Friday, July 24, 2009

Is the "Exception Clause" a Pastoral Pass on Adultery?

Here are some provocative thoughts about marriage, remarriage and divorce. Do you think these are good points?

13 comments:

Antonio Romano said...

These posts were fantastic and I agree completely. In my limited experience in counseling, I have found that infidelity (or perceived/believed infidelity) is almost always met with the desire to end the marriage. And, people do tend to default to the, "Don't I have that right now" mentality. It's almost as if the offender beat the offendee to the punch. I don't meant to absolve an adulterer and place all blame on the offended party - I'm simply saying that we tend to have a default position towards breaking commitments. As marriage is the greatest earthly commitment that can be made, it tends to illuminate our unwillingness to be content with what God has given, even thought it is always better than what we deserve. We turn into God very quickly when we have been wronged, e.g., "how dare you do such and such to me?".

It un-nerves me that God has created marriage to illustrate the redemptive relationship we have with Christ (the Church) because of the Cross. This fact remains as sure as the rising sun: we are all adulterers. As believers, surely there has been at least once when we have chosen to follow after what we believed to be greener grass than the streets of gold God gives us in Christ. We who are so easily deceived would probably do well to forgive adultery. If we would say, "but my spouse cheated on me- they broke the greatest of all promises!"....we would do well to remember that marriage is but a whisper of the greatest relationship. And we break that all the time...and still He seeks no divorce. Thank God for the True and Better Husband.

Darby Livingston said...

Right on Tony. It's good to hear from you. If I had your phone number, I'd have called you like six months ago.

Antonio Romano said...

Dude, you don't have my phone number?!

Darby Livingston said...

Why do you think I never call?

Darby Livingston said...

Quit changing it and I'd have it. :)

Antonio Romano said...

Well, I've tried to call you twice TONIGHT. AND I only changed it once. ONCE!

Darby Livingston said...

I was in the bath with my wife. Would you answer the phone?

Antonio Romano said...

That's probably the only way to get you to clean yourself you big scrub.

Wait. I get it.

Gross.

bauerpower said...

you guys kill me! thanks for the much needed "clean" laugh :)

Amy said...

I am a believer of Christ, and I agree with all my heart that we are all guilty of adultery, by God's standards. But clearly there is a difference between a spouse desiring another person, and them actually physically having intercourse with another person. Where is the accountability for that person? And why do "men" especially seem to "have each other's back"? As if to say, we can defile the marriage bed, you just have to forgive us!
I have seen many Christian marriages go through infidelity, it is heart-breaking, and it seems that the focus is always on the one that needs to forgive, not the one who defiled the bed.

Darby Livingston said...

Might it seem like the focus is on the need to forgive because Christians are looking for redemptive purposes rather than punitive? I think we need to be careful of mixing accountability with revenge. There are many things that both husbands and wives are accountable for in a marriage. Why is adultery the one out of the many that is supposedly punishable by death of the marriage? Why not substance abuse or harshness or lying or husbands not earning a proper living or wives nagging their husbands or general poor decision-making ability or neglecting the kids? Aren't those serious infidelities to the marriage covenant? Is adultery the only way to be unfaithful in marriage?

I'm not sure about men having each other's back, but I can assure you that's not what we're talking about on this blog or on the one with the original posts. We're talking about being biblically and pastorally faithful to what the Bible says, not getting anyone off the hook.

Amy said...

Question;
Is the one choosing the divorce, committing a bigger sin,than the one committing the adultry?

Shouldn't they receive the same grace?

People are quick to point out that we must keep our vows, "till death do us part",but we also vow "before God and these witnesses I promise to be a faithful".

Darby Livingston said...

Amy,

You asked, "Shouldn't they receive the same grace?"

I think that is an excellent question and deserves to be answered more thoroughly than in this comment stream. I'll ponder it awhile and respond in a separate post.