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We bemoan divorce statistics which do not appear to improve. But divorce is not the cause but the result of family dysfunction, and what ruins the home ruins society. The problem always goes back to whoever is ruling the family. Where one person is sick that person dominates family life.
Who is Lord of the Home
It never starts out that way. Newly-weds are the most positive, hopeful group of all, filled with the best expectations for a happy home, prosperous and stable, even when they themselves are neither.
But then circumstances change. And God does not change circumstances; He changes people who then deal with circumstances. We may pray for different circumstances- more money, more power, a better location, more education – whatever – but when we are in His will He changes us.
God’s purpose is to bring us individually into conformity to His will and His plans. God is smarter than we are. (You’d be surprised how many do not believe this.)
What is the Will of God
Christian counselors will tell you the most common need people desire is “to know the will of God.” Well – here it is: 1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification… In street language that means “clean up your act.”
Bad attitudes and behavior must go. This passage mentions specifically fornication, i.e. sex outside of marriage, as being the first step for coming into conformity with God. It is routinely violated these days and the results are everywhere.
But the rest must go too – unforgiveness, selfishness, passive aggressive behavior, and aggressiveness as well, control freakishness, greed, envy, jealousy, self-will and refusal to change. The list is long.
To our newlyweds everything for a while is fine and then – loss of a job, a miscarriage, an accident, a car breaks down, the untimely death of a relative, a house fire. You name it.
This is the fallen world we live in. We do not have Utopia here, nor will we get it. What will we do? How do we react? God wants us to seek Him in this situation.
Reactions to Evil
And here is the awful truth. We become depressed, we blame others … the president, our parents, our teachers, our church. We drink to excess or seek an affair, or change jobs. Allowed to continue we become the Sick Man of the home and our problem becomes the lifestyle of everyone else. The children stay away or play basketball outdoors til midnight to avoid contact with the sick. Or they lock their bedroom door and play music on headphones or watch TV to block out reality. I know literally a dozen people who married right out of high school to escape the sick home. 100 years ago the Poor Man’s Divorce – just leaving town – was common. With social security numbers and DNA you can’t do that anymore. Some people leave the country if they can afford it.
Psychologists learned that family members can become physically ill when the Sick Lord rules – stomach cramps, depression, suicide, asthma, migraines, truancy, drugs. Children blame themselves for divorce. “If I had been a good child, this would not have happened.” So the kid pours the booze down the sink. It’s an expensive drain cleaner – don’t bother. Removing an inanimate object cures nothing.
Frustration, despair ensures and finally separation and divorce. Yes, things are better, the Sick Lord is no longer in charge but new problems develop – mainly financial. And society suffers another small breakdown.
What is the answer? A child must inform a trusted adult. Adults can try intervention which is a practical means of going back to the original problem and solving it. Even if it is years ago we can do that because God is in eternity and time is no problem to Him if the participants are alive.
My friend and her two adult daughters packed daddy’s bag, put it in the trunk and Daddy in the car. They drove to the airport, handed him a ticket to the Mayo Clinic and said, “Quit alcohol and remain sober or don’t come home.” This kind of intervention takes a group of people, not just one.
It worked. He never again touched alcohol, but his heart was not changed. His whole body showed the grief he had over giving up his beloved Brandy and he died a few years later. To quit your problem does not necessarily change your heart. But it is the first step.
God intervened in the life of a teenager whose mother planned to kill her. A neighbor by accident discovered the plot and called authorities. When I say “by accident” I really mean that someone prayed. You can always intervene with prayer – and it is legal and silent.
If someone brandishes a loaded gun at you, call the police. You need a public record of this event. You do not say, “Oh, he’ll get over it.” Evil allowed to fester eventually takes over and becomes uncontrollable.
Decide to Resist Evil
Every event and change in your life calls for a response or a reaction. God is giving you the option to do it His Way or your way. The answers are all in the book – the Bible. Churches may or may not help. They are people driven and people are flawed.
Blessed is He who does God’s will first.
The worst thing to ever happen to this world would be to have every day and every night a different length. One night is 4 hours long, the next day is 22 hours and the next night 12 hours the next day 30 hours and you would never know what would be next. Nothing could get done. No seasons for growing, no ability to make appointments, confusion everywhere, and what would be on TV and when? Our lives are dominated by time – time for dinner, time for work, time to brush your teeth. It would be chaos.
We walk into a house that is a complete mess, or an office with tools and papers thrown about and we ask what is wrong? As a housewife I looked at the Tsunami pictures and thought – how do you start cleaning up? Psychologists tell us chronic disorder is one sign of depression.
The presence of order in the universe tells us our first piece of information about God. That is what the ancients thought and they originally worshiped the sun, moon and the stars. They do that today as in astrology; bet you never thought of it as paganism. But really, do you think the stars are talking to us? Not likely. I have many stones in the yard and they never speak.
Every culture on the face of the earth believes in a supreme being based on the order seen everywhere. Philosophers call it Intelligent Design.
David was the youngest of 8 sons so he was given the worst job in the family – tending the sheep. After many long hours out in the hills alone he wrote this:
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him? (Psalm 8:3-4)
Almighty God, we thank you for the orderly universe you have given us – the 24-hour day is the canvas on which we paint our individual lives. Amen.
The late Kim Clement pointed this out and the reason is terrific. Here God is speaking to Moses.
Exodus 33:23 and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”
By standing behind God, Moses only looks into the future.
God does not want us looking at the past
Those who live in the past are depressed and unhappy; they try to make the present either fit the past or correct it. They are often unable to believe new ideas or correct old ones. It is a futile existence. Can’t be done.
Future-oriented people have hope which generates faith in them and others. The Just (person) live by faith and without faith it is impossible to please God. If God isn’t pleased, you won’t be either.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him
The quotation “the just live by faith” appears seven times in scripture. And seven is symbolically the number of maturity, therefore words to live by.
Prophets of doom
Politics is divided into those who have no hope for the future and those who don’t. Climate Change tells us we are doomed by our own exhalation. Scientists think the loss of bees on the planet means an end to the reproduction of vegetables and other crops. (They have a point.)
Marine biologists worry that we are over-fishing the ocean. Scientists say the oceans are fouled by plastics and killing off important food supplies. Most of the trash is coming from the Pacific Rim nations, not the USA although we’re routinely blamed no matter what is wrong.
Why does crisis sell?
Fear of the future causes people to react and act. Politicians want votes. Sellers of drugs want people to think “sick”and seek a doctor. Colleges tell you that your child will be a home-bound dunce without a college education. Psychologists can tell you every awful habit of the person you should not marry.
Yes, it is a program for exercising control, but it also is a chance for you to mature in the face of information. What we read and hear can either make us stronger or ruin us with fear. We can examine what people say and not let sucked into their systems. Somewhere is the truth but you need to be discretionary. Don’t eliminate information. Be dispassionate and check it out.
But if you are looking ahead at God, and following Him, you are going to be fine, and let the prophets hawk their wares.