[I intend] To daily position myself to be more influenced by the person of God rather than my surrounding culture, so that God’s standard becomes my standard of normal living, rather than the standard of my culture.
10The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”
Just a quick note on this passage. After reading some commentaries on bible.cc, I am astounded to see how attached to divorce the Jewish people of Jesus’ day were. They considered it a privilege of their civilization. Jesus’ words in opposition to divorce were very controversial. So much so, that the disciples’ evaluated Christ’s standard of marriage to mean that marriage is near impossible. ‘If we can’t divorce, then what’s the point of getting married?’ is the idea they convey.
Their cultural paradigm made them blind to something that seems simple to someone of my conditioning. The response to Jesus standard seems obvious to me; ‘stay with your wife, until you die’. Plain and simple. But because of the high level of divorce in the culture Jesus ministered to, they were blind to the simple solution.
Jesus goes on to explain that truly, there are some who are given grace and called, by natural limitations, inflicted limitations and by choice to stay abstinent for life for the sake of advancing of the Christ’s Kingdom. So for some, it really is better for them not to marry.
But it was the effect of the disciples cultural paradigm that really moved me when reading this passage. It made me ask the question: ‘What cultural paradigms do I see through, that limit my ability to live a normal life of worship?’ The disciples just about wrote marriage off because of their cultural paradigm clashed with God’s standard. God seemed too strict for normal life. Would I write normal life stuff off because of a cultural paradigm. Or the flip side of that is a bit scarier. Would I ever be tempted to ignore Christ’s command because it seemed too strict, when in fact my cultural paradigm all along has been so radically out of balance that I am blind to the truth of a normal life of worship?
I know both aspects are a reality for me, although I find myself more inclined toward the latter. I can only think of one solution: To daily position myself to be more influenced by the person of God rather than my surrounding culture, so that God’s standard becomes my standard of normal living, rather than the standard of my culture.