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Contracts and Cutting


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Contracts and Cutting


All it cost me was my whole life, and all it gives me is everything.
— Pat Green, “Eden’s Gate”

Genesis 17:9-14
Jeremiah 9:23-26
Mark 10:1-12

We’re confused. Today, we plan for divorce before we marry. Built-in protections and exits exist in the form of pre-nuptial agreements, safeguards of one’s property in the likely event of a divorce. Above all, the thinking says, me first.

How far have we strayed? Do we understand so little of love?

On Christmas Day, 1914, German and British soldiers called a cease-fire in the midst of The Great War. The Germans began singing carols, and the British soon chimed in from across No-Man’s Land. After a few carols were sung in English and German, soldiers began leaving the safety of their trenches to shake hands, exchange cigarettes as gifts, and play soccer. For a few hours, enemies risked defenselessness. After the festivities, soldiers returned to the trenches, and the war continued.

Hebrew scriptures tell us God stamped his people as his own via circumcision. Strange, huh? The prophet Jeremiah made some sense of this. He said God wanted people to have circumcised hearts. The physical circumcision exemplified what God desired inside his people. The most sensitive part of them had to be cut open, had to bleed, had to shed the protective covering. This left it both defenseless and more sensitive.

What’s the take-away from bleeding hearts and removing protective coverings? We cannot love with armor on. The steel between us prevents any embrace. It encumbers and guards, but it never allows us to really touch each other’s flesh, each other’s person.

Pre-nups, by definition, mean defense. They hedge against a potential wound. Back in the day, a man wanting to marry a woman cut open an animal, stood in its blood, and marked his forehead with the crimson.

He said, “May such happen to me if I ever fail you by breaking our covenant.”

He made no mention of what she owed him, nor of any effort to protect himself.

Today, pre-nups trump covenants. If you fail me, I keep mine. There’s no mention of what I owe you. In poker-speak, I refuse to go all in. We sign our marriage contracts in pencil, our pre-nups in ink, and neither with blood. “May such be mine if you fail me.” How backward.

Let’s go back to loving without shields and armor and protective contracts. Let’s risk the money, the heart and the life. Love, real love, demands that we leave our trenches, risking everything. Rather than walk away with possessions intact, covenants demand we lose everything, even our lives, if we fail.

We can’t have sex fully clothed. Who’d want to?

What do you hold back when you love?
What were your romantic notions as a child? Were they bold, or protective and fearful?
Do you expect someone who loves you to hold something back?


© Revolworks 2006