Here's a question for you - if Christians have this whole marriage thing on lock down, why the heck are we so terrible at it? For a group of people that claim to know marriage best, we're doing a pretty poor job at showing the rest of the world. In this post, Toby shares his thoughts, and what he thinks are some good starting points towards a real answer.
In most cases, adultery is a sin, but not a crime. Sure, there are legal ramifications and penalties, but usually, no one goes to jail for three years for committing adultery. You can lie to someone, spend their money behind their backs, and have emotional and sexual intimacy with other people outside of your marriage. You can hurt your children and destroy your family. Besides snoring, and the first 50 lb. weight gain, adultery is one of the most destructive things we can do to a marriage. It’s so sinful!
But, I haven’t heard of any Christian fundamentalist groups fighting to impose fines or prison time for adultery. Why do we fight so hard and make it such a key issue in our Christianity and our “morals” to keep marriage strictly defined as between a man and a woman, but never propose legislation to enforce the marriages we have?
What if Christians focused more on their marriages, and took the hard line on divorce the Bible says we should? Wouldn’t it immediately make us less hypocritical? Wouldn’t it legitimize our definition of marriage? Our definition of marriage can’t just be a man and a woman, can it? There is a little more to it in the Bible. Try reading Deuteronomy 22:21 and John 8:4. Practice pitching and find a good rock quarry.
People, regardless of sexual orientation, suck at marriage. The problem is that everyone, gay or straight, is susceptible to cheating, lying, stealing, and ultimately hurting their spouse or partner. We are all participating in the same sin. The real question must then be, “Are we, actually, only against sins that others are committing?” How big is the plank in our eyes? I would like to propose a couple of things to think about:
■ Between one-quarter and one-half of all marriages in which both partners claim to be believers in Christ end in divorce, depending on which study you read. Regardless of the actual number, that is a terrible record for people who consider marriage a holy sacrament. We need to study and look at Christians who are married, and learn the pitfalls of why these marriages are ending. We must start with ourselves. What leads us away from God? Once we see that, we can come to others with humility and grace.
■ We need to figure out the actual definition of a ‘Christian Marriage.’ Obviously, we as humans see the definition of marriage differently. It would benefit Christians to come to one complete definition of marriage. Right now, it seems that it is just a male and female union with some lofty ideals thrown in the mix and an expensive wedding. As Christians, this takes away so much from the gift of marriage that Jesus has given us. The definition of marriage in today’s culture might not even fit God’s standard of what Christians are required to fulfill between husband and wife. What my wife and I have is a lot different, by the Grace of God, than many heterosexual marriages. Are we holding on to a contrived ideal, or are we really placing Jesus at the center of marriage?
Think about this for a week:
When a non-Christian does something ‘un-Christian,’ like yell obnoxiously at their child in public, smokes marijuana, supports a liberal thought or stance, marries someone you believe they shouldn’t be marrying, etc., what is your first reaction? Are you loving? Be honest. For me, a lot of times I get angry or condemning, unjustly. I might even think that those people are dumb and sinful, and that they should see the world like me. Recently, I have been trying to extend grace to people and realize that I do a ton of things that everyone else thinks is dumb or wrong. We are all human. We are just trying to figure out our lives. We can disagree, but that shouldn’t equal hate, or make you want to start a movement against folks who are also just trying to figure out life too. Do you just want folks to realize they are wrong, or do you want them to know a savior, regardless of their sin?