They Lie to God!
WHAT do you think of a person who makes strong promises to you, then later backs out? Do you forgive him if he makes the excuse that he did not know what he was getting into?
Just such a thing is being done more than 750,000 times each year in the United States. There are upward of 500,000 legal divorces granted per year, and 250,000 cases of desertion. One out of four marriages ends in divorce. The rate is also rising in other lands, with the nations of Christendom taking the lead.
Every known society has prescribed marriage as the normal and accepted way of expressing adult love and of establishing a family. From earliest times the marriage contract has been considered binding from a religious and moral standpoint as well as constituting a legal status or relationship not easily broken.
Though there is a trend today to do away with the taking of vows, Time magazine of July 4, 1969, reported: “However far-out some of today’s weddings tend to be, the need for ceremony remains deeply rooted.” And the majority still hold to the taking of vows that call for love, honor, respect, fidelity to one’s mate in sickness and health, “for better or for worse.” Whatever form the marriage may take, it is in effect a contract. In fact, the very carrying out of a formal ceremony makes it a contract, the witnesses of which are watching for its fulfillment.
Consequently, only liars will enter into a marriage lightly and without the intention of keeping its requirements. And those who break the marriage contract, or who violate the terms thereof to love, honor, respect, cherish and stick to the mate, are liars. They have lied to their mates and defrauded them, even though they may make the excuse that marriage was much more difficult than they had expected.
CHRISTENDOM LEADS IN LYING TO GOD
But worse than this, these persons are lying to God! The millions in Christendom, who claim to be Christian servants of God, and yet who are leading the world in divorces, separation suits, desertions and marital infidelity are the worst liars of all!
How can it be said that all these persons are lying to God? What does it mean for them? Well, many of them take the vows in religious ceremonies. These acknowledge God as a Witness and the One holding them to faithfulness to their vows. Also, many having a secular ceremony recognize the vows as taken before God. And those who do not make open recognition of God in the matter are nonetheless responsible before him. Why? Because they are God’s creatures, taking advantage of his institution of marriage, his way of enabling the human race to fill the earth.
Jesus Christ was authority for the statement that God was the Instituter and the Performer of the first marriage. Therefore all marriages are due to God’s provision. He is involved as the Watcher of the married pair, to see whether they will keep their vows, either expressed or implied, before him.—Matt. 19:4-6.
Just how binding does Jehovah consider the contract entered into by a person, particularly by one who considers himself a Christian? His Word says that those “false to agreements . . . are deserving of death.” If such a person does not repent, change his thinking and ways and seek forgiveness, he is in a very dangerous position.—Rom. 1:31, 32.
Jehovah’s attitude toward such liars, whose word means nothing, is shown in his dealing with ancient King Zedekiah of Judah. This king, by an oath in the name of God, had made a covenant to serve the king of Babylon. Even though the covenant was with a pagan king, Zedekiah actually lied before God, for he broke that oath and rebelled. For this God said to him: “As I am alive, . . . the one that despised his oath and that broke his covenant, . . . in the midst of Babylon he will die.”—Ezek. 17:16; 2 Chron. 36:13.
The one claiming to be a Christian who vows to love, honor, respect and stick faithfully to his or her marriage mate and who then shows indifference toward these vows is swearing in God’s name to a lie, a thing that incurs God’s burning anger. (Lev. 19:12) God hates liars (Prov. 6:16, 17), and lists unrepentant liars among those who will receive everlasting destruction: “But as for the cowards and those without faith and those who are disgusting in their filth and murderers and fornicators and those practicing spiritism and idolaters and all the liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur. This means the second death.”—Rev. 21:8.
So a contract or covenant made with another person, particularly the marriage covenant, is considered binding by God. Jesus pointed out that one cannot break up one’s marriage and go ahead as if nothing had happened. He said: “I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except on the ground of fornication, and marries another commits adultery.” (Matt. 19:9) So the man or woman who casts off a marriage mate, or even contemplates doing so, should think first, recognizing that God will not hold such a one guiltless for the terrible thing that he or she would thus do to the mate. God will require an accounting.—Heb. 4:13.
While many gain divorces on flimsy pretexts, there are other couples who continue to dwell together, but who nevertheless prove themselves liars by failing to respect and honor each other. They ignore the fact that they vowed, not merely to live together, but also to love each other. Does the man give more respect and attention to women other than his wife? Does the woman respect and obey her husband, or does she instead tear him down, or give more attention to other men? Does either of them speak evil of the other to persons outside? Does the husband do all he can to provide properly for his wife? Does the wife take proper care of things for the husband, such as his meals, keeping his clothing clean and pressed, ready for him to wear? Is there loud quarreling and fighting? Are there always words of sarcasm, complaint, criticism, even animosity, rather than words that upbuild, encourage and show love? Unless the couple is really making a strong and sincere effort to make the marriage successful and an honor to the One who instituted marriage, they have lied to God.
TAKE CARE THAT YOU ARE NOT LYING TO GOD
In view of the seriousness with which God looks upon the marriage arrangement and its vows, each married person who wants to please God and to get life under His arrangement should reappraise his situation. Be careful that you are not living a lie before God. Each should ask: “Am I exercising real love toward my mate? Am I showing deep respect? Do I do these things in favorable and unfavorable circumstances, ‘for better or for worse’?”
Those who keep their word before God will find happiness now in greater measure, and his favor of life as faithful keepers of their vows.