By Jenna Walmer
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Matthew 5: 27-37
This passage is difficult to discuss without being married, having divorced, or any experience in that area. However, Jesus addresses important lessons in these passages about marriage and commitment.
Jesus tells us that adultery is sin, in actions and in thoughts. In the Old Testament, it merely stated that breaking your promise to your spouse was wrong. However, Jesus says that the thought of it is wrong as well. To be faithful to your spouse requires honesty from the body and mind. Also, he suggests that if one has lustful thoughts, he should not have lustful actions too. Acting out these sinful desires is detrimental to marriages, relationships with God, and to oneself. It gives one an excuse to sin rather than stopping sinning. Also, wrongful actions turn people away from God.
Jesus then addresses divorce. Today, there is approximately fifty percent divorce rate in America. Divorce was also a problem in Jesus’ era too. In the Old Testament, God created marriage for a life time commitment. Jesus said that divorce is not excusable unless there is sexual immorality, which implies an immoral lifestyle. However, when a partner has been unfaithful, one should make every attempt to forgive and restore the relationship. This can apply to typical relationships as well. Always look to for ways to restore relationships rather than excuses to disband it.
Jesus emphasizes the importance of being truthful. It is crucial to keep oaths and promises. It builds relationships and trust with your peers. However, don’t make promises half-heartedly. Also, Jesus told his disciples not to utilize oaths because their word alone should be good enough. Get in the habit of being truthful so you don’t have to add, “I promise” to the end of statements.
Through this passage, Jesus accentuates the importance of being truthful to people, so you can gain trust and enhance relationships. He warns against the harms of divorcing and being unfaithful. The overlying theme of all of these passages is to build enough trust in your relationships so you don’t have to question faithfulness and consider divorce. In the upcoming weeks, try to improve your relationships by being honest to your peers.
Jenna Walmer is from Lancaster County and is currently in 12th grade. In school, she loves to research historical events. If she were to live in a specific time period, she would want to be a hippie and live in the 60s or 70s. Her favorite past times are swimming and playing her trombone. If you want to know more about her random life, follow her on twitter: @jaymarie2100
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