The moral climate in our country has deteriorated steadily since the 1950’s. The change from Father Knows Best to MTV is astounding.
I’m not one to flaunt the “good old days.” Our memories tend to tolerate only the good stuff anyhow; and we often don’t remember what was not good at all. Modern technology, communication, and medical advancements have made “the good old days” not so good by comparison. But the moral standards of that day make the “good ole todays” not so good, either.
The reasons for our modern immoral morass are complex and not easily understood. Just what happens is open for speculation by those who know more about culture, environment, psychology, and societal differentiations than do I. But one thing I know: the failure of the family unit has contributed more to the moral depletion in this country than any other single factor.
The family is the beginning place for society. If the family fails, so does society. And I fear for the failure of the family unit. Now, don’t take that statement lightly. To whatever extent the family is diluted, to that same extent society suffers. It’s scary, folks–scary how the families of this day bear so little resemblance to the pattern first instigated by God.
For instance, the most basic part of the family unit is understood in two terms: headship and helpmeet. The Bible teaches that the husband is the spiritual mentor of the family (Eph. 5:22-25; I Cor. 11:1-3). That fact is fundamental. Furthermore, it is necessary to the proper function of the family. The wife is to submit to and honor her husband (Eph. 5:22; I Tim. 2: 9-15), and provide for him such help as will make his obligations easier. And children are to honor and obey their parents (Eph. 6:1-2). In all three cases, the failure to honor these commitments, all three of which were instituted by God, brings about ill-defined roles, poorly defined obligations and, as a result, an unsettled family.
Love is the mucilage, the glue if you please, that holds the whole fabric of marriage together. Now, I know you already know that. But I’m not talking about some sentimental attachment, or some erotic linkage. I’m not talking about emotional feelings, either. I’m talking about the kind of love that makes a hard day–one where things go wrong–easier to bear. I’m talking about one where a fuss disrupts the family, one where somebody in the family gets out of line, and love– real love– is required to solve the problem (see I Cor. 13). I’m talking about headship and helpmeet in regard to such matters, one where scripturally defined roles are used to solve the problems. That’s real love–love for truth as well as love for one another.
Communication is the lifeline of a good family. It’s necessary that wives and husbands learn–yes, I said learn–to talk to one another. Not only that, it’s necessary that wives and husbands learn to listen to one another. That’s the root of all communication–transmission and reception. When one or the other is impeded, there is a problem. I’m not a good counselor, but I have done enough of it through the years to know that a lack of sound communication skills, coupled with too much pride–is the cause of nearly every marital difficulty with which I have had to wrestle. And the simple fact is that talking when it’s time to talk and listening when it’s time to listen would solve nearly every marriage problem you can name.
And listen carefully. Families don’t function well when God is left out. There’s a void in the various relationships where God is not present. Please be clear about this: love is not love when truth is left out of it. True love has truth as its base, verity as its energy, and when those are not present, look out, because things are about to unravel. It may not be a bombastic explosion, but unravel they will. One day you’ll wake up and there’s no bond left in the relationship, no cement to hold it together. Why? Somebody–perhaps both somebodies, or perhaps even every somebody in the family–either darted off, or gradually drifted away from the truth of God that should characterize a good family. The father didn’t do his job, the mother left the home, the kids got out of their place, and so it fragmented the family and distorted everyone’s role in it. You can’t have a good family that is not based on truth and righteousness. It won’t work.
Like I said, I don’t know all the answers necessary to ward off our headlong plunge into moral decadence. But I can read the Bible. I know what it says about families and how they are to function. And all the psychologists, sociologists, and human behavioral specialists, combined, are not going to solve the problems in our culture today until they return to the original pattern, the one ordained and commanded by the Creator–God Almighty.
Can you tell I’m serious about this?