Irreconcilable Differences

 

Genesis 2:24

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

 

Matthew 19:5-6

And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

 

Mark 10:7-8

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;

And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

 

Ephesians 5:31, 33

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

 

Of course you have heard this phrase. Every time a marriage ends for no apparent reason, the divorce papers read “irreconcilable differences”. Every time a relationship of any kind ends for reasons other than those involving death, irreconcilable differences can be used as the excuse. Let’s examine exactly what irreconcilable differences are…

 

According the Dictionary.com, the word irreconcilable means “incapable of being brought into harmony or adjustment; incompatible”. It is an adjective that is derived from the root word reconcile, which means “to bring into agreement or harmony; to make compatible or consistent”.

The reason that relationships are incapable of being brought into harmony is that “…every way of a man is right in his own eyes…”(Proverbs 21:2). Everyone thinks that he or she is right. Whatever he or she wants to do is right. Never should he or she settle for being uncomfortable in the marriage. Never should there be a struggle. No one thinks that he or she should put up with the behavior or attitude of a partner who does not do exactly what he or she thinks that partner should do. As soon as disagreements arise over money, children, material things, outside relationships, etc., partners tend to forget the promises that they made, and they rationalize their need to be out of the relationship. Hence, the failing marriage rate in the world, and the rise of the couples choosing to live together without the benefit of marriage.

 

This is not God’s plan. Genesis 2:24 says “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” This is the marriage union. This is how God designed it from the beginning of time. Matthew 19:6 says “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” “Let not man put asunder” includes the two in the marriage. It is not God’s intention, husband, for you to wake up one morning and decide that you just don’t want to be married anymore, pack up your things, and leave your wife. It is also displeasing to God, wife, for you to end your marriage because of anything other than the death of your husband. However, in the 21st century, we treat a marriage partner like a pair of socks: wear them a while and then change them.

 

I could name a thousand famous people in this country who have had multiple marriage partners. But I will not even deal with the world while addressing this issue. I want to deal strictly with the church. It pains me to see how many marriages in the body of Christ are falling apart. This is not just an issue within the lay people of the church: leaders are divorcing also. Pastors, teachers, elders, deacons, you name it…they are leaving their wives just like the men in the world. I am reminded of a well-known pastor who had a physical altercation with his wife in public. I do not know if this was something that had happened in their home on a regular basis, but one time is one time too many. Nothing should have driven a man who is filled with the Spirit of God to behave that way with the world looking on. I am thinking of another pastor who was accused of having inappropriate relationships with young men. Eventually, the pressure of the scandal got to his wife and she left him. Although I understand that she had biblical grounds based on the fact that he was unfaithful in the marriage, I believe that if he came to her in repentance, and I do not know that he did, she should have forgiven him and continued on with the marriage to protect the integrity of the ministry in which they had started and the reputation of the body of Christ in front of the world. It is not like these people are in rural areas where there is no television reception; these people are in metropolitan cities where you can barely sneeze without a news vehicle parking across the street from your church. I can think of another young pastor who started a church, which grew to be an enormous church in a short amount of time. He had a powerful testimony of overcoming several obstacles by the help of the Lord. He met and married a beautiful young woman and they started a family of three children. Shortly after giving birth to their last child, this wife found out that her pastor-husband had fathered two other children outside of their marriage, within the church.  Instead of resigning immediately, he arrogantly announced to his congregation that, just like David, he had made mistakes, but he was still “the man”. He is still pastoring that church today. As a matter of fact, all of the aforementioned pastors are still in their pulpits, with the full support of their congregations. I know another pastor who left his wife for another woman, and when confronted about her husband’s actions, the elders of his church supported him and refused to take any action. He openly flaunted his relationships with other women, and the body of Christ stood by and watched this happen. He, too, continued to stand in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday and teach error to the people who came to the church.

 

Each one of these marriages had a foundation that should have been built on the Word, but the divorce papers in each of these situations will read “irreconcilable differences”. Why? There is no reason that two people who truly love the Lord and want to please Him cannot work out whatever problems that they are having. If a Christian goes to the doctor and gets a diagnosis of cancer, they will immediately ask for prayer from other Christians because they trust that God can heal them of whatever malady that they have. If a Christian gets laid off from his or her job, they will immediately ask for prayer from other Christians because they trust that God can provide for them either another job or a means to support themselves while they are waiting. Christians trust God when they are looking for a job or a house or a car or a promotion or a church or a position or whatever the case may be, but for some reason, we do not trust that God can fix “irreconcilable differences”.

 

Guess what? There are lots of things that are irreconcilable. Day is full of light and night is dark. The two shall never reconcile that. Winter is cold, and summer is hot. There will never be reconciliation between the two. My husband is a night owl and I am a morning person. He likes to get there “on time”, but I like to be thirty minutes early. Those things will probably never change. God’s nature is holy and man’s nature is sinful. That is never going to change. But God reconciled man back to Himself by sending His darling Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. He became the curse of sin for us, in that He bore our weight of sin on His body while He hung on the cross, that way, the irreconcilable difference between us and God was bridged and no more did we have to die in our sins and go to a burning hell for all eternity. We could place our faith in Jesus and instantly have a relationship with the Father because of His loving kindness and tender mercy. The difference between us and Him can indeed be reconciled…

 

The burden of my heart is still to see marriages healed and strengthened. I pray for those married couples that I know every single day. I pray for the marriages that are in good shape, those that are struggling and those that are in between. I pray for the marriages of pastors, particularly my pastor, because it would break my heart and vex my spirit if I knew that he was living in a continuous state of sin. I pray for them because I know that there are no differences that are totally irreconcilable.

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