When we are on the outside listening to the conversation between others and we don't have an understanding of the bigger picture of what they are talking about, we can become confused by what we hear. Or, with Scripture, when we hear a brief section of Scripture without background or context, we can become rigid and condemning of those who seem to "break the rules." The following passage could be one of those. Certainly Jesus is representing an ethic for relationships and for covenant relationships because God knows the rippling painful, fragmenting, generational effects on families, women, men, children when the covenant relationship and oneness is broken.
Hardheartedness is identified as a root cause of broken relationship. The primary wound is brokenness in relationship with God. We cannot see to the well-being of another if we do not have our own source of identity and love rooted and grounded in God. This may be the real invitation in these verses. When broken relationships happen there is always an invitation into greater love in a restored and whole relationship with God.
Mark 10:1-12 (NLT)
Discussion about Divorce and Marriage
Then Jesus left Capernaum and went down to the region of Judea and into the area east of the Jordan River. Once again crowds gathered around him, and as usual he was teaching them.
2 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?”
3 Jesus answered them with a question: “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?”
4 “Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.”
5 But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. 6 But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. 7 ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, 8 and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, 9 let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
10 Later, when he was alone with his disciples in the house, they brought up the subject again. 11 He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.”
For Reflection and Prayer:
• What did you hear as you listened/read? A word, a phrase? What stood out for you in these words?
• What was your inner response as you listened? What did these words evoke in you?
• A “hard” heart is one that seeks only selfish interest at the expense of another. Jesus suggests a different way of being, carrying a different attitude in one’s heart.
• Following last week’s words, how does this passage continue the thoughts about being a source of life and peace to another?