Summary: Messed up
Family 101 (Part 2)
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”. . . He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”
—Matthew 19:4–6, 8 NKJV
God’s original intention for marriage was for it to be a lifetime covenant sealed with a vow. He intended for stable marriages to produce stable children. He intended those children to marry godly spouses and build a generation and nation of godly families. Sin, however, has messed everything up. Today’s family is hardly recognizable as the kind of family God intended.
All of us have messed up. The woman at the well had been married five times. Jesus forgave a woman caught in adultery who was thrown at His feet in judgment. None of us can cast the first stone.
“From the beginning it was not so.” We must go back to the beginning, regardless of how badly we have messed up. We must renounce the world’s system of family and institute God’s principles.
Satan’s Weapons to Mess Up the Family
1. Cohabitation: premarital and extramarital sexual relationships
The 2005 census showed that 4.85 million couples in America are living together outside of marriage. High-profile Hollywood couples have glamorized cohabitation, and their illegitimate children are celebrated as movie stars. The question, why get married? is driven by financial concerns, fear of divorce, or the desire for a “trial marriage” proving period.
Marriage, however, is based upon a covenant, not just attraction. A vow will hold you together when love seems gone. God knew that a lifetime commitment of loyalty to one person brings the deepest satisfaction.
God’s perspective of sexual cohabitation outside of marriage is “fornication.” Paul spoke of fornication as immorality:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9–10 NKJV).
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!” (1 Cor. 6:15 NKJV).
2. Divorce: the breaking of the covenant
The vow, or covenant, that establishes a marriage is sacred. But with today’s no-fault divorce, a lifetime vow can be ended in seconds for no cause or reason except unhappiness.
“Marriage is a choice to accept an unspecified number of troubles in exchange for the opportunity to build a loving and lasting relationship” (Rick Gillespie).
God said, “I hate divorce” (Mal. 2:14)—not divorced people. He knows the devastation, hurt, and rejection that divorce causes. It is sin because it is unfaithfulness to a covenant. It is forgivable, not unforgivable.
God “divorced” Israel because of her unfaithfulness (Jer. 3:8).
For believers, certain guidelines should be followed if considering divorce (from 1 Cor. 7):
If both parties are believers, divorce should not be an option. They must work out their issues through the power of the Spirit and maintain their vow (vv. 10–11).
If one party is an unbeliever, the believer must still maintain the marriage vow with the same energy as though he was married to another believer. As long as the unbeliever will remain with the believer, there are no grounds to break the vow (vv. 12–14).
If you are separated from your spouse but not scripturally divorced, your vow is still in effect, and you are not free to date another person.
If the unbeliever leaves you and divorces you, you are free to pursue another relationship (vv. 15–16). To “leave” would also mean if your spouse enters into an adulterous relationship (a homosexual, heterosexual, or incestuous relationship). However, you are not required to divorce even then but can choose to work on restoring the relationship.
3. Abuse: the beginning of “leaving”
Physical abuse: You must allow the law to protect you. If the abuse is chronic, you must leave until your spouse has a sustained, proven deliverance.
Substance abuse: Force an intervention. Do not enable, pity, or support addiction. It is a killer.
Sexual abuse: Molestation must be reported to the law. Carefully guard your children from outsiders who have gained access to the safety of your home or individuals who have private time with your children in any setting.
Verbal abuse: Anger and verbal rage should not be tolerated. It poisons your soul and the home’s environment.