Because of the times we live in (see Joel Belz’s “Our culture of deceit”), I hesitate to write the following clarification because whenever I see the word “clarification” in a news publication, I think: backpedal, retreat, lie. Nevertheless, I want to leave no misunderstanding of something I wrote in last Friday’s column, “How God forgives.” I wrote: “The takeaway lesson for me is that a marriage, even one entered into unwisely, is a marriage. You must fight for your marriage every bit as zealously whether it was unwisely or wisely entered into.”
My dear husband read the column yesterday and was distressed that perhaps I had regrets that I had married him. Dear husband, let me declare before the WORLD that my joy in you knows no bounds. What more could I desire in this “culture of deceit” than a man of truth and godliness, for a mate for the remains of the day? The sentiments of the author of Proverbs come to mind: “Many … have done excellently, but you surpass them all” (31:29).
In my comment about marriage in the seemingly unrelated context of Israel and the Gibeonites, I was excited to discern yet another proof of God’s zeal for our wedded unions. It was an angle on the subject of marriage that had not occurred to me before, to wit, that if God wanted Israel to honor her covenant even with her enemies, then how much more does He want us to keep our covenants with our mates?
The argument I made was what theologians like to call an “argumentum a fortiori.” There are two types of such argument, one from the greater to the lesser, and (the one I used) from the lesser to the greater, or “a minore ad maius.” In the Gibeon covenant/marriage covenant case it works like this: If it is important to God to keep covenants with less worthy parties (“minore”), then it is more important to God that we keep covenants with more worthy parties (“maius”).
The Apostle Paul employs an “argumentum a fortiori” in Romans 5 when he says in verses 9 and 10 that if God was willing to take us to Himself as children when we were still hating Him, how “much more” will He give us every good thing He promised now that we do not hate him anymore.
No regrets, husband.