Is It Lawful For Man To Divorce For Any Reason?

Written By: on Sep 18th, 2009 and filed under Columns.

“Hardness of heart:” Jesus did not go into the details of law but went deeper into to the reason why Moses gave such a ruling. Jesus said Moses permitted divorce because of “hardness of heart.” It is very important to note that Mathew and Mark say “your heart” instead of ‘their heart’. Moses lived and gave law about 1300 years before Christ. By saying in the ‘second person’ Jesus was making them know that the law as well as the circumstances that caused Moses to give such a law never changed and that they still lived in the same hardness of heart as their forefathers. Israel is often reprimanded for being guilty of Hardness of heart. Prophet Ezekiel alleges that they had a stony heart. “A new heart I will give you and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh,” Ezekiel 36:26. Rebellious and unrepentant attitude is what the prophet refers here. Disbelief and failure to obey God’s commandments is hardness of heart. Hardness of heart is a symptom of destruction as in the case of Pharaoh. Scholars say hardness of heart is “sklerocardia” in Greek. This has got some link with the function of heart. Blood flows to and from heart regulated by rhythmic opening and closing of heart-valves. When the heart-valve is closed blood cannot flow in and out. If the valve is defective it will not open and that will cause death. Similarly, marriage union is by the grace of God. The relationship of the spouses is guided by and through the grace. Spouses sin because they disbelieve the grace. Heart of the sinner or disbeliever is in closed condition that it prevents grace to flow in causing spiritual death. Spiritual death is severing the communion with God. The spouse who is spiritually dead does not consider God’s laws mandatory and is vulnerable to all sorts of evils. Satan immediately takes control over them instigating to commit all wickedness. This situation is harmful to the other. In this situation Moses was allowing a lesser evil for the safety of women, as explained above.

“Kiddusin,” is Hebrew word for marriage. Of all the Middle East ancient tribes, Israel had the best form of family and social life. Although it is a fact that women were not given equality with men, comparing other nations like Rome, Greece, etc they were far better of. Man and woman who wed say each other, “Enter into kiddusin with me.” Kiddusin means holy or sanctify. It is said in the same sense as we sanctify and dedicate a house for dwelling or a church-building exclusively for worship. That means; husband is setting himself apart exclusively for relationship with his wedded woman and woman is setting apart herself for exclusive relationship with her wedded man. In other words each one is setting apart and consecrating oneself for each other. From this mutually sanctifying commitment experience there flows grace of God, true love, companionship, physical, emotional and spiritual fulfillment. In this context St Paul said their children are holly. Celibacy was unknown in Judaism. Every man of 20 years must marry and lead family life until the age of 60; it was mandatory obligation. Sanctification invokes a sense of ownership. When spouses sanctify each other they are voluntarily surrendering their right of ownership to the other spouse. St Paul said, “Wife has no authority over her own body, but the husband; and likewise also the husband has no authority over his own body, but the wife,” 1C7:4. They should not separate themselves except for prayer time rather they ought to do all things together and in harmony. Apostles envisaged an outgrowing, self-humbling and self-emptying love that transcends all personal limitations enabling perfect submission to the other’s interest. It is in this background St Paul said; no one should seek one’s own comfort but of the other. In such state of oneness there is no room for divorce.

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