J. Budziszewski wrote a great article recently posted on Boundless Webzine. In it, he chronicled how a young college student relayed to him his utter paralysis when it came to the issue of marriage. This young man had no plans to marry, and doubted whether any couple can really stay married anymore until death parts them.
This is a sad scenario, isn’t it? This is an animal of our culture’s own making. Rampant lack of fidelity in marriages and decades of divorce have left our young people today quaking in their boots at the very thought of getting married. Our baby-booming parents got divorced and remarried at the cyclical rate. And, my generation appears to be following suit. It never ceases to amaze me when I hear of folks in my graduating class who have been divorced and re-married three times, four times, or more. We are not even forty years old yet!
It is not my intent to be judgmental. My hearts goes out to every divorcee, to every single-parent, to ever parent trying to make a blended family work. My desire is to see every family experience the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, to be healed by Jesus the Great Healer of souls, and to know the power for living that comes by the gift of God’s Spirit to everyone who trusts Christ alone for forgiveness of sins. So, no stone throwing from this sinner saved by grace! Precisely because I do understand how deeply sin affects and infects us all, I realize no marriage is immune to divorce. This is why I love the book by Dave Harvey titled When Sinners Say I Do. The very title says it all. Sin is the issue and human creatures do not possess inherent power to do battle against this resident foe.
The deep level hurt that divorce leaves in its wake is now surfacing in the paralysis of college students who have lost all faith in marriage as an institution. Coming from students who do not have the Risen Christ in their lives, this reaction might not be cause for surprise. But, what is most disturbing to me is the number of young Christian men and women who now shy away from marriage because they have witnessed their own Christian parents divorce.
I confess some anger wells up in me when I see Christian couples divorce. It says to a lost world, and even to Christian children, that there really is no significant power for living available to followers of Christ. I mean, if Jesus cannot enable two of His followers to stay true to their marital vows, what makes us think He can assure us of eternal life with Him?
Hypocrisy is the one excuse I hear most often for why someone raised in church has now abandoned it, or for why someone not raised in church has no interest in it. Ruined Christian families littering the American landscape cannot bode well for our evangelism. We can address the hypocrisy issue biblically (and maybe I’ll take up that mantle in future posts), but for now can we Christians just admit there is some legitimacy to the reasoning of a person who watches us live and sees no real difference, particularly in how we “do home”?
So, what to do?
For starters, Christians “make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). You are not one of the “many” who will stand self-deceived before King Jesus one day, are you? See Matthew 7:21-23. Second, followers of Christ must get a handle on biblical sanctification and what I call “You Can because He Can” theology. Stay tuned . . . more to follow on these matters.