave me? I had considered separation rather than divorce but that does not free the other party. After consideration, I agreed to a divorce.
In my contemplation I found myself saying,
“Jesus are you sure you said this?” “Did you really say this?” “How was this going to work for those who simply are not getting along and it would be better for them to call it a day? Why wait for one to commit adultery to get the divorce?”
I would like to write that I heard his answer but I didn’t. What I did is what I do, I try to sense what it may say to me today. And yes I believe we can bound ourselves by what is written on a page. Even if he did say it was in a specific context. If we bind ourselves in we would bind ourselves into a specific cultural context 2000 years ago. The spirit is active today and is saying something today in specific situations. More importantly, a relationship with the Spirit will guide us.
I recalled during the divorce process there were at least three times that I felt strongly about matters that were subject to the negotiations. When I consulted the spirit I felt impressed to take a different approach and reluctantly I did. Yet in time they proved to be for the best.
The recorded words of Jesus say different things to different people often contradictory. But contradictions occur because the same answer can’t be applied to all situations.
For me, at this stage of the journey, the books of the bible are a vocabulary from which you can learn the language of God. It is only through an alive relationship that you can sense or hear what he is saying to you.
A few days ago I sent a message to my former wife prompted to thank her for the time we had and for what I learned. After which I wondered whether that prompting has somehow come from the contemplation of this passage.