Have respect for marriage. Always be faithful to your partner, because God will punish anyone who is immoral or unfaithful in marriage.
-- Hebrews 13:4
For better or for worse, there's been lots of talk the last few years about our nation's need for fundamental change. But the fact is that America has changed drastically since the end of World War II--and without the help of politicians and celebrities. There's the obvious, like the explosive growth of the suburbs, Walmart and smartphones. And of course there's the Internet.
Are these changes good or bad? Opinions vary. But one change that's unquestionably negative involves society's attitude toward marriage and the family. Sixty years ago, news of a couple living together outside of marriage would have been considered scandalous at the very least. And in some states, it could actually lead to jail time for the offending parties. But how much has changed now that we are so much more "enlightened" than our grandparents!
Think of everything we've gained now that such a large segment of the populous has turned its back on committed marriage (the "death 'til you part" type). With more flexible divorce laws and the literal promotion of adultery in the media, it's no wonder that so many marriages end prematurely--and that fewer people take the institution seriously. It's also no surprise that so many perceive marriage as not even worth the trouble. Living together has become the rational option.
It's easy to see that modern culture has rejected Biblical ideals like monogamous marriage between faithful, committed couples. Moreover, we've turned away from God and His teachings as a whole--the ones He gave us for experiencing meaningful, fulfilled lives. What were once considered clear, black and white issues of right and wrong have blended over the decades into murky shades of gray. But society now says that everything--even truth--is relative. And who needs those pesky Ten Commandments, anyway?
That was never God's message regarding marriage. In fact, it's only two chapters into the Bible that we find this revealing passage:
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Yes, to many so-called "progressive" thinkers, easy-divorce options, living together without strings, and downright cheating are more palatable and tolerant lifestyle choices. After all, commitment is an uncomfortable word--and one that implies responsibility, faith and dependence on a much greater Power.
But ultimately, isn't that what it means to be a Christ-follower?