The hardhearted person who cannot forgive or live in proper relation to others in Christ's body (18:1-35) will also despise weaker people in society-in Jesus' day, these included wives (19:1-12; compare Mal 2:14-16) and children (Mt 19:13-15). By contrast, Jesus, who is not hardhearted, remains unimpressed by worldly status (vv. 16-22). When we hold grudges against a genuinely repentant spouse and remain hardhearted toward her or him-whether or not we officially cast the person away-we hinder our own communication with God (1 Pet 3:7-12) and ultimately can invite our own damnation (Mt 18:34-35).
It is thus no coincidence that in Matthew Jesus' teaching on marital commitment directly follows his teaching on forgiveness (18:21-35), just as in Mark it follows a discussion of sinning against a "little one" (Mk 9:42-50; compare Mt 18:7-9). The more intimate the relationship, the deeper the wounds of interpersonal friction sear; marriage without forgiveness and reconciliation would be difficult. Some of Jesus' contemporaries for this reason either emotionally neglected or divorced their wives; many of our contemporaries refuse to form close bonds of commitment to begin with. This passage provides a number of essential principles.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Try Bible Gateway Plus, a brand-new service that lets you experience Bible Gateway free of banner ads! It also gives you instant access to over 40 Bible study and inspirational devotional books, including the NIV Study Bible. With Bible Gateway Plus, you can experience and understand God's Word in life-changing new ways, without the distraction of ads. Try it free for 30 days—you can cancel at any time. Following your 30-day free trial, Bible Gateway Plus is only $3.99/month.