Why Reasoning with Those Who Drink Emotional Kool-Aid Won’t Work

 Write it on your heart
 that every day is the best day in the year.
 He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
 who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.
 Finish every day and be done with it.
 You have done what you could.
 Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
 Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
 begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
 to be cumbered with your old nonsense. 
 This new day is too dear,
 with its hopes and invitations,
 to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”
  
 Ralph Waldo Emerson  

Have you ever had an hour, or a day, even a week in trying times that your heart didn’t hurt? Have you ever wondered why you’ve been thrown into standing for your marriage? Your heart? Your life?

Trusting is the key to being able to have that time. The bible records this saying, “Throw all your cares on Him for he cares for you.” As good as that sounds, it depends on the level of mental and spiritual conditioning you have, or have exercised. I admit I am guilty of allowing extraneous thoughts to slide into my mental flow and disrupt my peace, especially when I relax and believe family is family, where everyone cares for each other. Let me explain.

I know a man, who was involved in an accident years ago which left him with three broken ribs, bleeding kidneys and a hematoma in his right buttock the size of an adult fist, tears across his knees, and trauma to his mid/lower back. While he lay supine with his knees drawn up, he felt the Spirit of the L-rd manifest. The heat and pain, the noise and light all faded away. He said he became the best version of himself possible as the L-rd’s spirit took charge. Everything he felt, thought, spoke… everything was of the L-rd, yet he remained himself. To this very day he says that all fear of death, of loss, of pain from that accident fades when he remembers the glory of being transformed, even if for a moment, to more than he was in human terms by the Holy Spirit.

In this trauma he came away with a deeper, clearer sense of how the Holy Spirit works in human beings. No more fear of death, no more fear of being out-of-control. No more fears of being cheated on, or of separation or divorce. Yet, there are others, whose experience coming out of trauma or sin (adultery, sexual sins, separation or divorce) does not leave them with this… glory. These are those whose lifestyle is dependent upon emotional reasoning, on fear and loss and a stubborn determination to hold onto those emotions. They do so because emotional control is all they know, even as it fails them, time after time. Almost all people have some difficulty admitting to errors, to apologizing for those errors in judgement or lapses in decorum to other people; yet this is beyond that!

While some have no trouble admitting to and owning their mistakes because they are determined to make things improve, if not the situation or confrontation with another, then to improve themselves. These are the people everyone likes, but there are others. These people are those who ‘sort of’ apologize, sort of own their errors. If they are angry and call you a name (racist, bigoted, sexist, cheater, adulterer – projecting their sins/failures on you) they may say, “I am sorry your feelings are hurt, but if only you wouldn’t say/do those things,” meaning their ‘sort of’ apology is more about your fault than admitting theirs.

You may notice that the ‘sort of’ apology never admits to any fault except in others. It is as if to say, “You were hurt by that because you don’t understand how that is (racist, bigoted, sexist, cheating, adultery),” and in darker undertones how you were to blame! The people who are unable to admit to their own part in any argument or divorce action are unable to see they had anything to do with, projecting what they do onto others. And a ‘sort of’ apology admits to no fault through humility and repentance.

They are unable to see that arguments and marriages have two participants within which both share. And because they find it so unimaginably horrible to accept their error, a defense mechanism honed over years, causes them to literally distort their perceptions (to see things as they want them to be rather than as they are). This is why they can’t accept blame, or to share blame when there is mutual error, seeking rather to project their faults onto others. They remain unable to do so as long as they hold onto the past (defense mechanism or sin).

People who do this are in pain and in need of prayer, and forgiveness (even if they have trouble accepting it because this means they share blame). They have such a weakened sense of self, a fragile psyche that to admit they were in error threatens their already brittle ego. It makes apologizing impossible or nearly so. Hence the ‘sort of’ apology blaming the victim of their anger, or embarrassment, or pain, or for their affairs (as if you were the cause). The nature of the threat to their psychological health remains insurmountable until they learn to accept themselves as they are and forgive themselves. Indeed, until then they remain entangled until they learn to accept they can go to G-d ‘just as they are’ for forgiveness , restoration and healing.

So, yes, they may cry real tears during a confrontation – as if they feel the pain or shared blame for unpleasant events which engendered the disruption. And you may see what appears to be introspection or realization; you may also believe they are considering your point of view or beginning to see and accept their part in events. Yet the corona of distortion they create to preserve their ego literally warps reality to make it less painful, less of a threat. This process ultimately transforms what they fear or have retreated into becoming something it never was. This is the crux of their denial of (perceived) reality into a non-threatening mental safe space.1 This retreat from or conversion of reality into something else explains the ‘sort of’ apology, if they make one at all. To quote from the Matrix –

You have to understand. Most people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured2, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.

— Morpheus, The Matrix

The very thought that they may be in part responsible for any unpleasantness (name calling, blame shifting, or divorce) is so powerful they will immediately become angry and defend their frangible ego.  Do not make the mistake of believing their adamant refusal to back down is a sign of strength or of determined character. Their inability to humble themselves, to feel sorrow and repent for their words or actions is the polar opposite of humility and repentance. And only G-d can change a broken heart. Only G-d can forgive and restore!

In the words of a popular song, “Give them all to Jesus. Shattered dreams, Wounded hearts, Broken toys.” Give your prodigal to Jesus!

I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes and to carefully observe My ordinances.…

Ezekiel 36:25 -27

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Edited: August 22, 2020

1 There is a video narrated by a woman who is a black professor (specialist in black history) explaining the history of the Democrat party. Nothing she said was untrue, nothing distorted – just the unvarnished historical facts. The person I know, after viewing the video histrionically exclaimed, “I can’t believe it! She literally said everything backwards!”

2 Inured: in•ure ĭn-yoo͝r′ – transitive verb “To habituate to something undesirable, especially by prolonged subjection; accustom.”

Book Review

A Review: “The Man of Her Dreams, the Woman of His,”

by Kathy & Joel Davisson.

I used to think I understood how to “filter” out the problem (and my desire to fix the problem) from the words a woman spoke, and that I would be able to focus on the underlying emotions to hear the real meaning behind the words. I was wrong.

The Davissons made it clear that men are required listen to “how” a woman speaks and not the actual words assigned to conversation. They are silent regarding the importance of reciprocity, namely that both men and women must listen with care and in love. For instance, they never say women have faults or problems that contribute to the stress in a marriage. This egregious omission implies women are lie-detectors, purity inspectors, faultless and innocent and have no problems (except the Neanderthal in the room). All trouble in a marriage is the man’s – so they think.

It is impossible for women not to bear some fault for the problems of a marriage, in how they approach men, how they communicate, and so on. If, as they assert, it is important that men meet women at their point of need, then this too is true (according to Podesta) of me, of all men, and YES, of all women. Every human being has the responsibility to meet the other person at their greatest point of need. In fact, this is an entirely biblical approach to marriage. Quite unlike the Davissons, who seek to blame only the man when this doesn’t happen.

The Davissons deny that women need to be more open to saying what she needs. In this I agree with Connie Podesta, and say that the Davissons are very wrong. Podesta says that men are better at getting their emotional needs met because we just say what we want. Women don’t. Women walk around an issue, they don’t just come out and say what they mean, and they have to learn to do so.

Podesta cited an example. Imagine a man and woman on a long drive. He’s hungry, more than hungry. He sees a sign that says, “Food Next Exit.” He turns, drives to the nearest fast food place, orders a burger, gets a drink. Back in the car. On the road again. Nine, ten minutes.

Now imagine she’s hungry, seeing the same sign, she turns to him and asks, “Honey? Are you hungry?” He thinks about it and says, “No. I’m not. Thanks for asking.” Keeps driving and passes the exit. Next food is 78 miles. She becomes upset that he did not know she was hungry. She pouts. She gives him the silent treatment, which is a big mistake. According to Podesta it takes the average man one hour to realize he’s not being spoken to. So… another hour goes by, then she gives a loud sigh. No answer from him. Another hour and now she hits or smacks something, so then he has to ask, “Honey? Whats wrong.”

The point to all this is IF SHE’D BEEN MORE DIRECT, there would have been no problem. The point is NOT-he should just know what she wants, because no one can know the unspoken, unknown words in some one else’s heart.

The human mind has been compared (by Podesta and others) to a computer. It is the most complex, orderly arrangement of matter in the universe. YET…. no computer can give an answer to data not programmed into it, nor can a male mind act on female words NOT SPOKEN. According to Podesta, the average male mind just does not wonder what a woman thinks inside her heart, because the average male is very literal. As in the road rage example above, if she is quiet, he thinks, “This is great. We’re here together, we don’t need to talk.” In other words, his actions are based on what he can sense, and thus he believes they are connecting on a level so deep words are not necessary. He is wrong precisely because she has with held vital information.

This is something the Davissons don’t seem to understand. Both men and women are responsible for accurate communiciation if they want their lives to remain entwined together in proper relationship. Both men and women need to communicate effectively – one alone is not enough. The Davissons place the entire load on the man for the mistakes of the couple – as if the woman has no standing before Messiah for her own actions, or understanding to make this possible. They underestimate women.

The Davissons’ book, like the leaven of the Pharisees, is dangerous to read without a real knowledge of the word of G-d. Where they discuss Greek, when they discuss the meanings and usage of a word they are correct, BUT the conclusion they draw from their study is wrong. Women are far more sensitive to unspoken truth, to sub-vocal communication than men, sensing things that men miss entirely, and women act on a level of intuitiveness that most men find absolutely baffling – but this does NOT mean women have a built in marriage manual, anymore than men have a built in “how to” or fix it manual. Explaining why Davissons think this is difficult, even if they come close to the truth, they keep missing it. And in missing it obscure some simple basic facts about human needs.

We all come equipped with some pretty basic needs, food, comfort, shelter, love, affection, and so on… nothing inside us is built to know how to accomplish these complex tasks without instructions, and marriage is as complex as it gets in our world. Though women are more attuned to relationship matters, they don’t have a personal indwelling of the Holy Book of Matrimony. If they did, they’d read the part that says men need straightforward (verbal) communication, men need to feel respected more than they want love (if forced to choose between them), men need the reassurance that she admires him for himself (just watch any little boy ask his Mom to “feel my muscle” as he holds up his arm). Yes, men have needs too… and the Davissons seem to miss out on that message, too.

They (the Davissons) seem to think that women are holy and sacred and it is mundane and profane men who miss out on the message of G-d in a holy marriage. Yet, I read passages in other books, other testimonies of restoration, other websites, and in scripture, which more accurately paint a picture where BOTH men and women are responsible for their marriage. If it succeeds, or fails, both bear the praise or the blame. The following quote, written by Erin Thiele, illustrates this point;

It is the same with all who find their marriages in shambles or completely destroyed, including you. You will soon find, if you are not aware of it yet, that it is not just your husband who violated God’s principles. You will find, as I did, that you have done much to contribute to the destruction of your marriage. This understanding will be the turning point as you accept and look at your sins only, not your husband’s (italics added.)

https://hopeatlast.com/c1/d1-chapter-1-my-beloved/

This failure to recognize her own sins, failure to seek salvation in Messiah was what doomed her.

Another real danger of the Davissons’ book is that they stress the “if” factor; if you do not believe as they do you cannot restore your marriage. Yet, it is very clear from the testimonies of many women that the Davissons view is not the only one, nor (in my opinion, is their example anything more than what worked for them).

The problem here is the same as the following example; I knew a couple with four naturally compliant children. Great kids who’d do whatever was asked of them with no disobedience. If you guessed the couple began to give advice on child rearing to every one else around them, you are right, and much to their annoyance. Their fifth child was a different spirit entirely. Constantly asking why, constantly looking for loopholes, constantly upsetting their apple cart. They stopped giving advice.

It is obvious from the examples (cited in other paragraphs above) that women, as well as men, have problems. Consider the following (from Thiele);

The Lord showed me that I had violated many of the principles of marriage, and He also showed me other sins that I was unaware of or had never dealt with (by repenting of them). All of these sins and violations led to the destruction of my marriage.

https://hopeatlast.com/c1/d1-chapter-1-my-beloved/

Thiele admits to having violated principles of marriage (relationship building principles) and had hidden sins, which she buried, or ignored, or pretended to resolve, but had not worked on to them to repent… where repent has the meaning of… to feel regret or contrition, to change one’s mind, or to feel sorrow, and/or regret, but also to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life. And if this is not clear enough, repentance also includes restoration:TO RETURN what was stolen, rebuild the relationship.

Scripturally, when one repents it is as Zaccheus repented – to feel sorrow, to change your mind about the sin, to actively seek to amend (fix, repair, restore) the conditions brought about by the sin, and return in larger measure that which was stolen. In a marriage it means to accept your sin, stop blaming your spouse for those sins, to repent of those sins which caused the separation, and to go home again. It DOES NOT mean to remarry in a final act of rebellion and desert your spouse FOREVER. Nor does it mean to stay single till your spouse gives up. If neither of you have remarried, it means to remarry each other.

There are many sins one may not repair; murder, mayhem, sexual sins… which have unalterable consequences (death of a loved one, loss of a limb, pregnancy, STDs), but marriage is unique in that the prodigal has every opportunity to turn it around and return to the husband/wife of their youth…. if they will listen to the Spirit of G-d and not to human reasoning and sectarian interpretations of the Word. It is also a uniquely human, G-d ordained organism within which to raise children.

(This requires more in the way of explanation. It is true if you can apologize to one you harm, pay back their losses, replace their property, and so on.. but restoring the loss of security, or of safety is not as easy. Nothing you can do will fix that because that is entirely up to the one you harmed. In marriage, the apology, the loss, the theft of security is still up to the one you harmed, but YOU are the property (1 Corinthians 7:4), and YOU can restore that loss by going home. The restoration of emotional, spiritual, or internal losses will be difficult, but in the end it works better than giving back physical goods. Bear in mind this does NOT mean going back to any form of abuse!)

Lysa TeraKeurst, like Podesta, recognizes that the truth about marriage is a far distant place from the Davissons. Read the following with quotes from Lysa taken from an article (web site follows) by Carol Heffernan, which illustrate this point;

“I went into marriage thinking of all I was going to get out of it, not of all that I had to give another person,” Lysa admits. “To be honest, Art and I were very selfish in our approach to marriage.”

Another problem in their relationship was expectations that went both unmentioned and unfulfilled. Lysa emphasizes having open and honest conversations about expectations, saying, “You cannot possibly meet the expectations of another person if you don’t know what they are.”

“A lot of women make the mistake of placing their children above their husband, and the children become more important. It’s a good thing for a mom to have the desire to really love her children, but setting her husband aside is a great disservice to her family,” she says, (emphasis added).

From http://www.family.org/marriage/a000001137.cfm (Link no longer exists)

Marriage is all about shared responsibilities, not about blaming the man for not following a hidden marriage manual placed inside a woman as the Davissons assert so often. Yet, this approach worked for the Davissons despite their ridiculous rhetoric. It worked because BOTH took responsibility for the marriage.

A decided down side of their book is (leaven of the Pharisees) that they are both in agreement that the man is totally at fault. Though, as I said, this works for them, advice like this could and probably will push a fragile marriage over the edge of divorce. She blames him, he blames her, and they (or one of them) finds the Davissons’ book, a book which places the blame for the destruction of the marriage solely on the husband. A normal human, pushed to the limit, looking for a way out, would grasp this false straw for survival and then blame him. A good man convicted of his sin in his marriage may come to believe he alone is at fault. In either event, this is a recipe for the death of a marriage.

As I said earlier, there is a lot of good in the Davissons’ book, but you have to read it AFTER you have read up in the Word of G-d. Be strong in the might of the L-rd in order to discern where the drek in the book must be ignored. So, if you read the Davissons’ book to find help for your marriage do so with caution, and do NOT let the leaven of legalism (of men bashing, or casting blame) pierce the armor of light with which you must clothe yourself to remain in the gap for your marriage, because marriage is about more than making us happy, it is to make us holy.

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Edited: August 12, 2020

Marriage No More? Part 2

I used to know a woman a believer in the L-rd, (I have to wonder how much difference there is in the quality of faith) who related a story to me about a man whose wife sued him for divorce. While they were separated he would drive by her house calling out to G-d and crying, “L-rd save my marriage.”  When the divorce was granted he stopped praying and let go. She said that sometimes G-d wants divorce because He is working in an individual’s heart. She left out a great deal in that short story.

What she left out was that the word for echad is one that means “unified” but more, it implies a bond that is like glue, or better, welded where the joining is body, soul, spirit. One. The same word is used to speak of G-d as one, echad. For instance, the Word [Mattityahu (Matt) 19] speaks volumes, but two things of the many it discusses stand out; an unbeliever may leave and the believer is not bound (enslaved), and when two believers marry – DO NOT divorce; a command of G-d.

We All Fail and Are Weak

The things is do we fail and are weak and therefore sin, or do we live in deliberate sin and fail because we choose to do so. There are distinct differences in these two positions. The saint of G-d may fail because he/she is weak, but that is different than outright rebellious celebration of sin. We are the righteousness of Maschiach, clean before a Holy G-d. And the prayers of a righteous man (woman) are mighty. Being in Yeshua is win/win.

So when she told the story she didn’t say is this an unbelieving wife? If she was a believer, was he? If both were and he stopped praying then he was sinning [Yakov (James) 4:17]. Lies can come out of just not saying enough.

When is Sin Only Weakness

If a believer divorces a believer, the follow up with Matthew 19 is to remain single and do not remarry, or reconcile. Why would a believer choose what one could only assume is the lesser of two evils, so to speak. It is as they say, “I choose to divorce and stay unmarried.” But why? What is greater than the fear of the L-rd? What fear drives a believer to divorce in the clear light of the command to not divorce?

What if he or she is so wrapped up in their own issues which end up hurting the marriage? What if they feel compelled to divorce to either, stay away from the pain, or keep their pain away from their spouse? Both are very real issues. For the first I’d say, why did you NOT involve your spouse or engage them enough to let them into your private world?

For instance; if you have health issues, did they go with you to counseling or to the doctor? Did you invite them and they refused? In the second instance, were they divorcing to save their spouse what they thought, perhaps, was years of their own agony as they battled either mental or physical illness? I say invite them in and find out what they do. If this drives them to divorce you (as perhaps you feared) it is a shame on them and not you.

When Two Walk Together

If they remain the scripture says in Ephesians 4 two can keep each other warm, and a cord of three strands is not easily broken. Don’t divorce someone because you are trying to spare them pain. They married you for better or for worse. Evidence proves that after 5 years people who stick to their marriage VASTLY improve compared to those who divorce and remarry, and are far happier and rate their marriage as high quality compared to those who take their baggage in divorce.

In marriages where they do nothing but stubbornly cling to each other, five years later their marriage is better than those who divorce and remarry. In marriages of faith where they go to counseling religiously (pun intended), they are closer and happier together than those who divorce and either remain single or remarry. The common factor is staying together, and it doesn’t matter if they are believers or non-believer, of the faith or pagan. Staying together and relying on each other is the key, and I have to believe, because G-d designed marriage (and hates divorce) He is in all marriages and will bless them as they struggle to remain married.

My goal is to remain, to accept the struggles of life and love my spouse with all of my being; body, soul and spirit. That involves struggle, and certainly a great deal of grace, forgiveness, respect and love. If your spouse is not worth the effort of staying married (when G-d says they are) then reconsider why you married them, who changed? And if you decide on divorce, then was that change what G-d truly wants?

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Edited: June 28, 2020

Marriage No More? Part 1

It occurs to me that the focus of this website is too narrow. Marriage. Life and our relationships are more than just marriage. Singles have a relationship with G0d. Children have a relationship with G0d. Widows and widowers have a relationship with G0d. Did I leave anyone out? Thus expanding this site to include singles means letting ALL who come here and read, that marriage is G-d’s design for human beings. BUT having said that, not all of us have to be married.

While I will always value the topic of marriage, since G-d laid it on my heart, I may occasionally to expand these pages to deal with subjects related to our relationship with Abba Father, through the Spirit and in Yeshua haMaschiach both as if to singles, where it applies, and especially to those married.

My belief is the people prone to believe that G-d, the Holy Spirit, or a dream of a loved one (alive or dead) have fragile ego’s and a fragile psyche and will go to any length to stop the pain of sin, any length except obedience. In this case, the pain is G-d’s Spirit convicting them of sin. The same may be said of singles; they too may fall for this deceptive spirit and take actions not in accordance with the Word.

G0d’s promises are IF/THEN. IF you follow His ways, THEN He rewards you. IF you don’t follow His ways, tTHEN He allows things in your life that may hurt. Yet even this is His hand of discipline reaching out to you. My wife came home. I had nothing to do with it. I had to stop praying she would come home and had to pray for her safety, welfare, for blessings on her. I had to give up on restoration and give in to a Holy G0d!

This is for all who believe!

Shalom

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Edited: June 28, 2020

 

Marriage and Love

Love is not something you experience like feelings that come and go, love is a commitment, a firmness of purpose, a decision you make. True love unites, true love binds, you are echad (welded soul to soul) with another person in sickness and health; until death do you part.  Love is an action word, love is a verb, love is a challenge that you demonstrate day by day.

Love is not a feeling precisely because feelings are ephemeral and as intransigent as the wind.  To define love as a feeling is to deny the reality of the commitment, the covenant relationship you promised to honor for life. The reality is that love is not only a decision, a firmness of purpose, but true love is a garden, maturing with time, needing constant care and watering. The responsibility to tend the garden is yours and your spouses through a lifelong commitment.

True Love and Faith

True love is like true faith in the Father, without works, it dies. True faith exists not because of feelings or emotions, but is a reality that exists unseen and unfeeling, it just is. The commitment to true faith and true love exists whether your feelings or emotions agree; the covenant of marriage means you must love this person you have committed to for life. In this way, being echad, you resolve to fulfill your purpose because you are as one before the L-rd.

Like the seasons we use to track the passage of time, true love also tracks over time. The difference is that true love does not change or waiver, just as true faith does not change or waiver. What changes there are come with physical age, and health, and in various other life circumstances, but the true love underlying the relationship remains, a firm resolve to love for life. True love is like the steel structure of a skyscraper, bearing the weight of the changing seasons of life.

Marriage and Prayer

An integrally important part of marriage is to pray for one another. The following prayer is only a template to help you understand the reality of your commitment to another person in love and in marriage. You may customize this prayer to suit your life’s purposes.

Blessed are You L0RD our G-d, King of the universe, who created all things for your glory and who created male and female in Your image and in Your likeness.  I pray that my commitment to true love for my husband/wife will weather the seasons of life’s changes. I willingly bind myself to my husband/wife to honor You L-rd, to bring glory to the Father of Light in whom there is no shadow of change nor darkness.

Let the glorious light of Maschiach be the witness to my true love commitment to my husband/wife for life. Grant me the supernatural ability to show true love to my husband/wife just as you demonstrated your commitment to obey the Father through your life, death and resurrection. I glorify you L-rd in my marriage as I glorify you in my life. Father I ask you in the name of Yeshua haMaschiach (Jesus Christ) to direct my feelings and emotions in support of my marriage, to guide my heart into your true love for my husband/wife.

All glory, honor and praise is yours oh L-rd. In You we are one, welded together body and soul for life. By faith and for your purposes our marriage will continually conform to the image of Your Son, whose blood was spilled to redeem us. By faith we will grow in true love and commitment one to the other for life. By faith we support and challenge one another to walk in Your ways, oh L-rd. By faith we shall remain echad so long as we both do breathe.

I make this commitment without reservation to support, defend, and honor my husband/wife before all others for life – in the name of your son, Yeshua haMaschiach, I pray. Amen.

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Resources:   

http://spiritualgiftstoday.com/divorce-god-can-save-your-marriage/

http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Blessings/Special_Events/Wedding_Blessings/wedding_blessings.html

Edited: June 28, 2020

Marriage Success and Failure

Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin. Mishle (Proverbs) 24:16

Have you ever had a relationship in which you think too much is at stake to make a mistake? There are mistakes and there are mistakes. In the first case there are mistakes made because of the nature of the person. Armando Ramos, of the BTG Movement*, holds there is a difference between habitual sin and sin because of weakness. In the first instance the sin is committed habitually by those who do not care what happens and don’t care if they sin against the L-rd, and in the second instance, flawed every day people who desperately want to please the L-rd and do things right, fail through weaknesses, and sin. Ramos notes that sin of the believer is the second sort.

Target Practice

The word sin means to miss the mark, failure to achieve the target. The failure is a sin, but the good news is, Maschiach paid the penalty for our weaknesses and sin. We are forgiven. We are clean. We are pure.  Don’t get hung up on perfection and doing everything 100 per cent right. No single human being is that exacting in execution. Famed investor Warren Buffet said, “I would never get too hung up on mistakes. I know a lot of people who really agonize over them, it just isn’t worth it. Tomorrow’s another day, just go on to the next thing.”

If you apply this principle, it doesn’t mean you don’t care for the consequences of a mistake or of sin, it means that we’ve been forgiven, and heed the advice of Shlomo (Solomon), wisest man to ever live, “as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.” Learn from the mistake and move on. Then forget the failure, don’t relive it, don’t clutch the failure as a badge of honor for all to see.  Don’t let that failure define you, just move on, do something new with what you learned.

Success

Gary Vaynerchuk (Entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, and internet personality) was asked about his success, “How much of that is luck vs preparation. What do you do when you make a mistake?” His answer is revealing, “I did everything wrong, It’s just that I can’t recall. I am moving on to the next thing. Dwelling on what you f—-d up on is the quickest way for the next thing not to work.”

The key point to understand is you are going to make mistakes. Some will be small mistakes, and some will be larger. In order to grow and mature, learn from your mistake, don’t repeat the same mistake. These men, speaking as businessmen and about business success related failure as something to learn from, not relive. Vaynerchuk added, “If you’re worried about your own mistakes you’ve already lost.”

Mistakes and Marriage

Research has demonstrated that there are two responses to mistakes. One is to learn from it and move on, and the other is a combination of different factors rolled into one. The combination is found in people who do not attempt to learn from their mistake and make it over and over again, people who are so distraught over their failure they never get to Vaynerchuk’ s “next thing, and people who are so intolerant of the mistakes of others they condemn them. All of these practices add insult to injury.

Adding these separate secondary factors to marriage is a recipe for disaster. Why don’t some spouses seem to learn from their mistakes? One obvious answer is they were never told. My first wife would become upset over something I’d done and not tell me, not aloud. I would find out when she wouldn’t speak to me, or would say something back to me (as if I’d deliberately sinned against her) starting an argument as I strove to find out what I ‘d done and she refused to tell me. Had she simply told me what I did, I would have gladly asked for help in avoiding the behavior for her benefit. And my then wife had a habit of rehashing failure in her mind and of assuming I knew my mistake, my sin.

By not telling me I fell into a pattern of making the same mistakes over and over. Am I exonerating myself? No. Simply put, I was and am dedicated enough that when I find out I screwed up I want a chance to fix it, to make things right. Finally, though my ex-spouse was not one to hold on for too very long to past mistakes, her mother was a champion of being wounded. Years after we were married my mother-in-law still held a grudge for the way we were married. She had wanted a society wedding with the huge cake, huge dress, huge everything and we denied her that by eloping. She was offended and unforgiving and made sure we knew it 15 years later, even to driving her daughter to despair.

Hope

The best way to move through life is in the mind of Yeshua. If your spouse makes a mistake, don’t save them up for a rainy day and unload on him or her. Practice forgiveness, practice mercy, and practice love.

Peter asked Yeshua how many times should a brother be forgiven?

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]

Essentially that means every time they repent, forgive and move on. An old parable goes something like this (and is good advice for marriage), “don’t sweat the small stuff, and they’re all small stuff.”

Are you sweating the small stuff in your marriage?

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

* BTG Movement has been shut down

Edited: June 28, 2020

Marriage and Prayer

What is it that we have to face day to day and night to night? What is it that causes most, if not all the pain and discomfort we face in life? We are servant-soldiers in a lost and dying world. We, who believe in Yeshua haMaschiach (Jesus Christ) are no longer of this world, but the world and all its evils are in the enemy’s control. We are thus agents of the G-d of creation, soldiers in an army. and WE ARE BEHIND ENEMY’S LINES.

Fortunately we have a radio to call in bombardments to take out enemy fortifications. That radio is prayer. And like any tool in our toolbox, or weapon in our arsenal prayer needs to be maintained and used correctly.

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Mattityahu (Matt) 7:7-8

These two verses promise that when we ask we will receive. What is more, however, is how to ask.

The reason you don’t have is that you don’t pray! 3 Or you pray and don’t receive, because you pray with the wrong motive, that of wanting to indulge your own desires. Ya’akov (Jas) 4:2b-3

Our motives for prayer have to be for the sake of His kingdom, not for desires of the flesh. We know that when our ways are pleasing to Him he gives us the things we need, in the flesh. So this verse is about discernment and wisdom to know the difference between daily needs and fleshly desires.

22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” [26] Mark 11:24

In the Kingdom mountains are reflective terminology of powers of the air, of principalities, and not just surface understanding. We do not make war against a mountain, but against spiritual forces of evil in dark places [Kehillah at Ephesus (Ephesians) 6:12]. And though the enemy uses people and places as tools for destruction, we are not to pray evil against them, but rather to pray against the dark forces surrounding (or even enfolding within) them.

So, what is the result of prayer as He wants us to pray? The battle is already won! The fight is over. The enemy has lost. But still we remain servant-soldiers behind enemy lines, and though defeated the enemy still seeks to do harm before final judgement. The only thing we need to do when praying for peace in our life and especially peace in marriage is to seek first G-d’s will for yourself. Where does G-d want you? Where are you at now? If you are not where Father G-d wants you, then you probably are not truly at peace.

Pray. Ask Abba Father for what is right to need, right to want.

Shalom!  שָׁלוֹם

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Edited: June 25, 2020

Restoration to Relationship

“Moreover, if your brother commits a sin against you, go and show him his fault — but privately, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. 16 If he doesn’t listen, take one or two others with you so that every accusation can be supported by the testimony of two or three witnesses.[b] 17 If he refuses to hear them, tell the congregation; and if he refuses to listen even to the congregation, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax-collector. [Mattityahu (Matthew) 18: 15-17

In my reading about successful marriage restoration after divorce the reunited say, especially the one who remained faithful to their vows (even after the divorce) the one thing that precipitated the restoration was when they started to pray for self-improvement. I don’t mean lose weight kind of improvement, but spiritual improvement. The “G-d make me the person you want me to be,” improvement.

Part of this was they stopped praying for G-d to change their missing spouse. You know? Stopped asking G-d to convict them of whatever sin they were in (adultery, alcoholism, drugs) and so on. When their focus became their relationship with G-d THEN the marriage was restored. In other words, they were praying for the good for both of them.

What does this mean? Does it mean amnesia about the missing spouse? Does it mean stop hurting when a thought of them comes up? If it does, how does one continue to pray for them without missing them? It means to pray for self and to trust that G-d is working in their spouse’s life to draw them to Himself before restoration.

Larry Crabb (2008) stated that;

… there is no incompatibility between our unquenchable longing for happiness and the command to worship God. But if God becomes the means and our happiness becomes the point, then we are self-obsessed pragmatists, not worshipers. When God is the point and obedience designed to bring him pleasure becomes the focus, then there will eventually be a fullness of joy that makes sin unthinkable and unappealing, thoroughly repulsive .

And

….if we’re living for the maximum sense of pleasurable satisfaction now, we will obey God only if he provides blessings that obedience allows us to continue enjoying. Take away the blessings and live life to gain satisfaction of even the noblest human desires and eventually you’ll find yourself moving away from God.

When a marriage gets hard, when the other person is grumpy, disagreeable or, when that other person is angry and bitter, or if one spouse has a mental incapacity of some type, or if one’s sense of happiness and fulfillment no longer comes from a difficult spouse or marriage — it is easy to blame G-d, or blame the other person for a lack of happiness, or fulfillment. If this is true, then it may explain the walk away spouse: One who lives life not for the L-rd, but for the happiness that comes through someone else, or through life’s experiences. When their life gets rough, or there are problems in marriage, then obedience becomes too difficult a task for the reward. Crabb (2008) writes about a time when those blessings seem far away saying,

…let just enough go wrong to reduce the pleasure you feel in them to a lesser intensity than the pleasure that comes from bagging Christian standards and doing whatever makes you feel alive, and doing wrong will seem justified, necessary, legitimate, reasonable. The wrong way will seem right. That scenario has led to countless divorces.

My heart tells me this is what happened in my former marriage to a wife whose life history had history mental instability (familial). Did I experience this? YES! Emphatically yes, but what saved me (so to speak) was a stubborn streak that said no matter what I wanted or felt I wanted or desired, I MUST OBEY. I must live by faith and believe even when there are no tangible rewards for obedience.

The real battle in the human soul that knows Yeshua is not to find a way to feel now what we long to feel in our inmost being, whether it’s love, meaning, or the satisfaction of living an other-centered life in the service of a cause greater than oneself. The real battle is to continue on in faithfulness even when faithfulness brings no immediate experience of joy, even when it brings no prospect of felt joy until heaven. That’s what it means to live by faith. That’s the message of Hebrews 11. That’s the cornerstone of the gospel, first declared by Habakkuk when he quoted G-d saying, “The just shall live by faith” (Hab. 2:4), then established by Rav Shaul as the core of the spiritual journey. (Emphasis added.)

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Edited: June 28, 2020

Marriage and Restoration

What forgiveness really means.

What does forgiveness really mean in the context of marriage?

Contrary to mere speculation and vox populi, divorce is not an answer to a problem marriage. The opposite is true; sticking to a marriage is many times better than divorce. Sociologist Linda Waite and a group of scholars from the University of Chicago tested the hypothesis that getting out of a troubled marriage meant being happier post-divorce, and what they discovered was that the two-thirds of people in troubled marriages who stayed married were far happier than the one-third who abandoned their marriage to divorce as little as five years later.

The fact is that unhappy marriages get happier, even when the couple involved does nothing but remain determined to stay married (e.g., no counseling, no extra efforts). The study found three areas in which these marriages improved. Couples determined to stay married…

…who did nothing else but stubbornly wait out the trouble spot were happier five years later.

…who actively worked on the marriage (arranging time together, counseling, seeking help or advice from family, friends, clergy, using the threat of divorce as a tool to pressure a spouse to stay, were far happier five years later.

…individuals determined to stay married who stopped believing their happiness was to be found in their spouse, stayed married and were far happier five years later.

The only similarity between the vast differences in the three areas above are that the people in the marriage were determined to stay married. What the study implied but did not state was the covenant nature of marriage. These were people who made a promise and kept it because of the value they gave to marriage, value which for believers derives from faith in Yeshua. This leads to a separate mute question, which group (believers v unbelievers) placed a higher value on marriage?

Though this seems to be an unrelated question, studies indicate that self identified Christian’s divorce rates are higher than self-identified non-Christians. This is only true among those who say they are believers, but make no effort to pursue the lifestyle. No church, no bible study, no prayer, and so on. Does this mean a non-believer places far more value on marriage than Christians? No. It means G-d created marriage and if a couple works at the marriage and their faith together they reap the benefits. But why should Christians, who are called to be examples of godliness to an unbelieving world act in a manner that brings discredit to G-d?

One answer is found in the concept of forgiveness; many Christians rate both self happiness and the shame of sin so high they are unwilling to forgive. It is as if they have identified with righteousness so much that when their spouse sins (even if they repent), or if they fall, their pride will not allow them to return to the marriage. Unbelievers may not be burdened by this type of guilt and are less likely to divorce.

Even though Yeshua haMashiach says, “if you love me obey my commands,” [Yochanan (John) 14:15], believers continue to sin by divorcing their mates. What command? The command to remain married, even if married to an unbeliever (Kehilah in Corinth I (1 Cor.) 7:10, 11].

How to Approach a Brother

Though rare, Church discipline may be applied to the unrepentant believing spouse.

“Moreover, if your brother commits a sin against you, go and show him his fault — but privately, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. 16 If he doesn’t listen, take one or two others with you so that every accusation can be supported by the testimony of two or three witnesses.[b] 17 If he refuses to hear them, tell the congregation; and if he refuses to listen even to the congregation, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax-collector. [Matityahu (Matthew) 18: 15-17

It is rightly said that the interaction must both be private (not broadcast) and pro-communication. If the prodigal spouse refuses to listen, then witnesses are involved. But modern life is dissimilar. It isn’t difficult to imagine having no church and no witnesses, yet if the witness were a committed, competent, Christian  counselor, would this not be apropos? I believe so. Counselors may act as both witness and guide to help a troubled marriage back on track.

It is interesting to note that those who avidly pursued divorce were not as happy even if they married again. They simply were not as happy as those who went through the dark times and won out to the light of a happy marriage. Other articles identified this trait and some have asserted this is because a willingness to divorce carries with it the attitude that the problem is not one’s own. In other words, “I am divorcing him because HE is the problem,” which is the unwillingness to look at one’s own problems. This attitude carries its own baggage and is then manifested in the new marriage.

There are scriptural reasons for this as well, Messiah said, “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who married the divorced woman commits adultery” [Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:32]. This demonstrates that there is no escaping G-d’s view of what marriage means. To divorce a spouse for ANY reason except adultery is to commit adultery, and to remarry afterwards is also adultery (when two believers are married).

G-d designed marriage to be for a lifetime and said, “…they shall become one flesh,” Beresheit (Genesis) 2:24. The word one is echad and it means an indivisible one. It is the word used to refer to the trinity and the oneness of G-d. If G-d is not separate, then the word means couples in a marriage are not separate. G-d literally sees the couple as one, which is why Rav Shaul (Paul) could write, “A wife is bound as long as her husband lives,” to which there is no exception save for the divorce for adultery (Matthew 5:32).

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Edited: June 28, 2020        

Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage – Part II

Watch yourselves, so that you won’t lose what you have worked for, but will receive your full reward. Everyone who goes ahead and does not remain true to what the Maschiach has taught does not know G0d. Those who remain true to his teaching have both the Father and the Son. 2 Yochanan (John) 1:8-9

There is a great deal of confusion following the dissolution or separation of a marriage. Some say both mean the end of marriage and go about their life, including remarriage. Some pray to G0d for restoration of their marriage. To fully understand the discussion one must understand that there are two types of marriages; marriage among unbelievers and believer’s marriage, but this discussion is not about the categories of marriage.

The discussion which follows is about believer’s marriage and includes only unbelieving marriage in the sense of a new believer who confesses faith in Yeshua haMaschich (Yochanan 3:16) while their spouse does not.

Standing for Marriage

Among those who pray for restoration are two groups; one is general and rather broad, and the other is legalistic and pedantic. The first group comprises believers and the scriptures they rely upon to grow in their faith despite their circumstances. The second group is comprised of the radical, or fundamentalist standers whose definition of marriage is legalistic. This group would proscribe remarriage to anyone but the first person one married; even to demanding one commits the sin of divorce after remarriage to return to the first spouse, a blatant sin in violation of scripture (G0d’s will) which they  redefine ignore [Devarim (Deut.) 24:4)].

1 Kehillah in Corinth (Corinthians) 7:15 says (in plain language) that a believer is not bound when an unbeliever departs. The word translated enslaved or bound is the Greek word for slave (δοῦλος, a slave with no rights). The believer is not a slave to the marriage and is allowed remarriage following divorce. Stern’s commentary on this verse similarly states “if the unbelieving spouse separates himself, the believing spouse can get a divorce and remarry.”  Further, Yeshua speaking to the P’rushim (Mattityahu 19: 8, 9) allowed for divorce in the event of adultery (even between two believers), meaning a second marriage for the innocent spouse is recognized.

To say that someone cannot remarry under those circumstances amounted to what scripture forbids, “They forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”                1 Timothy 4:3.

This discussion of marriage and divorce subsumes the concept of what is marriage and what is divorce. It is obvious that Rav Shaul (Paul) shifts the focus of 1 Corinthians at verse 15 and begins talking about marriages that are unequally yoked. The believer is not bound as a slave to the marriage. The believer has rights the unbeliever does not and is not enslaved to an unbeliever who sins in divorce (to) them. The corollary to not being bound is to be free. Yet, radical “standers” say if one’s spouse remarries we are to pray that the marriage falls apart and they remarry us. WHAT? But doesn’t D’Varim (Deuteronomy) 24:1-4 and Yirme’yahu (Jeremiah) 3 say this is forbidden? Yes, it does. They are acting as if the word of G0d changes with the pedantic moral code.

Engagement (betrothal)

Rav Shaul wrote that he had no command from the L0rd about virgins; therefore if Mattityahu 19 is about betrothal (as some have alleged), then scripture contradicts scripture. Why contradict? Rav Shaul writes that he has no command from the L0rd regarding virgins, and one would expect in the context of Israeli culture of the day a betrothed couple would both be virgins. If then Yeshua has taught that “except for adultery” He refers to a married couple. And if a woman puts her husband aside (using unilateral or no-fault divorce) she is at fault.

There are some who teach that what G0d hates is the setting aside of a lawful spouse. Historically what this refers to is when a man would set his wife on the street and take another wife. Without a legal document called a ‘get’ she would be forbidden to marry. So the setting aside that G0d hates more than divorce is divorcing her and refusing to give her documents to prove her status. Without the ‘get’ a divorced woman could not marry another man and would be forced to beg, or prostitute herself, or to marry a man who did not care it was adultery to marry her. With the ‘get’ she could remarry legally. How do we know that a divorced woman was out from under the authority of her once husband?

Marriage Covenant

A covenant in context of a marriage is far more inclusive and restrictive than a contract for services. A covenant is a vow to do a thing and not turn away from or retreat. And in marriage the covenant stands only to be broken upon the death of one partner. To vow a thing, especially in a covenant means to bind oneself to fulfilling the covenant until death. The vows in a covenant bind the partners, but in the event of divorce, where the one causing the divorce remarries, the vow is broken, the covenant is broken. G0d detests covenant breakers. No wonder then that Yeshua’s talmidim (disciples) said “If that is how things are between husband and wife, it would be better not to marry!”

Vows

Bamidbar (Numbers) 30:3-13, which deals with vows and who may make them, who may break them, and when those vows shall stand, clearly states that a divorced woman’s vows shall stand. If she leaves her husband in divorce her ‘husband’ may not revoke her vows because she is not under his headship any longer – he is no longer her husband. So if a prodigal spouse remarries the law and G0d recognizes that (though Hashem has hated the divorce) a new covenant has replaced the old. Therefore according to D’Varim 24:1-4 and Yirme’yahu 3, a woman remarried even she is subsequently divorced or widowed, may NOT return to her former husband.

The radical standers say when the prodigal remarries the one unlawfully divorced (believer) must remain single and pray that their spouse divorces their second husband/wife to remarry them. This is false. Even when they are both believers and the prodigal believer remarries in sin against G-d, the believer is free. Now if the prodigal knows this is sin and repents should they divorce their former adulterous partner? No, they are bound and should work on the marriage they are in.

Why Not Return

The Bible says that the marriage bed is pure, so how can this marriage bed be impure? It is not for they have entered into a new covenant. But, and this is important, the second marriage BEGAN in adultery, but does not continue to be adultery. Why? Rav Shaul wrote that the L0rd’s command to married believers is ‘do not divorce.’ Therefore, for a believer to divorce their spouse when commanded not to divorce their spouse is to break faith.

Why break faith twice? Why sin against a husband or wife the first time, remarry, and sin again against another spouse? This is especially important in understanding that G0d calls remarriage to a former spouse after an intervening marriage an abomination.

Two Believers

When both husband and wife are believers, the L0rd commands (so writes Rav Shaul), ‘do not divorce.’ If they divorce, remain single or be reconciled. One note of caution: this is a scheme that some evil people engage in; that is to willfully and willingly divorce their spouse. They are playing a waiting game wanting the unjustly divorced spouse to exhaust hope and remarry. Then the guilty spouse cries adultery to justify the divorce and remarriage. This is sin according to Ya’akov (James) 4:17 and will not provide cover for the greater sin. And greater it is for one has now sinned against G0d, against one’s self, and against the aggrieved spouse. To willingly put someone else into that sin, is greater sin. Greater because though they may acknowledge their sin against G0d, (absent a subsequent marriage) refusal to reconcile causes them to have sinned against themselves and against their spouse. And to know what to do and not do it is to sin [Ya’akov (James) 47].

I have heard some men and some women say they had begun to hate the spouse they separated from; to justify their sin. The flaw in this logic is G0d’s will for his children is for them to be known for their love [Yochanan (John) 13:35]. So, to begin to rationalize an emotional antipathy for a lawful spouse leading (to saying they) hate is sin, compounded upon sin. David sinned against a man by sleeping with his wife, then ordered the man into battle to die to cover then justify his sin (she’s a widow). Murder and divorce may not be that different, if it follows that the separated spouse uses fear, then anger, then hatred to justify what G0d condemns; 1 Yochanan 3:15, Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:17 and Mattityahu 5:21. Yet, it is clear that some do so out of a misplaced sense of self preservation, fight or flight, not trusting in Adonai.

Whose Command

The command from the L0rd cited by Rav Shaul is to not divorce. The higher law, the higher purpose in the command is love; G0d’s love for us, and our love for one another. What then does G0d want of us? For us to be like him (1 Yochanan 3:1-3). The ordinal nature of the command is to NOT DIVORCE; a strong negative command reframed as remain together, married. Yet, divorce does occur, even as among disobedient children. And when it does there is a principle which allows the believer to cope in the face of a faithless spouse. Kehillah in Corinth 10:13, which tells us that G0d will make the way of escape in accordance with His will. Thus the way of escape is to pray and hold fast to the L0rd. As G0d forgives you (while you wait and work on his purpose in your life) so too we must forgive and offer G0d’s love to the prodigal.

I understand there may be a circumstance in which a believer was deceived and divorced their spouse who (knowing the truth) waits for them to come to their senses, but I also know that the same circumstances may be that the spouse who caused the divorce is so hard hearted, so stubborn they may never reconcile thus forcing their spouse into a loveless, sexless life. The Bible does not speak to this specifically, but as noted above, it is sin for the one who initiated the divorce. To the innocent spouse left behind, the higher calling is forgiveness. G0dwill provide the way of escape.

What if…

What if a wife were a believer and divorced her believing husband and then never remarried? Should the believer wait? The answer is another question; what difference is a life without a spouse (who for stubbornness of heart lives in continuous disobedience) compared to a physical illness which leaves her unable to function as a wife? Coma. Paralysis. So on… One second, one minute after the “I do” the marriage is for life. Having made a vow, one which does not depend on the other party to keep their vow, because it is before and to the L0rd, one must remain faithful no matter the spiritual state of the prodigal. Keep your vows, don’t base keeping of them on external circumstances. This matter of a believing spouse and 1 Corinthians 7:15, where the believing spouse is NOT bound, makes the matter less complex for those for whom an unbelieving spouse departs. Less complex but not less painful to see a spouse depart in sin.

How do we know? The answer is not simple. For one who lives in persistent denial of G-d’s will, for one who lives in the sin of divorce and will not repent, to live in persistent sin as a lifestyle indicates, “…they went out from us because they were not of us, for if they had been of us they would have remained” (1 John 2:19). Though this talks about the spirit of anti-Messiah, what more anti-Messiah behavior can there be but to live in sin and refuse to reconcile or repent?

What G0d Hates

From the verses in Bamidbar (re: vows) and D’varim 24 and Yirme’yahu 3) we get a picture of divorce as something G0d hates, but G0d hates sin and made a way for us to repent and to be restored. If your prodigal spouse is a believer and has not repented, wait. G0dwill deal with her. How great will our reward be in the olam habbah (after life) to serve the L0rd, having given up those things we cannot keep? For the word of the L0rd is clear, remain single or be reconciled. However, if one’s prodigal is an unbeliever, 1 Corinthians 7:15 is clear, one is free if a prodigal causes the divorce. Waiting is not commanded for those who desire to marry again.

Mattityahu 18 gives clear directions when a “believer” sins and will not repent: Though in this case there is reason to doubt their salvation in the first place; would they not have repented if they were truly in Messiah?)

 15 If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

The point here is that this is a process for approaching a believing spouse who wants a divorce, initiates a divorce, or has divorced another believer. Finally, there is the matter of the higher calling in Messiah. Forgiveness. He gave all for us and did not repent of the shedding of blood to save us. Should we then also remain faithful, even to an unsaved spouse in hope that they may “come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil,” (2 Timothy 2:26)? I say yes, but there is no scriptural command to wait for an unbelieving spouse. However, the same is not true of two believing spouses, where one is in denial of G0d’s command. One must wait on the L0rd, and that is enough.

Reference:

Stern, David H. Jewish New Testament Commentary, 1992. Pg. 454

Dr. Ramón de Torres           

Edited: June 28, 2020