November 17, 2006


Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-9

"Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard." Matthew 19:8


During the first stage of marriage, when the wife sniffs a little, the husband says, "O darling, I'm so worried about you. You should see a doctor and get over that awful cold." Then, after a while, he says, "Honey, I don't like the sound of that cough. Get some rest, and I'll take care of everything." After a few more stages, as the husband grows less patient, he says, "Get yourself some aspirin." And then, "Are you ever going to stop that barking? Can't you gargle or something?" Then comes the stage when he says, "Will you stop that? Do you want me to catch pneumonia?"

This is an attempt to show how hearts can grow hard. Jesus says hard hearts are the cause of marriage breakdown. God never intended divorce to break a marriage. In fact, God hates divorce (Malachi 3:16). If you are having trouble in your marriage, check your heart. It's amazing what a soft and tender heart can do.

Some people who have been divorced have told me years later that they wished they had tried harder to work things out. I'm glad, however, that the church can minister to people who have gone through divorce. God's tenderness is available for all who struggle.

Lord, you intended marriage to be good, but it is easily spoiled. Please bring healing into troubled marriages, and tenderness into hardened hearts. In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Jerry Hoytema

Pastor Jerry Hoytema is a retired minister living in Ontario. In his retirement he has served several churches as an interim pastor. He and his wife, Winnie, have four children and 13 grandchildren.

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