The Functioning Family
Deuteronomy 11: 18-21
JESUS CHRIST emphasized and elevated the institution of marriage by asserting it to be a permanent relationship. It is the basis for family living.
In a day when family life is rapidly deteriorating somebody needs to speak a good word for the family. That's my intent. Dr. Ernest Gordon, Dean of Chapel at Princeton University ended one of his books with this remark: "In the wild seas of violence that characterizes our time we are in deepest need of islands of sanity, or harbors of humanity, in which the art of being human may be learned."
Long before the dean made his observation our Lord established such a haven. It is called the family. There is so much division and disaster in family living that it is difficult to speak on the subject without touching sensitive nerves. I know those who have been hurt most would be those most desirous of the subject being addressed. With deep affection and great sympathy for those having suffered because of their family failing to function, I want to encourage family life. I know I do it with those hurt most in this arena praying most earnestly for the successful application of God's Word in this matter. Family Services Association of America reports: "family breakdown is fast reaching epidemic proportions and now ranks as America's number one social problem."
It is so serious some are advocating making sure your marriage will work. To insure that it will persons are encouraged to live together before marriage. This is a noble appeal for license to commit adultery.
Syndicated columnist Sydney Harris wrote: "Living together without any sense of permanency or legality is no more like marriage than taking a warm shower is like shooting the rapids in your underwear. Neither premarital sex, nor premarital living, nor premarital anything else is a reliable guide to what the marital state will be like. A training camp cannot really prepare you for war; it can provide the techniques, but not the psychological ambience, which is the truly important aspect of the experience. Legitimatized, social sanctioned marriage brings out the best and the worst in persons; and no informal living arrangement, even for years, can simulate it..." We need to declare firmly that the unholy union of two people living together out of wedlock is an affront to God regardless of how popular it may become in the world.
The old fashioned engagement period in which restraint is exercised and persons get acquainted is all the trail needed before marriage. The fact that one fourth of all engagements are broken shows it works. When I first heard that statistic, I thought that was bad. Then I reconsidered. That is the purpose. These persons found marriage wasn't right for them. Their engagement served its purpose. Those who married, their engagement also worked.
NO nation has ever survived the degeneration of the home. Not Greece in 300 BC nor Rome in 300 AD.
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