William Wilberforce, the man who made the largest impact in abolishing slavery from England, is a hero to many because of the lives he saved. But, what many people do not know, is that slavery would have been abolished much earlier.
Wilberforce had been working for years to get an anti-slavery bill passed through the House of Commons. Finally, after all that work, he had the opportunity. In order for the bill to pass he needed a majority vote and after talking with his allies, he knew that he had just that.
The day came. This would be the day that slavery was abolished. But, as Wilberforce looked around the room, he noticed several of his allies missing. The anti-slavery bill was presented and was outvoted. Later on, Wilberforce found out what had happened.
Several of his allies had decided to take the day off. Some went to the local theatre because they had heard a spectacular play was going to be performed. Others sat at home and relaxed in their luxurious estates, deciding that today was a good day to take a rest. A few others decided to start their vacation. Every one of the missing men were out relaxing, vacationing or entertaining themselves while a bill to save thousands of live slipped through their fingers.
That is what happens when people who know to do good do nothing.
As humans, we have a stellar ability to look back at our forefathers and be astonished at the things they did and allowed, like slavery. We have no problem saying how terrible those things are and that we would never do things like that today. We all know and believe that slavery was such a terrible thing, I wonder what we are going to think about all the babies we have killed through abortion after it is abolished?
You show me a man who has committed his entire life to God. I mean 100% fully committed in every area of life and you will be showing me a man who still does not deserve heaven.
We really get caught up these days in checking ourselves against some imaginary standard of “I’m good enough.”
I know I have fallen prey to it. We may not think those exact words. They may sound more like, “I sure am glad I am not that bad.” Or,”at least I am not that bad.”
They all have the same underlying message: ” I’m not all that bad. God has accepted people way worse than me.”
One of my favorite preachers, Adrian Rogers, use to say that the Ten Commandments were like 10 links in a chain. Now imagine that you are hanging over a lake of lava and those 10 links are the only thing holding you from falling into that fiery lake.
Imagine if just one of those links broke. You would fall into the lava. It doesn’t matter which one or how badly it was broken. If one of them broke you would fall in.
That is how sin is. It doesn’t matter which one we break or how badly broken it is. If we break one, then we are just as bad off as if we broke them all. God sees sin as sin.
Yes, there are varying degrees of punishment of sin, and there are sins God hates more, but it is still sin. Think about that the next time you think what you have done isn’t “all that bad.”
Not too long ago, I saw someone ask a question on a business forum. The question went something like this:
My wife is not very supportive of my business I am running. She doesn’t take an interest in it and doesn’t like it when I talk about it. What should I do?
There were a few comments saying that they needed to talk it out, show the importance of the business, make compromises, etc. But, what shocked and disappointed me, was the rampant amount of people saying:
Get out of that relationship, man!
If she doesn’t respect your work, leave her!
Life is too short to be in that relationship, run as fast as you can away from her!
This was very disheartening.
We are raising a culture that is obsessed with instant gratification. If they can’t have it now and easy, they are out. This isn’t just rampant in the “young, new generation”. This is invading the entire culture. I know several adults and seniors who are obsessed with instant gratification. This is very clear in relationships.
Only about 30% of the divorces that occur in the US are enacted because of adultery. That means that over 500,000 divorces in the US alone are because of issues not related to adultery. To read more about adultery being the only accepted reason for divorce, please see click here. In fact, according to research done by over 190 CDFA professionals, 43% of divorces were because of “basic incompatibility”.
Basic incompatibility covers a wide range of reasons, none of which could not be worked out with some work, time and care. But, unfortunately, our culture praises a quick “get away” and “live your life for you” mentality. This is truly sad.
With the recent attention to the last post on divorce, The truth about divorce, several people brought up 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 saying that it gives another reason for divorce. Here are the verses from the King James Version:
1 Corinthians 7:10-16:
10 ¶ And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
It has often been said that we fail to understand key text in the Bible because we think it was written and said for our culture. It wasn’t. This verse was written to a Jewish culture. So, in order to understand what was said here, we need to see what was actually written; time to explore the Greek.
Throughout the New Testament, any time divorce is mentioned, they use the word “apoluo” which literally means “to free fully or (specifically) divorce”. It is a word that is used to describe liberty and the sending away of someone. In the above verses, however, the word “apoluo” is never used. The word used for these verses is “aphiemi” for “leave” and “put away” and “chorizo” for “depart”.
In verse 15, it says that if the unbeliever departs (chorizo), then “a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases”. Now, people say that this means that you can get a divorce. But, this was not the message.
In Jewish culture, if you wanted a divorce, you would have to give a bill of divorce to your wife, otherwise known as a get. If a get was not given, then the wife could not remarry. Now, this meant that if the husband went missing or was killed but they could not find the body, then the wife could not remarry because if her husband ever showed back up, then it would be an adulterous relationship. To combat this, Jewish men sometimes gave their wife a conditional get before going to war. That way, if they were never found, their wife could finish the divorce and get remarried.
Now, if a man left his wife and never gave her a get, she was considered “agunah” which literally means “anchored”. She could not get married without committing adultery and deeming her children as illegitimate. Agunah is a strong, strong word that is meant to very clearly illustrate the point of bondage to the wife and her kids if the husband should disappear or leave without giving a get. In verse 15, when Paul mentions “bondage”, we have a similarly strong word.
“Douloo” is a Greek word with the meaning of “enslave, be under bondage”. It comes from the Greek word for slave, “doulos”. If “agunah” had a Greek version, it would basically be this.
So, after all that above information, what are these verses saying?
Well, these verses are talking about if an unbeliever leaves their spouse without giving a divorce. No get. Just leaves or disappears. Paul’s response to this is to tell the spouse that they are not under bondage, or “agunah”. They can remarry.
So, when it all comes down to it, if you are married to an unbeliever (the word for unbeliever in this verse means someone who actively does not believe and does not claim to be saved), and they leave or disappear without giving any way for you to divorce, then the spouse is free from the marriage and can remarry. This is not divorce. This is releasing the spouse from a life of not being married if their spouse leaves forever or disappears.This might not seem like something all that important that Paul would have devote part of Scripture to it, but, in the people and times it was written, this was a very relevant issue.
In today’s American culture, if your spouse up and abandoned you without divorcing you, you would have to make reasonable measures to try and reach your spouse and if you couldn’t, then you would be able to divorce them without their say in the matter. So, in this case, with American culture, this verse does say that if your unbelieving (“unbelieving” being a keyword) spouse abandons you then you can get a divorce from them so that you can remarry. You are not under bondage in this case.