In this online community I keep on finding variants of “following”. All of it traceable to the bible. All of it (allegedly) “scripturally correct”. And all of it at odds with unconditional love.
There are sixteen letters in that one word. That is long word! Biblically assigned roles. Scripturally correct. I am The Man (and you are not). I speak of God (and you listen).
Later this year we will have been married for 35 years. So what secrets do we have for you “immature marrieds”? None. No wisdom and no advice – we still face the same challenges today we faced on day one.
What I have learned is that the words we say can be taken out of context. Can be used like a court transcript. That over thirty-five years we have both said things that can (and sometimes are) held against us. But it is not the individual words that matter. It is what we mean that matters.
My words can come out all wrong and I get the biggest hug of my life. My words can come out exactly as I meant them and I am met with a look of confusion. Individually the words don’t matter as much as we like to think they do. Not unless we are in a courtroom.
“Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning “made them male and female”, and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’ They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?’ He said to them, ‘It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but at the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.’ His disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.’ But he said to them, ‘Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’ “ Matthew 19:3-12
Forget “who’s the audience?” – forget “the context” – forget this is “the Son of God” … This is a court of law like any court of law. A court case about “love” (allegedly).
And NOW the context …
You want “complementariasm”… go for it! You want “homophobia” … go for it! You want anything you want all legally endorsed by God … go for it. Because somewhere in the bible you will find whatever you want in a verse or a word or a few letters (that someone can make into a sixteen letter word).
Somewhere everything is scripturally correct in this biblical courtroom.
But life is not a courtroom. Love is not a court case. Courtrooms are for those who want to win. Courtrooms are for those who have lost and have no relationship.
And we make that courtroom “scripturally endorsed by God” …. ?
Our thirty-five year relationship might be “endorsed by God”. But we could both walk away at any time and choose not to (today). Over those long years we face the same choices we did on day one. And that “not walking away” is never a debt one owes to the other. Not until we need a courtroom.
And then it’s not about love anymore. Then it is about Individual words. It is no longer about what we meant. It is about winning and losing. It’s about making words mean what we want them to mean – the evidence to win – so that someone loses.