Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
1 Corinthians 7:10-16 (NRSV)
To the married I give this command—not I but the Lord—that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.
To the rest I say—I and not the Lord—that if any believer has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you. Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife.
I respect Paul’s writing because he does a great job of differentiating what he believed to be God’s divine command and his own opinion. I also respect our faith because it leaves room for believers to communicate their beliefs and opinions and all still remain in the community of the Lord. The people of Corinth had many of the same questions that we have in our churches today. Is it acceptable to be married to someone who, let’s say doesn’t go to church? Is it acceptable to have interfaith marriages? According to Paul, it is. If you love another for exactly who they are, commit to each other and raise a family in love, you are honoring the call of God to have peace.
This scripture is poignant because I recently officiated a wedding for two people who were madly in love and had different understandings of faith. Both are doctors and fell in love in medical school. The bride is from a Southern Baptist tradition and the groom is an agnostic who isn’t very certain about who God is or how God contributes to his life. Although there were evident tensions at the wedding, the most important part of the celebration was their deep devotion to each other and to each other’s dreams, all the days of their lives.
This raises some questions for me….How can I, or how can we as Christians, support the diversity that arises in our communities? How may we bring forth the peace of Christ to all that we encounter? How can we tangibly love others who are different than us with the love of peace of God today? Are there relationships that are like this in your life? How can you share the love of God with others who are unbelievers?
Creator of Love, assist us in loving all different types of people to bring forth your peace. Allow us to love all that we encounter so that others may be holy through us. Amen.
Go with God!