Is God Trying to Make Life Harder?
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:28
When we talk about the rules of the Old Testament and freedom found in the New Testament, we often overlook certain statements of Jesus. If you call someone a fool, you are in danger of hell (Matthew 5:22). We are so happy with our freedom that we gloss of these statements, that is, until they become useful to us. Like when a wife says she is free to divorce if her husband looks at pornography because he has already committed adultery.
Now I’m not saying which is right or wrong here, I personally believe if your spouse really wants to get a divorce, you should let them. If they are looking for excuses to leave you, would it be loving of you to force them to stay with you. Now, I know this is not a typical Christian perspective, so please don’t do anything drastic and hear me out.
Our Sinful Hearts Like Rules
Our sinful hearts like rules. Rules help us create a cause and effect relationship with God. If we do this, then He will do that. If we sin, He will turn His face from us until we come crawling back and beg His forgiveness. If we do what is right, then He will reward us with giving us a good day. This is how the two brothers approached their father in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32)
But the Heavenly Father is not like that. He is looking to love us no matter our behavior. When we sin, He looks at the punishment Jesus bore on the cross and longingly wants us to come home to Him. He’s not looking to punish us. He is not trying to make things harder. Jesus came to give us life and life to the full (John 10:10).
Why Did Jesus Increase the Rules?
So what are we to make of the verses that seem like harder rules? Try to imagine a loving father saying these things to you. Why would He give you something harder? …
These rules are to lead you into greater life. He is trying to help you find greater freedom in this life. God knows if we let our minds wander on bad things, they will lead us into bad behavior (James 1:14-15). These harder commands are to get our focus off the behaviors to see our hearts. When our hearts are good, good life naturally comes out.
Closing Thoughts on Divorce
Back to the divorce thoughts, God says if we disown Him, He will disown us (2 Timothy 2:12). The Bible is all about God pursuing us. There is nothing to hint that He doesn’t want us with Him. But here is the thing, if we don’t want to be with Him, He is not going to hold us to our commitments. He will try to woe us back, but He will not force you to stay in your marriage with Him.
I don’t want anyone to get a divorce. I want everyone to fight for their marriage. But, if your spouse wants to leave you, I don’t think guilting them to stay with you will help win them over. This is probably too much for one post. The point I want to make is that God really wants to love you and help you enjoy this life. Let’s trust His heart when things don’t make sense. He really does want freedom for us, because it is in freedom that we can really love Him with our entire hearts.
Kevin Shorter is the founder of this prayer-coach site and have served for several years in ministry and churches teaching on a variety of Biblical topics. Go to the contact page to request him to speak at your conferences and seminars.