Reading the Bible With a Spiritual Rather Than a Natural Eye
I recently read an advice column where a single woman was asking the columnist whether she should continue seeing a man who did not have a job. What caught my eye about this piece were the comments that followed the article. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people misuse the Bible to suit their purposes. Sometimes intentionally and sometimes through ignorance, some of us have a knack for using God as an excuse for un-God like behavior.
First, I will begin by saying that I am not writing this piece because I am one of those women who is trying to defend a marriage to an unemployed man. My husband and I are both business owners. He is doing much better in his business than I am. I am really just getting started after leaving corporate, and it takes a while to build clientele as a solo attorney. Furthermore, the other parts of my business also will take time to grow into real revenue makers. My husband, on the other hand, has been doing well enough to take care of all of our expenses and allow me to focus strictly on my business. Thus, I am not in a position where I am dealing with a man who is not- or will not- work. That being said, my husband is not my provider- God is. The Lord as the source of your provision should be recognized in all Christ-based marriages. Unfortunately, it is not.
“Anyone who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel.”
Whenever the topic of men working comes up, it never fails that someone throws out the Scripture, “Anyone who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel.” This Scripture is quite often taken out of context and used to justify some very unloving, unGodly behavior. I did an in context study on this passage, and I encourage those who are wives who follow Christ, or wives to be, do the same. You may be surprised at what you find about what it means to “provide” for your family. When the topic of provision in marriage comes up, it is generally in the one-sided way that men should be the ones working to take care of the family. However, on its face, this argument simply cannot be true.
If the above is the true meaning of this Scripture, what about the man who can’t work because of an illness? What about the man who loses his job after the honeymoon and has troubles finding another one? Does this mean that you are to leave your spouse because he can no longer “provide” for you? Does this mean that you will not continue to work, or go to work, because the man is supposed to “take care of his family?” Are you not to do as we were commanded back in Genesis and be a help-meet? Are you not to support your family? Do you not aspire to be a Proverbs 31 woman? According to some of the comments made about the article, may women would lose their mind, and probably their marriages, if a job crisis hit. I wonder how you would feel if the shoe were on the other foot and your husband treated you with such conditions?
“This is why marriage is not for the selfish.”
Before you marry someone, you should go in knowing that anything can happen. I do not mean anything like abuse, adultery, or any other form of betrayal, but life happens. People get sick, people lose jobs, people die. Speaking specifically on the employment matter, you have to decide what the Holy Spirit tells you about this matter. He may tell you to marry that jobless man because he wants him free to build an empire with you. Stranger things have happened. After all, His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. He may tell you to get your mind right about that 7-figure man, because he really is only good on paper. Whatever He is telling you, it will not be heard if you are too focused on another man’s- including your own- definition of what provision in the family means.
There are many adjustments that need to be made when you go from “me” to “we.” If you are not willing to accept someone when the “for worse” comes- again, that does not mean abuse or sinful behavior of any sort- then you are not ready to get married. You should do everyone a favor and stay by yourself.
For more on topics of the Bible, love, and marriage, please join us on Wednesday for a Google Hangout on “What Does God’s Jealousy Have to Do With Marriage?”