FRAGRANCE OF FORGIVENESS
But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
Wait! Keep reading, give me a minute of your time!
My daughter came home from school reciting this verse with anger, hurt and unadmitted tearful eyes. Her heart ache was for her friends who have divorced, remarried parents and friends who were born of a second marriage. Or perhaps her mother, her sisters, stepfather and father. The day’s bible class was a personal zinger to her world.
I am forever thankful to the Bible teacher stirring feelings in an aloof middle school heart more concerned with James Charles’ “sister squad” than the thee’s and thou’s of God’s word. Hearing her voice waver in response to the teacher’s comments, usual lackadaisical middle schoolers rushed to her aide. Compassion draws us out of our own maze.
We talked in the car on the way home, we talked at dinner. The Bible is always right. The Word of God is true. But I am not so sure we are supposed to stop there, with bottled up hurts and resentment. If so, where did the Psalms come from? The lamenting and the questions! Uncomprehendable bible verses like this one force a conversation, let that conversation be with God. It may begin defensive and hurt, but God is big, He can handle an angry broken heart.
I can not justify out, my past to live up to this specific verse. How humbling that is to say to your daughter. While I study this verse in one hand, the other points to the Gospel of Luke. Luke 7:36-50 to be exact.
One afternoon Jesus joined a group of Pharisees for a meal. As these distinguished men sat down to indulge, a well-known woman came in, eyes cast down at Jesus’s feet. She held a beautiful bottle of perfume. The woman bent and reached for Jesus’ feet. Tears of sorrow, shame, guilt, persecution ran along the ridges and cracks of the One familiar with her path. Her illustrious hair wound around His ankle sliding down the arch of each foot cleansing the soul. She leaned in further, placed her soft lips upon the feet of the Lord she served. These spectators had no choice but to inhale the fragrance she poured out upon Jesus anointing His feet.
Abruptly the peaceful picture turns to doubt, accusation and mudslinging. But Jesus. He leads the men to understand forgiveness in a language fitting for their daily life.
“There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed 500 denarii, and the other 50. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore which of them will love more?”
“I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said, “You have rightly judged.”
These men could not help but inhale the priceless fragrance of forgiveness. I do not have a scholarly answer nor justification for divorce. The choices we make in this world carry consequences. However, Jesus redeems. We are not left to decompose in the guilt and shameful interpretations of the Bible. Forgiveness and peace are found within a posture at the feet of Jesus. “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Jesus makes sense of it all. In this way we work out our salvation with awe and reverence.
“Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”