1 Corinthians 7:8-16
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. 10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. 12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
As I reflect on this passage, there are two things that Paul focuses on that can be helpful to all believers and not only to the marriage relationship as this passage appears to focus on.
Firstly, Paul takes a direct command from God regarding divorce and says that it still applies to us today. Then secondly, he then proceeds to explain how to apply this, not as a command directly from God, but by using the wisdom that God has given to him and makes that clear as well.
But instead of focusing on the letter of the Law, Paul chose to focus on the heart of the Law. And it is this that can be applied to any relationship, not just the marriage relationship. Paul asks us the question, “Don’t you realise that your husbands/wives might be saved because of you?” In any relationship, whether it is marriage or friends or business, between saved and not saved, Paul would remind us that “Don’t you realise that they might be saved because of you?”
Whatever relationships we have, we as believers are to be an influence on their faith journey, as long as it is us influencing them towards faith, and not us being influenced away from God. We all need to have these relationships where we are influencing non-believers towards God, and while that is true, remain in that relationship. BUT, if a relationship is leading us away from God, away from faith, then let them go. Pray for them, but let them go.
Father, I thank you for ALL the relationships that we have, and I pray for those who are not saved, that we can be a part of their journey towards you. Let me not lose sight of your heart for all people.
Written by Andrew Martin