The next two versus of the Sermon give me a ton of heartburn. Here they are:
“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
Re-reading this passage today, I was first struck by some of the cultural ugliness. I would have preferred, “Don’t get divorced except in the case of marital unfaithfulness.” Instead, the passage makes clear that men are the ones who do the divorcing, and apparently, women are the ones who commit adultery. Notice that if the man wrongfully divorces his wife, he is not guilty of adultery but the women he remarries is. Ug.
Fine, notions of marriage and divorce are so tied up in the cultural context, it would be very difficult to discuss them without incorporating the social biases of the time. The real problem for me is the meat of the passage. Many of the people I care about are divorced. I don’t know if infidelity was always involved, but I can think of other reasons for divorce. Abusiveness, overpowering and unaddressed addiction for two.
What to do?