A Moral And Ethical Issue Which Leaders Require To Handle Sensitively Yet Firmly

How many leaders take time to prepare those whom they lead for eternity? It may not be the task and role of every leader to prepare people for eternity but it certainly is the task and role and responsibility of some leaders to fulfil this vital role.
There may even be some leaders who really do not believe in eternity or who do not believe in eternal life.
Recently I have turned to a serious study of The Sermon on the Mount where Jesus Christ is preparing men and discipling men for this life and equally important, for the life to come. He is preparing us for eternity.
Jesus knows how sin goes deep. Jesus is talking about a ferocious destructive force. Jesus knows the power of sin and the ferocity of temptation and that is why we need to remember that He prays for, and intercedes for, those who have repented and who are His and who are tempted.
Having been speaking about lust which is very different from love, He goes on to speak about divorce, and the Church, as I have seen it, has been woolly on this topic too.
Jesus goes beyond the legal and the superficial. People were taking the Old Testament law to justify or defend their own wrong doing. The Pharisees and the Scribes were experts at doing this.
This passage could be preached and taught and interpreted hurtfully if dealt with insensitively.
This passage in Matthew Chapter 5, can raise deep wounds and bring to the surface painful memories.
What is the background? Rabbi Shamei taught only where there was marital unfaithfulness – only then could there be divorce.
Rabbi Hillel taught that you could divorce on almost any ground. A man could divorce his wife, but not a wife her husband, at this time. This is the kind of background, against which Jesus is teaching by the Lake of Galilee.
The only real concern was that the paperwork was done correctly. The grounds were not all that important. Men could get off with anything they liked provided you get the paperwork correct.
The passage they went to, as leaders, was Deuteronomy Chapter current issues in america 2019 24 verse 1, but what about the verses which follow.
Look at the ‘ifs’. God’s prime concern is to protect marriage, and the permanence and sanctity of marriage.
This is the background against which Jesus is speaking.
This is different from owning your cattle or your fields.
Jesus is correcting a misuse of the Law of Moses. He is correcting a rampant religious chauvinism, public interest law salary where women were regarded as objects of desire, or a possession or a thing.
It was easier at that time for a marriage bond to be broken that than a man’s rights over his cattle and his fields. In the Bible adultery breaks a marriage bond.
Jesus speaks clearly about this matter of divorce, regarding the matter of marital unfaithfulness.
The legitimate reason given to us by Jesus permitting divorce is where there has been fornication, or unfaithfulness, and the Greek word used is – PORNEIA – referring to adultery and incest, and every immoral act.
Jesus is smashing apart a whole set of social customs. Two verses challenge an entire social convention. Consider the woman caught in adultery and that other woman at the well who came out alone because of shame. We read of the situations in the Gospel of John. Jesus is so merciful and gracious but firm on both occasions.
Some would like to go back and be just like the early church – really?
We must guard against being sentimental over this issue. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are realists.
It was not that the Law of God was wrong, but there were leaders at that time twisting and distorting the Law of God to suit their own ends and it needed someone like Jesus Christ to correct the misuse and abuse, and he did so in such a sensitive understanding way taking time to explain to these disciples in training how they were to uphold and reverence and respect God’s Law in the highest sense.

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