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Family Responsibility

Genesis 2 tells us that when God created man in His own image, He created him to have fellowship with Him, but God also realized that Adam needed a helpmate so that he would not be alone.  By creating Eve as a mate for Adam, God initiated the first social institution -- the family.  He brought into existence a husband and wife and commanded them to be fruitful and multiply.  God did not create government first; He created the family first.  Next to our responsibility to God comes our responsibility to family.  In fact, God gave a command to the husband to leave his own father and mother and be joined to his wife and "they shall become one flesh."  Jesus repeated this same teaching in Matthew 19 when he was asked the question, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?"  Jesus made it clear that no man was to separate what God had joined together and made one flesh.  He gave only one reason for divorce -- immorality (adultery).

The family in our society is in terrible trouble.  Confusion abounds about what a family actually is.  Is a family two people living together unmarried?  Is it two people of the same sex who have made a commitment to one another?  Is it a man and several wives living in a compound together?  Our country has tried to call all of these situations marriage, but God has only one definition for marriage and God never changes.  God says marriage is one man and one woman living together as husband and wife, committed to each other "until death do us part."  Nothing the government says, the church says or society says can change God's definition for marriage.  Anything else is called adultery, sodomy and fornication -- all labeled abominations in the Bible. 

How did our society get to a place where in less than 75-80 years we have come from an nation with an extremely small divorce rate to one with a rate that is affecting half our population?  According to one source, the divorce rates in America for first marriage is now 41%; the divorce rate in America for second marriage is now 60% and the divorce rate in America for third marriage is now 73%.  These statistics are four times what the rates were in 1970.  The other alarming statistic is that the marriage rate had gone down because many couples decide to just live together unmarried.  The probability of a premarital cohabitation breaking up within five years is 49%, vs. 20% probability in first marriages ending in separation or divorce within five years.  After 10 years the probability of a first marriage ending is 33%, compared with 62% for cohabitations.

What is wrong?  Ten of the top reasons given for divorce are: infidelity, substance abuse/addiction, lack of communication, financial problems, religious conversion or religious beliefs, criminal behavior, abandonment, lack of commitment to the marriage, different expectations about rearing children, and lifestyle differences.

The only conclusion that seems to make sense is that men and women in America have forgotten that God is the one who instituted marriage to begin with.  It is amazing to me how many marriage occur in churches in our country, but the divorce rate is the same among those who claim to attend church as it is among those who don't.  In fact, there seem to be more divorces in the "Bible Belt" than in other parts of our country.

Back in the 1970s churches began to make a turn away from the teachings of the Bible and turn to the world's view of society.  Sodomy was given a new name that sounded less harsh to our ears -- homosexuality.  Committing adultery became "living together".  "Significant other" replaced husband or wife.  Lust became "Love."  We leave "sex education" up to the government schools that refuse to mention God, thus leaving God out of the entire process of training for marriage.  Commitment in marriage has come to mean "until the end of lust do us part", rather than "until death do us part." 

God made humans for fellowship with Himself and with a family.  He knows what makes us content and happy in our lives and wants us to be able to be successful in our family life, as in every other part of our life.  It is becoming clear to our society that we cannot ignore Him and have successful families.  By ignoring God our families have become fractured places where children and spouses are deserted or abused, where "ME and MY Way" is king, with no desire to serve someone else and meet their needs before our own.  As a result, our entire society is suffering.  A successful society depends upon successful families and successful families depend upon a successful relationship with the God who created us.