If your spouse is sick, you are still married.
If your spouse is sick with Alzheimer’s, God has mercy for you, but not adultery.
The compassion of Jesus is real. Oddly, the people Jesus lacked compassion for were religious Jewish leaders.
Jesus’ rebuke of religious leaders seemingly gives weak minded people permission to accuse their bible loving brethren of judgment. Yet those accusing others of holding too tightly to doctrine are in fact doing the same thing.
At it’s root, Jesus rebuked religious leaders for their lack of compassion on those who were suffering, and for their unwillingness to confess their own hypocrisy.
The Bible says the woman was caught in adultery, but Jesus didn’t see a woman caught in adultery, he saw sexual perverts with callous hearts. Jesus’ famous words, ” where are your accusers now,” and, “go and sin no more,” cut to the heart of his power and love. One would be wise to allow go and sin no more to soak inside the growing banter of when a spouse is no longer a spouse, if Alzheimer’s enters into the picture.
Bloggers and commentators see the painful pyschological effects of Alzheimer’s, and give the supporting spouse far too much permission to seek sexual love and relationship with another person, something scripture cannot even pretend to validate. Some claim to just be friends—well—friendship is one thing and the bedroom another. No sane Jesus loving person would seek to take advantage of somebody else when they are suffering, and taking them to bed does not help the cause of righteousness, nor heal the wounded heart.
All kinds of reasons are given for the allowance—people live longer today, the sick spouse would never want the supporting spouse to suffer, the disease killed the marital relationship, and so on.
Alzheimer’s is a thief, much like death, and is painful to experience. It is unforgiving, and an earthly foe to the best laid plans. All caught in her grip deserve compassion, and none more so than the supporting spouse.
But the question must be answered, is a person with Alzheimer’s dead? Does that disease fulfill the biblical teaching on death?
The answer is no.
Marriage reflect’s God’s glory and image of pure relationship. It is given to humans for holiness, where the secondary blessings of happiness are seen in full display. The loyalty of husband and wife are used in scripture to illustrate the undying loyalty God has for his children.
Paul established an unmovable wall around the subject matter in Romans 7, where marriage illustrates dying to the law. Until the spouse is dead—death needing no explanation—the spouse is bound, but upon death, the spouse is free. The law works the same way, making necessary the death of Christ, and bringing liberty through his resurrection from the dead.
Death is not reinterpretted, nor can it mean anything than the most obvious, we all know when a person has actually died.
Sadly, none of these thoughts work for someone caught in the despair of watching their beloved die in such a tragic manner, not if they lacked a history of training themselves in godly surrender. Grief often surfaces the dark history of our hearts, revealing our hidden life long cooperation with the flesh. And none of that should shame us, if in fact Christ has cleansed us.
Our reluctance to accept death and the heavenly passing of a love one is seen in our aggressive medical practices. There are many sane and dare I say biblical techniques to allow someone with Alzheimer’s to pass sooner than later. What most do is switch one kind of suffering for another, doping their beloved into a vegatative state instead of working through the shorter process of allowing them to enter’s heaven door—but all that requires much less medical intervention and a bit more family coordination.
God’s mercy never fails, and will not fail the suffering saint who trusts him in their darkest hour.