Experience silence in the midst of your busy day. Take some time to relax into a time to be with God.
Matthew 5:27-36 (NRSV)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 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. 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.
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 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.
“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
Matthew 5 is jam-packed full of very rich material. In this scripture passage, the readers learn about, what St. Augustine termed, the Sermon on the Mount. We learn about the Beatitudes, the standard of the law, and of course, the text we are brought to today: affairs, divorce, and oaths. The Greek term for committing adultery is “moichaomai” in the text. This stems from the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:14. The Greek translation for the act is “porneia.” These terms are referred to as improper extramarital activities. As the Reverend Bob Utley writes, “Jesus redefined sexual sin as an attitude of the heart. Sex is a gift of God, a good and wholesome thing. But God also put boundaries on its expression for well-being and long term enjoyment”.
Jesus is informing his followers that oath, in this instance, marriage oath should be taken very seriously. Sex and marriage are a big deal.
It is hard for me to write this, as a millennial in the United States, when the broader culture normalizes extramarital sex and divorce. There are numerous situations in which I believed that divorce was the best solution for a strained family, even when adultery was not involved. So what can I say about this text in 2018 America? God created human beings to be trustworthy, honorable, and respectful of God’s creation. Part of honoring God’s creation is to have healthy and loving relationships with our partners. God does not call us to be deceitful with our commitments to our partners. God calls us to live fully and holistically through committed love, full of respect.
God, help us to live according to your wishes for our lives. Place the proper boundaries on our hearts so that we may love fully those we have chosen to spend our lives with. Help us to follow your command for sexual health, not desiring others, exploiting others, or harming ourselves. Amen.
Go with God!