When Promises Are Broken
- You’ve been asked by the editor of a publication entitled “Vibrant Family” to write an article on “The top five reasons marriages fail.” What five points would you construct your article around?
Read: Matthew 5:27-37
- What, according to Jesus, is the full meaning of the 7th Commandment: “Do not commit adultery” (v.27-28)?
- Someone once compared lust to “a cannibal committing suicide by nibbling on himself” (Calvin Miller, “A Requiem for Love,” Christianity Today 34, no.2). How have you seen the destructive nature of lust in your life and in the lives of others? Where do you see it manifested in our culture today?
- Some Christians have taken v.29-30 literally and have mutilated their bodies. How do you think Jesus intends us to understand the warnings He gives in these verses? In what situations do you think you need to “gouge out an eye” or “cut off a hand”?
- Take a moment and ask God’s Spirit to help you get rid of anything in your life that causes you to sin and ask God’s Spirit to assist you in obeying Him in your attitudes as well as your actions.
- In view of v.31-32, we need to know that Rabbi Shammai taught that divorce was permitted only in extreme cases while Rabbi Hillel taught that it was allowed for “any and every reason.” How does this help us understand the easy divorce culture that Jesus took on in His day? What kind of impact do you think getting divorced so easily had on the social fabric of Jesus’ day?
- How does Jesus’ teaching contrast with today’s views you and your peers have held concerning marriage and divorce? In what case is divorce allowable according to Jesus? In your opinion, is a marriage salvageable in such an instance? Why or why not?
- How might the issue of oaths and vows be connected to the topic of lust, marriage and divorce (v.33-37)? The Pharisees had elaborate formulas for oaths, with some being binding and some not (see Matt. 23:16-22). Why is Jesus opposed to oaths? Does this mean, for example, that we should refuse to give evidence under oath in a court of law? State your reasons.
- Why should oaths be unnecessary for Jesus’ followers? If you are married, review the vows you have made with your spouse. Have you been faithful in keeping all the promises you made? If you are unmarried, consider your present sexual behavior. What is your responsibility toward a future spouse?
- Ask God’s Spirit to help you resist the pressures to compromise in marriage and speech. Having done that, work now on a different article, one entitled, “Five ways to make your marriage thrive.”
- What has God’s Spirit been saying to you through this study? What are you going to do about it?