Divorce is Not an Option
To us, however, divorce is the best option.
We are in a society that doesn't really know what commitment means - in relationships or in life in general.
You, as a Greek, have felt the pain of a lack of commitment in your fraternity or sorority. You see your brothers and sisters publicly committing themselves to your fraternity and sorority and to the ideals for which it stands. Then, perhaps after a semester, or after a year, they take off. They give up.
They break the commitment.
After the infatuation stage, they come to the conclusion that the fraternity or sorority can no longer meet their needs. They paid the fraternity or sorority like a prostitute - gaining a few short-term friendships and perhaps a few good parties and then take off.
Pain is echoed throughout the House. Everyone knows that this is not how it is supposed to be.
In Greek Houses, the word love gets tossed around so much - in dating relationships and in speaking of one's affections for their fraternity or sorority. The word love has come to mean a "feeling" rather than a "commitment". It is actually both. But, the feeling always follows the commitment.
We have all seen a guy who loves a girl, but then breaks up with her two months later. We have all seen a girl who loves her sorority, but then leaves after a semester. They had a feeling, but it didn't last.
There is confusion because love can mean different things. In the bible there are three types of love. The Greek word phileo means a companionship or friendship type of love. The Greek word eros means an admiring type of love. And lastly, the Greek word agape means an unconditional type of love.
When God says that he loves us, he is saying that he agapes us. He loves us without conditions. He loves us, even with all the junk in our lives, with all of our imperfections. This type of love is rooted in commitment.
God loved the Israelites, his bride, in an agape way.
One of my favorite bible stories is when God radically reveals his definition of commitment to his people.
He tells a guy named Hosea to marry an adulteress. He does this to give the Israelites an analogy of their relationship with him - Hosea representing God and the adulteress representing the Israelites.
Sounds like the abundant Christian life, doesn't it? How would you like to marry an unfaithful spouse so that God can use you as an example! But Hosea obeys.
After Hosea's wife showed continuous unfaithfulness, I'm sure that Hosea got ticked off. I'm sure that he wanted out on many occasions. I'm sure that divorce was on his mind.
But divorce was never on God's mind.
God said to Hosea, "Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods..." (Hosea 3:1)
This is unthinkable. God tells Hosea to agape his wife because God agapes the Israelites. Even after all of their sin, He still loves them unconditionally because he chose them first and has chosen to stick with them to the end.
Loving unconditionally is a rather hard thing to do in our fraternities and sororities. We all have those guys and those girls who continually mess up our image on campus. Whether it is a group of guys who get caught with drugs or a group of girls who get alcohol poisoning at a party, our love for them runs out quickly.
During my junior year, a few guys had been warned about smoking marijuana near our fraternity House. The President caught them a second time and decided to expel them on the spot. I couldn't have been happier with the decision. Everything inside of me wanted them out. Their lack of respect for the image of the fraternity angered me and I wanted them divorced from the group.
It is a lot easier to let go than to hold on. It is a lot easier to cut the rope than to pull someone up.
Loving conditionally means that you'll cut the rope if your brothers or sisters don't get their act together. Loving unconditionally means that your only option is to pull them up no matter how hard the task may be.
Some of us view the Ten Commandments as a threat to cut the rope. We think that God will let us go if we don't follow his rules to perfection.
IF we follow the rules
THEN God loves us and pulls us up
ELSE God doesn't love us and cuts the rope.
This perspective couldn't be more wrong. We know this because God had an infinite amount of chances to cut the rope on the Israelites but he didn't. So, if following the Ten Commandments wasn't a condition by which they were accepted, then what was the purpose?
I like to think of the Ten Commandments as marriage expectations.
God is essentially writing marriage vows for the relationship between him and his people. He is taking their relationship to a whole new level. He is saying, "If you do these things, you will stay under my protection and we will have great intimacy together. If you pursue life outside of this marriage, you will run into trouble all of your life."
The Israelites said, "We do. We do. We will love you and not love another." They publicly proclaimed their vows just like a husband and wife proclaim their vows on their wedding day.
But, repeating the same pattern throughout history, they cheat on God and run after other lovers. The Israelites proudly put "in a relationship with God" on their facebook profile and then continue to flirt with other gods and idols.
Even still, God does not divorce them. But, he allows the consequences to sink in and the Israelites experience great pain for hundreds of years.
After many years, when God is nowhere to be found, when it seems like he has taken off and deserted his bride, he does another unthinkable thing.
He shows up, in person, on earth.
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