God is great at tackling hypocrisy in each one of us. We go to Him thinking we have finally ‘reached’. But under the glaring beauty of His Righteousness, we realize that the standards we have been using to measure our own progress, are faulty – they are not His. For being God, Sovereign, Holy, Almighty, He does not really think like us. He is not limited by our limitations.
So here I was thinking how far I have come in supporting the homes and marriages of…just about anyone I know who has a home or marriage. I have prayed, cried, believed, stood in the gap, declared and fled and hid in Him so I would not notice in an envious, lustful, covetous way – the beauty of my neighbors home lest I justify ‘tasting just a little bit’. And honestly speaking, I have done well… avoiding even those that are in relationships that are hurting, and perceive me as a ‘possible exit/way out’ of their misery.
Compared to one or two other people I know [and herein lies a trap/problem] I am doing well. So I come boldly into God’s Presence knowing it’s my time – and that I have done all within my strength and understanding [herein lies another trap] to earn the love of my spouse [dare I say it again…herein lies another trap/problem] or at least God’s attention so that He can bring the man of God and I within each other’s line of vision – at least [I am daring to say this again – another problem/trap].
So we have an eerily familiar conversation with Jesus –“Vip,” He says, “Go fetch your husband” and I respond like a woman of God in the scripture: “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” John 4:17 -18
I am perplexed to say the least. How can He say I have had five, and I have another one now that is borrowed/stolen/thugged/there unwittingly? Is He really Omniscient, all-knowing? Doesn’t He remember how I have walked alone, solitary, how many days and nights I have wept before Him because I was lonely, and in need of companionship at various levels? Is He not God? Did He throw those moments, along with my sins, into the sea of forgetfulness? But as my vain imaginations begin to get rather fantastically morbid I feel the gentle reigning in of His Character – He is Righteous and He does not lie. He does not think like Vip, His way of thinking is Higher… any wisdom I have is but a speck in the vastness of His. So I submit, ‘Speak Master, Your servant is listening…’ And He does.
Through the pain of the broken hearted He has allowed into my life, He opens my eyes. Through His scriptures and direct words, He uses His bulldozer…loving me, but hating the sin I have embraced. Wanting to bless me with my own spouse, yet hindered because the vacancy in this position is filled by the spouses of others, many, that my words and attitude have held captive to adulterous tendencies [these do not have to be sexual by the way. Any time there is no ‘leaving and cleaving’ on the part of one or both parties in a marriage, adultery already exists] – sin is sin, and we don’t understand God’s love for us, until we understand how much He hates sin, and is still able to love us while we are submerged in it: and even dares to go to hell, to bring us out. He speaks…
Immediately several scenes flash in my mind.
“I don’t think it is God’s will that *Kevin and *Anne get married” *Pamela said emphatically. “I had a dream about him and that girl he used to date, *Connie. Besides, she is the one we liked as a family. She comes from the right background. The background we understand.”
“That man of God is so handsome, how did he end up with such a simple woman. She is nice enough but not really what I expected him to end up with…”
“How can he go back to her, after all he told me about how terrible she was. And after I showed him how different from her I was.”
“ No one can love you like I do. God ahead and marry her/him, but you will remember me…when the storms begin to lash out at your home.”
“You made me pregnant and walked away to marry another/You dumped the baby we made together at my door in order to be free to pursue your dreams and marry another. You will never be happy.”
“He is my son/brother/cousin/relative/neighbor/deskie/ex: she is my daughter/sister/cousin/relative/neighbor/deskie/ex… and I know what s/he needs. S/he will come round…”
And many such cruel things we say and think. The bible is emphatic about the power of our words. Life and death lie within it. Whenever our attitudes or words suggest to another that we have a higher place in their homes, in their relationships, we are dishonoring the marriage bed – the wisdom of God in bringing these two together in HOLY MATRIMONY; we place a wedge between them in the spiritual realm. And the triumph we feel, any triumph we feel at the visible manifestations of these may mask the fact of bareness in our own lives. Of a thirst that cannot be quenched. It can be in our own relationships, with our spouses, with our children, with our colleagues at work: It can be in the patterns of rejection in our own life for God cannot be mocked.
‘Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.’ Galatians 6
It is true that sometimes the unions we are concerned about may be wrong. In the sense of their foundations. Someone makes up their mind that they no longer want to be single, and move outside of God’s path to find the first available ‘victim’. This person is hapless in the face of cunning and deception, and to the real intentions of their intended. “There is a need to be satisfied, and unfortunately for you, you are the one I have chosen… and am a skilled hunter/huntress. I have also called on adverse spiritual support to back up my quest in dismissing your God given purpose because my perceived one is greater – and since am so important, yours must bow and die…” Even here, we must be careful. God still cannot be mocked.
If God has called you Prophet Nathan, to go rebuke King David, He will provide the wisdom you need to bring the king back in right standing with Him. And it begins with your becoming a mirror, messenger, and not bringing yourself into the equation. This applies also when the beloved is someone coming to you for counsel over their hurting relationship – it is not an opportunity to satisfy your need – to help God by being the hankie the person needs by marrying them: or at least, supporting their quest to divorce themselves from the relationship with the person they are grieving. God cannot be mocked.
Ignorance No Excuse
“But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all yours will die.” To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated… Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls so they could have children again, for the LORD had closed up every womb in Abimelech’s household because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.” Genesis 20
So what if you did not know? There is mercy for you. I have learnt that God is not searching for a way to throw us out of relationship with Him…but has and will continue to pay greatly to ensure that we remain in relationship with Him. If we are willing. His hatred for sin, will not wane and there are consequences. But like Abimelech you may require the intervention of the Holy Spirit to redeem you from the effects of your sin. It is sin…even when you don’t know it is. Let go of another’s spouse. Each one of us was created for a purpose. When we marry, into a home that God Himself has built, those marriages build nations. If we stay within them. But when we marry outside of His plan, when we relate with those He did not intend for us to be with, we cause confusion, that ultimately brings down destinies, and nations. He will war with anyone that war’s against His purposes. God cannot be mocked.
Releasing to Receive…or Not…
So how do we correct these? Repent of your words, attitudes and actions. Speak into the relationships you destroyed by these, the Kingdom of God[Your Kingdom come, Your will be done – for this relationship – on earth as it is in Heaven]. Then sit still, and wait for His vindication. Know that He is true to His Character… if He fought for the marriage/s that you almost destroyed in your time of ignorance or rebellion, He will also fight for yours as you continue to wait on Him. No matter how long it takes. Remember, that holding someone else’ spouse, is not always only about sleeping with them…it includes all acts of selfishness and ill-will on our part. Being lonely, hungry and thirsty is not a valid reason from Heaven’s view. Your bareness will lift only as you walk in God’s standards for you, in His wisdom. So release that man or woman today for God cannot be mocked.
‘Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God…But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them…Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.’ Ephesians 5
*fictional names – representing you, others and myself….