Some of the discussion about divorce in the comments got me thinking about our responsibility to those around us. I try to keep this blog on track, which means helping men to have better marriages, but as any long time reader knows, I have a habit of blogging outside those lines. This is a post of that nature. So if you’re not in the mood for a rant, skip to the links.
I have always believed that we are, in fact, our brother’s keeper. That is to say, we have a responsibility to do what we can to help others avoid sin and do what is right. That flies in the face of the “live and let live” mentality that is becoming more and more common, even in the church. For many there is also tension between what the Bible call us to do as a community and things like “the right of self determination” and “the right to privacy”. In my mind it’s a clear choice – follow what Christ said, or follow the world.
It seems more followers of Jesus are leaning towards the world as fewer and fewer Christians are willing to get involved in the lives of fellow followers unless they are explicitly invited. I see more and more of this from churches and pastors alike; afraid to speak into someone’s life unless invited, and hesitant to address obvious signs of trouble or even outright sin.
Of course, given my area of concern, I see this in relation to marriages. We all say we hate divorce, but it seems many of us are willing to watch it happen all around us without making any effort to stop it. We “don’t feel qualified”, or we “don’t want to stick our noses into the business of others”. We don’t want to be rude, or offensive, and we certainly don’t want to risk losing a friend. So we watch silently as a couple descends into darkness and divorce.
It reminds me of 1 Cor 5, where Paul is chastising the Corinthian church for doing nothing about a man who is having sex with his step-mother. I hope none of us has gone that far, but if we keep ignoring sins and problems, how long will it be until we can turn a blind eye to something such as that?
If we want to see less divorce, we need to be proactive. We need to be ready to lovingly get in people’s faces when it is clear they have marriage problems. At the very least, you can say, “Get help” and keep saying it until it happens. We need to be ready as church leaders to move people with troubled marriages out of ministry until they get things fixed; not as punishment, but as a way of showing how important marriage is and to give the couple time and energy to do what needs to be done. We need to actively build up marriages, and brag on those who do it well. We need to make it easy for anyone to ask for help, and we need to portray asking for marriage help as a very wise and courageous act.
All that is required for marriages to fail is for good men to say nothing!
Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:
Stu’s list of blogs nominated for top ten marriage blogs of 2011 is not up – all 48 entries. Swing by and find a few new blogs to follow. Be aware there is no filtering on this list – nothing horrible, but not all Christian and not all positive.
Black and Married with Kids
Couple Things Blog
Divorce Busting Blog
Why You Haven’t Seen Change in Your Marriage (and What You Can Do to Fix It) pt. 3: Your Spouse is Involved with Someone Else & Your spouse has decided your marriage is over
7 Goals to Set Today to Make 2012 the Best Year of Your Life: Don’t wait for January, start now!
Happily Married After
You Need A Vacation!: David is singing my song!
Journey to Surrender
Glory In Your Spouse: Do you see the glory in your bride?
Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage
Bad Theology = Bad Marriage: Good word! Unconditional love is NOT biblical
MT Project: I Need an Attitude of Gratitude in All Things: Yes, it is a choice.
One Flesh Marriage
Confrontation with Kindness: A powerful combination!
The Romantic Vineyard
Why Is a Good Marriage Not Something You Find?: A good, sort video.
Give Your Spouse These 6 Gifts All Year Long: I second the motion!