Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Sabbath Was Made for Man

Posted by Hannah at 7:00 AM

Sabbath was made for Man
When I spoke about Mark 2.  Christ’s application of the Sabbath laws are very interesting. Technically…He broke the standards of the Sabbath Law as they were understood by the Legalists. To the accusations against Him Jesus said,

Mark 2:27
{2:27} And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath

I was reading a story from a man that was speaking about how the church teaches the laws of marriage and divorce - than of course remarriage.

To me this story made sense of how ridiculous we can get when  we are to rigid with no mercy. 

It can be said that man wasn’t made for the Law, but the Law made for man. Divorce is a stipulation of the Law. So too, like the Sabbath regulations, man wasn’t made to abide by divorce Law, but divorce Law was made for man.

How does this work? By principle. Divorce laws provided equity and justice in the dissolution of marriages. The writing of divorcement protected women from abuse and exploitation. In the New Covenant we are not bound by the Law. However, the principles of God’s Law are still very much alive. If a woman or her children are being abused physically, emotionally, or psychologically we should consider the Law’s purpose…the protection of women. The door swings both ways…sometimes it’s the protection of men.

Let’s say a woman or her children are being abused by her husband but he hasn’t committed adultery (or at least there isn’t any evidence for adultery). Under the traditional interpretation of biblical divorce laws this woman is forced to stay with this abuser…if she divorces him she is expected to live a single life with her children. If she remarries the church is forced to classify HER as an adulteress and dis-fellowship her. Should she seek a divorce and desire to remarry a godly man not only has she been abused by her ex-husband, but now she’s spiritually abused by the church…when she’s done nothing wrong. One thing I’ve noticed…the Legalist’s interpretation puts the victim in bondage and empowers the abuser. For example…
When we look at this man's comment about how Divorce Law was made for man - you have to stop and realize due to our sin this law was needed.  We speak of the world and how they try to find loop holes in things, and yet when Christians do not side with mercy, compassion, grace, etc but use the law ARE we NOT doing the same THING?

The Sabbath's intent was to be of service to the man, and not man created for the purpose of keeping the sabbath, no matter what. The sabbath is to serve the man, not man supposed to serve the sabbath.

Are we to follow the law in extreme fashions that we do empower abusers, and leave victims in bondage?  It seems we can't LOOK at circumstances, and use the discernment skills that the Lord has given us.  We ask ourselves is separating this couple biblical?  When we clearly see people being harmed why is it we struggle with what we know is right?

Why we question what is moral and ethical shows how we place the law before mercy - and in this case humans.  The law served no one - not the family nor the abuser.

We use the law to say things are 'biblical', and yet use no common sense or compassion towards them.  If that were correct way Jesus would be scolding those eating on the Sabbath, and not telling the extremists to basically GET WITH IT and GET REAL!

The strangest part to me?  Christians sit and struggle with the above story.   Do remember a while ago that Saddleback church got themselves into hot water, because of comments about this 'struggle'?
"I wish there were a third [reason for divorce] in Scripture, having been involved as a pastor with situations of abuse," Holladay said. "There is something in me that wishes there were a Bible verse that says, 'If they abuse you in this-and-such kind of way, then you have a right to leave them.'"
Do you know WHY these people struggle?  They place the law above all else.  They don't feel the freedom like Jesus did when he told his followers to eat the grain on the Sabbath, and how they were NOT doing anything wrong!

When men can't see what Jesus pointed out in this story?  They are not the leaders that they claim to be.  When people STRUGGLE with the thought having to leave families 'as is', because they realize the abuse that is happening...then side on 'law' instead of common sense and mercy?  They are going the same thing the Pharisees did in the story. 

It reminds me of the story in the bible about the master and his servants, and how he left on trip giving three of them 'talents' to work with in his absence.  The story is in Matthew 25:14-30.  As a small child this story kind of scared me, because at times I would do what was 'safe'.  I was so afraid of failing, and being reamed for this - and that I could picture myself placing those talents in the ground myself.  I would watch the others make a profit, but would be to scared to take that risk myself.

As I grew into maturity I realized there are times in which you must take a risk for the betterment.  We all must use discernment in circumstances, because one size doesn't always fit all.  Mr. Holladay like many others bury their talents in the ground, because its the 'safe' thing to do as they see it.  They 'wish' there was some form of rescue or mercy for abused parties.  WHY they feel that leaving victims in abusive circumstances would be 'biblical' is mind blowing.

You might think that fear and suspicion will keep you out of trouble, but really they’ll just cause you suffering and pain.  It this case?  For everyone involved.  You don’t need fear to avoid being a gullible idiot; for that you just need common sense.  To live a life of abundance, you must ultimately move beyond fear and work to create abundance for others.  Otherwise you’ll ultimately be cast out as worthless.

Mark 2:27
{2:27} And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.

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Anonymous said...


There ARE verses that say a woman can divorce for abuse, so Saddleback is simply ignorant.

Don Johnson

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post.

Two years ago, I was forced to "take a risk for the betterment" as you so beautifully put it. I knew that in leaving my abusive husband, I would also be leaving my church, which did not allow divorce, period.

Here is what it came down to: Nobody (except my church) expected me to take what he was disheing out. Nobody. Not my friends, my father, my community, not me myself, and most especially, I believe, not my heavenly Father. I wasn't made for that.

Regarding discernment, I was just reading the following verses this morning (and praying for more understanding about love + discernment):

And this I pray: that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight [that your love may display itself in greater depth of acquaintance and more comprehensive discernment], so that you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value [recognizing the highest and the best, and distinguishing the moral differences], and that you may be untainted and pure and unerring and blameless [so that with hearts sincere and certain and unsullied, you may approach] the day of Christ [not stumbling nor causing others to stumble].

(Philippians 1:9-10, Amplified)

thanks again,


Hannah Thomas on 7:30 AM said...

C- I'm so glad you recognized the circumstance for what it was. Most Christians will tell you that the Lord stands for proper morals, and all things that are ethical.

I wanted to put it a different way, and yet they get so confused over 'key' issues that are indeed a question of morals and ethics.

To me they do not understand 'key' principals of the faith, and our worth in the eyes of the Lord as you do.

I'm sending up a prayer of thanks for the people in your life, and your own skill of listening to the holy spirit telling you what the Lord had in mind for you. May the Lord keep you close, and continue to show you the worth he sees in you.

I pray each day for those that can't see as well. I pray that their eyes be opened, so they can show what our Lord would wish them to present.

Anonymous said...

Your argument about the Sabbath is exactly how I explain things to friends who ask about the permanence of marriage. I use the example of Jesus and the Sabbath to show that God prioritises people over institutions.

Like Anonymous above, I also find the greatest colluders of abuse within the church, which is highly disappointing when I have been active member of my church for many years. Yet now, because he acts all repentant, they come alongside of him and don't validate my past experience or current ongoing insidious covert abuse.

Even those who know of child abuse say that I have to remain married because God hates divorce. My nonbelieving family members think that any sensible person would have left years ago and can't believe how intimidated and suppressed I must have been. I dare not tell them that the overarching reason wasn't my fear of leaving, it was my irrational belief system, enabled by my faith community.

I don't want to keep complaining about my victimization by the church, I just wish there was something we could all do to educate church leaders. If all of us used our voices and intelligently and purposefully went about it, we could surely inundate churches with our stories and newfound beliefs about what the Bible really says about abuse in marriage.

Hannah Thomas on 11:14 AM said...

Anonymous 4:

Thank you for your note. There are many of us, and we will keep talking about it until they acknowledge us.

Its not enough to say 'I'm sorry', but you must acknowledge the sin - and turn against it. They not only harm the family, but the abusers with their actions.

Its not complaining when you speak of truth of your experience.

Waneta Dawn on 1:57 PM said...

Anonymous #2,
"And this I pray: that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight"

In abusive marriages, pastors use this passage against the abused person. If she (or he) would just abound in love toward the abuser, everything would be ok, and love would flourish. Because of love, the abused willingly, joyfully suffers at the hands of the abuser as a way of showing deep love.

Many women say the spiritual abuse from the church is more painful than the abuse from their husbands.

Thanks for this post, Hannah! You put it another way, showing how Jesus dealt with similar things, showing the underlying principle.

Anonymous #4
"Even those who know of child abuse say that I have to remain married because God hates divorce."

Isn't it sad that they totally miss the repeated times in the bible where it is clear that God hates violence? Just as he hates a spouse committing adultery so also he hates a spouse using violence. Church leaders are to be even tempered, not prone to violence, Ezekiel 18 lists the things God considers important, and not committing violence or being oppressive are on that list. Isaiah 58 also speaks against use of violence and oppression. There are many such lists as well as many lists of Godly characteristics. None of the lists of godly characteristics include controlling others or the use of violence, or oppression.

I am so glad you were able to take the blinders off and see clearly! That you got free! Be careful! they will try to confuse you and make you feel guilty and at fault. They will try to pull you back into their cage where there is "bad news for modern women." (pun intended)

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