Sunday, September 11, 2011

Matthew 18 and Marriage

Many Christians are familiar with the following quote of Jesus' in Matthew 18.  But I have never heard of anyone using it in a marital situation.  My question is:  why not?

15"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector."

My mom's friend (I'll call her Veronica) from church is going through a very terrible divorce.  Veronica's husband (I'll call him Bob) had numerous affairs over the past 30+ years.  Two of the most recent affairs have been with a woman in foreign country while on a mission trip and with a woman young enough to be his granddaughter.  Veronica has been keeping all of this a secret for years because she wanted to save her marriage and help her husband.  While this is admirable, I think she might have had more success in those regards if she had told a couple of fellow Christians years ago and had them confront Bob.  If Bob did not listen to the friends, then taking the issue to the church does not seem uncalled for.  Then this sin could not have been hidden and who knows how many woman could have been saved from Bob's clutches. 

Yet I have never heard of anyone applying Matthew 18 to marriage problems.  But surely Bob sinned against Veronica.  So why do we never discuss following this plan with adultery problems or gambling problems or abusive situations or addiction problems?

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