Summary: A Valentine's Day message emphasising the sacred nature of marriage.

“God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’

So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.

“And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” [1]

Apparently, the music world works overtime to justify dishonourable acts. Elvis sang the words that Ben Wiseman wrote asserting, “It feels so right, so right. How can it be wrong?” Jeannie C. Riley warbled, “How Can Anything So Right Be So Wrong?” Ray, Goodman & Brown asked, “How Can Love So Right Be So Wrong?” Carly Rae Jepsen boldly asserted, “Wrong Feels So Right.” Long before any of these crooners asked their questions, Mr. Honky-Tonk, Earl Green, wondered, “How Can Anything So Right Be So Wrong?”

We often seem to forget that song writers simply mirror the attitudes of the world. During the course of my service among the churches, numerous people have approached me, asking me to officiate a wedding when I could not accommodate them. Young women, especially, seem to marshal their arguments for why they should marry a particular individual. And almost inevitably, the argument these young women present is that they will change him! That man may be a cad, a scoundrel, a womanizer, as unreliable as a man can be—but these young women “just know” they can change him! He wants nothing to do with God, nothing to do with the church, all he cares about is getting married. But she “knows” she can change him!

I have a rule which is inviolate—I will not marry a couple that are not members of the congregation I pastor. If they are members of a sister congregation, I will participate if their pastor invites me. I do this as a courtesy to a sister congregation and as a courtesy to a brother pastor. If they are members of another congregation, then it is proper that their pastor should officiate at their wedding. During the time I pastored in Jasper, it was not unusual that a couple might get off the train, walk to our church, and request that I marry them. I turned away multiple couples who were not interested in a celebration of marriage. Their sole concern was a wedding.

If a couple are not followers of the Christ, then I will not participate in their wedding. How can a couple who does not worship the Risen Christ take vows before a God whom they refuse to worship and honour? Such vows are meaningless at best; at worst, such “vows” are cynical and manipulative. Let those who do not believe seek out fellow earth dwellers to perform the rituals they deem to be so important, but they must not imagine they can make a mockery of the Living God by pretending to worship Him when they deny Him with their lives.

If one who follows Christ as Master is determined that she or he will marry an unbeliever regardless of Scripture, I question how they can make holy vows when one member of the proposed union refuses to worship the Lord. Scripture precludes such a union when the Word warns, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God” [2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-16a].

Numerous young women have sought to convince me that I’m wrong in my stance. Their argument almost inevitably culminates in the singular thought, “I can change him!” On multiple occasions, my response to that plaintive argument has effectively been, “Ain’t gonna’ happen.” If a man doesn’t want to change, he won’t change his refusal to believe—not even for love.

The tragedy is that we have now raised several generations of people who operate on the basis of feelings rather than acting on the basis of reason. An “Oprahfied” world has generally concluded that each person creates his or her own reality regardless of truth. Thus, young women are incapable of seeing beyond the immediate. They are willing to gamble that the future will not be what reality dictates it must be. They have convinced themselves that their “love” will transform the man they are determined to marry. And young men are utterly focused on gratifying their immediate desire without thought of consequences. The even greater tragedy is that parents refuse to risk intervening in order to introduce a measure of sanity, and the churches have long ago surrendered responsibility for insisting on holding parishioners accountable to the Faith. Pastors dare not call for righteousness, so they willingly suffer spiritual lockjaw.

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