Solid Marriage; Happy Family; Strong Nation

Marriage Basic Human Unit

Since the beginning human life has centered on the family unit. For example the Bible begins with Adam, Eve, Cane, Able and Seth in Genesis. Sadly the human race had only just begun when Cane murders Able out of envy because God accepted Abel’s offering and not his. I am not going to write about the myriad of human failures that permeate history however; I am going to discus one of the great success stories instead: Marriage.

Zyg Fam001   First Hand Experience

My experience begins in the mid 1950’s when despite human shortcomings the family unit functioned pretty well. My immediate family was not one of them though because my father ran off and eventually divorced my mother. Their story is a story movies are made from as he eventually returned and remarried her and then lived out his days with her, but, that is a story for another day.

Family 1957

Yes my immediate family was unique, for in those days most people stuck to their marriage even when from a human perspective it seemed not to be working. My brothers and I suffered some negative societal effects because of this since for the most part everyday people did not divorce. Being from a family with divorced parents at that time (called a broken home) gave people reason to shun and even ostracize you; not just the men and women involved but also their children. Yet back then, the vast majority of children I knew enjoyed a complete family with well-defined roles for fathers and mothers and many seemed to have a happy home.

Yes the society in the 1950’s that I became aware of was working very well, the Great Depression and World War II were in the past and the hostilities of the Korean Conflict were in remission. Dad’s had good jobs and Mom’s stayed home and cared for house, home-life and the children. We as children were taught how to act in public within our homes so even before we became students we had manners and understood right from wrong. What was some of this social knowledge that we had as we left our home? We should respect others, we should be polite we should not steal or fight and we knew very well that when we strayed from this norm, some form of punishment was due us when we got home – when our parents found out that is. No it was not a perfect society but it was better than what I perceive society to be now in many ways.

Through history marriage and the family unit survived times of war and catastrophes often by forming blended family units out of the survivors. Even when survival fostered these new marriage situations love developed from the commitment to make it work.  This tradition reestablished order within damaged family units and therefore they improved the recovering societies they lived in. Again, It was not perfect, but the striving for something better overcame the damage (sadly often human self-inflicted damage) that humans endured. Yes when the basic family unit was reestablished, order and stability followed and the people who had suffered calamity returned to a life as close to normal as possible.

New and Old Influences in the U.S.A.

Old foes of marriage? Relaxed standards for curbing lustful desires, mistrust for a spouse, financial stress, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and often spouses asserting very different philosophies and expectations for the marriage relationship. Yet negatives can be (and often were) overcome by a commitment to honor vows, and allow love to grow.

New foes of marriage? Exaggerated self-importance, conditional commitments, mistrust, too many opportunities of temptation leading to unfaithfulness , misconceptions of love and confusion between love and lust. In some cases even a good thing like an increased average life span can allow negative influences the time required to break down our best efforts to remain faithful.

Yet the greatest danger to healthy enduring marriages may be trends in popular culture that glorify the negatives and thus encourage people to live for their own personal pleasure and satisfaction.

Post-Modern Society

The backlash from societal failures to avert old human calamities such as war fostered a very seductive form of persuasion on society: individual fulfillment is paramount, truth is relative and morality is not absolute but functions on a sliding scale. Some verbal indicators: “We are not wrong, we just are different.” “You have just changed too much” or “I have changed my mind about you.” “No one wins until we all win.” “You are inhibiting my freedom to be me.” “Circumstances warrant the bending of rules or ignoring a law in my opinion.” These comments not only shed light on threats to our traditional view of the foundational family unit in my opinion but, have had, and continues to have, a negative effect on marriage.

It Once was Bad now it is Good

Jokes about a spouse and marriage in general are very much a part of popular humor today: in cartoons, in cinema, on television and especially exploited by comedians. Tabloids spew the sordid details of celebrity weddings, their break ups and even their sexual escapades. Having a child out-of-wedlock seems to be perfectly fine today, even when a single parent must raise the child. Cohabitation, then having children, and, then getting married is fast becoming the norm in my part of the world. Progressive thinkers applaud these changes, yet in my assessment the weakening of the aspects that have made our Western Culture so strong, especially within the United States, are having a negative affect and usurping one of our great strengths: The American Family.

The lack of stable quintessential family units robs us of a bright future. Stable family units that provide us with a new well-balanced generation, that has a clear sense of right and wrong, that demonstrates respect for others, has a keen sense of purpose and behaves with civility would continue what has been so good about our way of life. Isolated examples of a child doing good that has emerged from foster care or he or she came from a dysfunctional family fuel supporters of these new ways; they point out that this indicates fragmented and altered family units do no harm. I believe a closer look at what goes on in our schools tells a different story.

My Perspective Changed

In August 1984 I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. From this vantage point of my age it was about the mid-point of my life. The way I lived before that moment was characterized by a hedonistic drive: I dabbled with drugs in my teens, ultimately became an alcoholic who kept the most negative effects less apparent to those around me, I was liberal concerning sex, I even had two marriages fail and was at a loss to explain my lack of success.  A lack of success even though I was told I had talent and a good mind and would be very successful. After 1984 much had improved though life was not perfect: consequences for my per-Christian life lingered (even challenged me at times) , but, since 1985 when my wife and I married (she also is a Christian) we have weathered many a storm together and God has blessed us in just the right measure to fend of the worst life has hurled at us. We were, and still are blessed in so many ways. It is clear to me which way of life is best for my wife and I and our family. I am quiet sure when people turn to The Lord their lives will change for the better and this improves our society as well.

Yes I am a Bible Believing Christian fully convinced that humans can never live up to the standard God has provided, but an earnest desire to strive for His standard yields the best for all humanity not just for us here in These United States of America.

 

What the Bible Indicates

Hebrews 13: 4 – 5 (ESV)

4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

Proverbs 11:29 (NIV)

Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.

 

Mark 10: 6 – 9

6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

 

Exodus 20:12 (NLT)

“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

Are the Ten Commandments Obsolete?

How fast would humans descend to cruel anarchy without words of truth to guide them?

GodsWordbMany years ago when I was a young Christian doing my best to be a good witness I encountered a couple who seemed like people I could talk to so I spoke to them about Jesus Christ and Christianity.  I explained how my life had been changed for the good and shared examples of the benefits from learning and applying God’s Word to my life and my family’s life.  This conversation could only continue sporadically over time because we were co-workers and opportunity to spend a lot time in this conversation would not be the right thing to do.  Of course I tried to make up for that by giving them tracts.  One day they told me outright that they did not need religion (nor a relationship with Jesus) to live a good life, die and go to heaven.  OK, so they let me know they had heard enough about the subject and that I should back off.  I asked one last question before we went our separate ways.

“How can you be so sure you know all there is to know about right and wrong?” I said.

She replied, ” We just know.”

I mused over that for a moment then asked a friendly question, “Where did you meet each other by the way?”

They told me they were childhood sweethearts and they had attended and graduated from parochial school (Roman Catholic).  My last words to them as we parted?

“So you did learn all about God’s Ten Commandments after all, and, that is how I believe you really know right from wrong.”

Religion is the attempt by humans to get back in touch with God after “The Fall” in the Garden of Eden.  Through the eons many common sense teachings have helped people live better and the origins of this wisdom has seemed to have arrived on Earth via many different people.  Many people who presented this wisdom are associated with numerous religions, yet under closer scrutiny I see that the greatest truths for humans has actually come directly from God.  How I know this will be explained in a book that I am writing.  For now I just want to focus on the “Ten Commandments” that were given to Moses as explained in the Old Testament of The Bible in the book of Exodus 20:1–17.   When people obeyed the precepts in this revelation all people benefited and this is recorded throughout the history of civilization.

Unbelievers, pagans, agnostics and atheists have benefited from the guidance obtained from the Ten Commandments, not just  Hebrews and Christians.  Governments have relied on them when passing the laws that provide order for their nations.  Satan and his cohorts know them better than many humans.  While adhering to these Ten Commandments will not assure your acceptance into Heaven (only accepting Jesus can do that) life on Earth is so much better when they are followed.  These precepts guide us and teach us about our own nature thus they help us to avoid the consequences of wrong doing.  Today there appears to be a movement to remove all references to the Ten Commandments, displays of them and monuments to them everywhere because they offend some people.  Who are they?

The Ten Commandments not only teach us right from wrong but shed light on evil doers in my opinion and, if some people are made uncomfortable by their presence so be it, that is exactly what God has intended: they expose and work against evil and perpetrators of evil.

Deuteronomy 4:13 (ESV)

And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments, and he wrote them on two tablets of stone.

1 Corinthians 7:19 (ESV)

For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.

 

Ten Commandments for the 21st Century

(explained by James Halifko)

  1. Recognize just one Supreme Being: God

  2. Do not create your own gods from any thing or any concept.

  3. Do not utter God or speak of God in a disrespectful manner.

  4. Humans need a true day of rest during a week.

  5. The family unit is vital for good so especially respect your parents.

  6. Murder is evil and forbidden; kill only in order to survive.

  7. Honor your commitment to your spouse; adultery is destructive.

  8. Do not take or keep anything that you have not earned.

  9. Do not lie or omit truth.

  10. Coveting anything or anyone is an empty and wasteful practice and invites evil.

Is America Loosing Its Civility?

DSCN0015

As I became aware of the milieu I was born into during the 1950’s I was taught to respect elders, people of authority, teachers, clergy and everyone I encountered in public.  Manners were important and especially the choice of words used in public, school and certainly in mixed company.

Today it seems common here on the East Coast of the U.S.A.  within Megalopolis to slack off on manners and abandon constraint on the tongue: I often her expletives and swear words once confined to harsh work environments, back alleys, saloons and during armed conflicts. Sure boys hanging out were prone to express themselves in a loose manner but quickly modified their speech when an older person, female or person of authority entered within hearing range.  What about today?

Since the 1950’s things have turned away from a tradition of being polite.  This is reflected in the character and dialogue in cinema, television programs, magazines and more so in the new publicly shared social media of the Twenty-first Century have a much lower standard.  I find it especially offensive when the expletives and swearing is unrestrained in popular song lyrics, in mixed company and especially in groups that have children present.  Many people today apparently do not think this is a problem nor do they seem to believe it does any harm.  Aside from older people from another generation being offended as I, I see this trend as one more degradation in our society that once was civil if not always pleasant.

I am a Christian and I do not believe the wisdom offered to us within the Bible is old fashioned or out dated.  On the contrary,  Holy Scripture teaches us  how to make life better by fostering respect and positive behavior within families and in public.

Luke 6:45 (ESV)

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Ephesians 4:29

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Proverbs 8:13

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Everyone has Value

people

Everyone who has ever lived and will be conceived is important: we are all part of the whole and what we do, or do not do, affects everyone else.  Yes we see the importance of great inventors, leaders and thinkers yet, we can not dismiss the value of any person doing any kind of work, or, just being part of the biosphere.  In a universe vast beyond human comprehension are we important on the cosmic scale?  Philosophers say we ourselves are the universe cognisant of itself.  You may think this message is beyond your comprehension, or it just does not apply to your everyday life but you are.

God has a purpose for you; he wants you to chose what is good and right with the freewill he has granted – but he will not force you to comply.  You are free to make your own way by making your own choices from moment to moment.  God loves his creation and God especially loves people; this includes you.  The Bible reveals many truths but the value placed on people is the greatest truth so often forgotten.  Seek God.  Seek God especially if you are struggling with self worth and can not believe you have a purpose: you have worth and you have a purpose.

For God So Loved the World  John 3:16 (ESV)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

You are Important Matthew 10: 26 – 33

26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[g] 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[h] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Do You Wonder

100_4551Do You Wonder?

Have you ever paused by an open space and wondered? Wondered what life is all about? Wondered if there was more than what you perceive?

Probably you have and will again.  Life can have us all wrapped up in a frenzy taking care of daily business, family or a myriad of so many other things.  When we consider the past we often wish we could have done something different: chose a different path, striven harder to keep a relationship  . . . and so on.  When we look to the future we often grow anxious: we hope we have the right plan, we hope we will remain in good health or we stress over whether we will be, or continue to be, successful.  How many of us “live in the NOW”?

When we focus on a situation that commands our full attention we may be “living in the now”.  Yet if while we are engaged in something, eating a meal, in a conversation, at work or in a class we probably too often anticipate what we will be doing next or soon.  This behavior can rob us or even our partner(s) of all you can offer – and it can rob you of the best of what you are engaged in.

“Living in the now” requires an awareness of what we are all about or how we negotiate through life moment to moment.  We must use self control and acquire the discipline to curtail the self generated distractions and learn when it is appropriate to consider the past and anticipate the future (yes there is a time and a place for everything).

It may help you to read Chapter 3 of the Bibles Old Testament  book of Ecclesiastes and perhaps Proverbs also.  The wisdom conveyed there within the scripture is a good starting place . . . no . . . an excellent starting place for you to begin to understand many things including much about yourself and what is common to all humans.