Brain teaser #12

Posted: September 13, 2009 in Commentary, For sisters

The goal of this post is to make some sisters think, not to get sidetracked into a discussion about adultery.

Everyone’s heard “…whoever looks after a woman lustfully has committed adultery with her in his heart…….

Many Evangelicals are quick, then, to conclude that the lustful look is adultery, right? Well, yes and no. If you pressed them to come out and say that a woman can divorce her husband for this “lustful look” — as they would for the physical act — they would hem and haw and change the subject rather than directly answer this provocative question. This is because nearly every one of them intuitively understands that this passage is about either the nature of sin or the nature of the law. To even tread here, though, is to give someone an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to holiness or something by making sure to get a jab in about adultery. Such a one might be sidetracked by asking him (or her) if a man can divorce his wife for a “lustful look.” That might steady them up a moment or two. However this is all just warm up material….and thus we will pass by all this and get to my real topic for this posting….

Consider a woman who has a child out of wedlock, a believing sister. Is a believing man free to marry her, or must she be passed by because she has become spiritually one with someone to whom she is not married in the temporal and legal sense — the sense of the word “marriage” in the epistles?

How about a sister who has been one with someone, but has not borne a child?

I’m not looking for your help, here. I’m looking to make your brain cells turn over.

  1. The Librarian says:

    Huh. As a “sister”, well, um, huh.

    You know, there is the legalistic point of view which says she is ruined, spoiled, not worthy of a glance or conversation with a Godly man, let alone marriage. And just forget about joining the church’s Dorcas circle or women’s ministry. Because what could she possibly offer, other than contamination?

    And then there is Jesus, asking for water from a woman he just met at the local well… and falling into conversation with her about her husbands… and the man she is living with who is not her husband… and He doesn’t recoil and gasp “unclean!!!” at her. He just drinks water, and visits
    with her. No condemnation. No hellfire or brimstone. Just a conversation. I imagine her going back to her house, sitting down, and going “Huh. He is right. THIS isn’t right. There has to be something better.” And then she does better.

  2. Justin says:

    You should not prop such a women up with your own time and attention for one very important reason: that would be helping her avoid a reconciliation with the father of her child.

    This woman deserves little but condemnation for her choices, as not only is she failing the standards of religion, she is hurting her own child, who needs his father.

  3. Eimi says:

    I had a talk with my Aunt about marriage while vacationing in Florida. It is her opinion that “equally yolked” means that both man and woman are believers AND both have either been with someone or not been with anyone. I told her that ideally, everyone would save themselves for the person they marry, but that I think equally yolked means ONLY that both parties are believers.

    So, to answer your question, a believing man is free to marry a believing sister, child or no child, virgin or not.

    About the lustful look, that really made me think. I think it’s more about the nature of the sin than the nature of the law. Even so, if both lust and adultery are equally bad, then it would seem right that divorce for that reason is justified. But this doesn’t seem quite right. There seems to be something missing here…

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