Here's this week's Bible study blog entry for i.ucc:
Why do we use the Bible to cut people down?
It’s too easy to look at the first part of this week’s reading from Mark 10:2-16 and think, Wow – Jesus hates divorced people!
Context is REALLY important here, however.
In Palestine at the time Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees, divorce was all about what the man wanted and what the man did to make the divorce happen. Women had no power in the situation. The Pharisees brought Jesus a question that was a trap. He couldn't answer it without angering some.
So he angered some. He asked them what the law of Moses said. Then he answered a different question -- without dealing with the legality of things. Jesus talked about the ideal for marriage. He talked about it in equal terms with men and women.
Equal terms in marriage and divorce – and the equality of children with adults. Jesus took the trap and showed the Pharisees and the disciples that marriage was intended to build up both of the people in the marriage. He showed the Pharisees and the disciples that their rules caused trouble when they sought to use them to take power and persecute someone else.
I don't think Jesus ever intended us to take this passage of scripture and shun or chastise people who have suffered through abuse or who have lived through divorce after failed marriages. I do think that Jesus wanted married couples to take their vows seriously and to live their lives loving each other and living at peace with one another.
No one is unimportant. Everyone is valuable.
And we all must stop scriptural abuse.