PASSAGE: "Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, ’Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?’ He answered, ’Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ’made them male and female,’ and said ’For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate" (Matthew 19:3-6).
COMMENT: What bothered the Pharisees most about the message of Jesus Christ was that he was calling people to a higher authority than the literal obedience to the Law that was the essence of Pharisaic Judaism. Jesus didn’t overthrow the Law, but he saw the Law as a means to a greater end—to a full embrace of our true identity as the Christ, the creative Power of God. From that Christ consciousness we will no longer obey the Law out of fear of punishment; we will appreciate the Law as a valuable guide to effectively expressing our Christ energy in the world. And we will understand in our own hearts how the Law expresses and applies in our own lives.
Thus Jesus’ teaching about divorce both honors the dictates of the Law and challenges us to approach the question from the perspective of the Christ. "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder" is a valuable spiritual guide that asks each of us to trust our own Christ authority. If a marriage or relationship—or any two distinct energies, for that matter—are serving a spiritual purpose, then they cannot be abandoned. We may try, but we can’t do it. If the Power of God has joined us together, that unity cannot be severed because of distractions or challenges in our human experience.
It is also true that God has not joined together every marriage. Sometimes we enter into marriages or unions for nonspiritual reasons. And sometimes we may realize that a spiritual union has served its God-ordained purpose, and needs to be set aside so that the individuals involved can continue on their own unique paths. How do we know if we are to stay in a union or release ourselves from it? We turn to, and trust, the Christ Presence within. Counseling or advice from others may help us to see the issues clearly, but ultimately we must ask the Christ within whether we are joined to another by God. A good question to produce that guidance is to ask whether we are staying out of love, or out of fear.
What God has joined together cannot be severed. What we have joined together from a limited human perspective may need to be lovingly dissolved. The awareness lies within.