Matthew 5:27-32 (NRSV)
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.[a] 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.[b]31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Matthew 5:27-32 (The Voice)
27 As you know, long ago God forbade His people to commit adultery.[a] 28 You may think you have abided by this Commandment, walked the straight and narrow, but I tell you this: any man who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery in his heart. 29 If your right eye leads you into sin, gouge it out and throw it in the garbage—for better you lose one part of your body than march your entire body through the gates of sin and into hell. 30 And if your right hand leads you into sin, cut it off and throw it away—for better you lose one part of your body than march your entire body through the gates of sin and into hell.31 And here is something else: you have read in Deuteronomy that anyone who divorces his wife must do so fairly—he must give her the requisite certificate of divorce and send her on her way, free and unfettered.[b] 32 But I tell you this: unless your wife cheats on you, you must not divorce her, period. Nor are you to marry someone who has been married and divorces, for a divorced person who remarries commits adultery.
Do you remember the first thoughts that came to Joseph when he heard that his fiancé Mary was going to have a child? In Matthew 1:18-19 we discover his first thought. “He had in mind to divorce her quietly.” But as the thought of walking away went through his mind, an angel of the Lord came to encourage him. He was encouraged to take Mary home because ‘what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’
I have been around long enough to know that not all marriages are of the Holy Spirit. We would love it if all relationships were filled with the Spirit of God. But that is not the case. As a result, this key teaching of Jesus causes us to think deeply about the nature of relationships. Especially the intimacy of a husband and a wife.
At the heart of the matter we could say that one of the primary realities of life is the fact that relationships are important. People are important. Close relationships are important. They are not the stuff of the ‘here today and gone tomorrow’ world. In fact, human relationships are so sacred that they are to be treated with the utmost of care.
We are just 21 days away from Christmas. 21 days away from the celebration of the birth of Jesus. 21 days that are a gift from God. 21 days that are available for reflection, renewal, restoration, and reconciliation. 21 days to honor the sacred relationships that surround us and to be sure that our hearts are in alignment with the heart of God.