The RSVP

Jonathan and I received a wedding RSVP via e-mail a few weeks ago that deeply hurt us.  This person shared that their family would not be attending our wedding due to their belief that they consider my re-marriage adultery.  Verses like 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 and Matthew 19:8-9 were thrown in my face.

What the family didn’t know is that I e-mailed my Teaching Pastor here at Grace with those same verses when Jonathan and I began getting more serious over a year ago.  Tim explained that Paul was addressing the specific problem of Corinthian women who were leaving their husbands (oftentimes new Christians leaving their unbelieving spouces).  Back in the day, women were considered property, so even if they left, they were still “owned” by their husband.  Women legally couldn’t remarry since they always belonged to the husband. 

Today, we have the legal right to divorce, and (thankfully) I never was – nor am I now – the property of my ex-husband.  Perhaps the most appropriate sentences from my pastor’s response were, “I don’t believe that when we say that this verse in the Bible is addressing something far more complicated than we can see on the surface we are not running rough-shod over the Bible… This scripture, if used against you at this time in your life, would be taking something written for a specific time and place and using it as a sledge hammer in our time and place without understanding the principles behind the things Paul says.” 

I responded to the RSVP, explaining Tim’s insight into the cultural context of the Bible.  I further clarified that though the primary reason I left my ex-husband was due to abuse, he was guilty of sexual immorality in our marriage (part of the Matthew verse quoted).  His pornography problem, his raping me, and his near-arrest for voyeurism all qualify as sexual immorality, thus qualifying me for re-marriage.

The family never responded to my e-mail.  I’m offended that they assumed I ignored those verses in the Bible; hurt by their legalism and judgment; and angry that they are selfishly making this day about them, not about loving and supporting our marriage. But, frankly, if that’s their stance, then I don’t want them there.

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~ by Serena on June 7, 2011.

2 Responses to “The RSVP”

  1. I’m sorry you’ve run into this. I wish I could say I was more surprised. But it seems Christianity has been understood as a religion for many centuries (meaning that it’s primarily about following a list of rules to please God). I know for example, that when Jesus talks about divorce in the “Sermon on the Mount”, the point isn’t to make a new command/law/rule (commentaries agree on this point). What he was doing was pointing out that people weren’t necessarily sinless just because they were keeping the letter of the law. Divorce isn’t good or what God intends (as I’m sure you know), but that isn’t reason to stay in an abusive relationship. In other words, the letter of the law doesn’t trump love–seeking what is best for a person (this doesn’t necessarily equate to what they want), rather it’s the other way around.

  2. Three words. You. Go. Girl.

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