I was going to write about marriage this week. Jim and I will celebrate our fortieth wedding anniversary on Sunday, and that is a big deal. God created the concept of marriage for a reason.
During the important times, the joyful times, and the difficult times, marriage is the best earthly example of the way God loves us. In a good marriage, love sustains.
But talking about my anniversary seemed “inconsiderate” when the news was consumed with video of chaos and destruction only a few miles away. I shouldn’t write words that are “inconsiderate” in a blog post.
And then I realized that a good marriage actually has a lot to do with those videos.
I was watching the news on Saturday night when a preacher, referring to the violence, said, “They are a godless people. They don’t know Jesus. They don’t know they are loved.”
That preacher wasn’t describing the race of the people who were rioting; he was describing their spiritual condition. They weren’t godless; they were God-less.
Everyone has false gods, but not everyone is God-less.
It is “inconsiderate” to refuse to consider God-lessness as a real problem in our world.
Everyone has idols or false gods. Everyone struggles with racism. Everyone thinks they are better, or more deserving, than someone else: worthier of respect; worthier of possessions; worthier of safety; worthier of opportunity; worthier of truth; or worthier of love.
Every person is conditioned from birth to think certain ways because every person has a sin nature that needs redemption. Did those words offend you?
When I said I was watching the news on Saturday night and a preacher said, “They are a godless people,” what race was the preacher in your mind?
Were you right, wrong, or just conditioned to think a certain way?
Racism isn’t an exclusive sin. Everyone born is conditioned from birth because of their experiences. Everyone struggles with racism of some kind.
None of us are godless, but many are God-less.
What does marriage have to do with racism?
The Brookings Institute did a study hoping to produce a method to escape poverty. Some refer to it as the “steps to success.”
The article states: “Let politicians, schoolteachers and administrators, community leaders, ministers and parents drill into children the message that in a free society, they enter adulthood with three major responsibilities: at least finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have children.”
The study continued, “Our research shows that of American adults who followed these three simple rules, only about 2 percent are in poverty and nearly 75 percent have joined the middle class (defined as earning around $55,000 or more per year).”
Those facts are interesting, but the study mostly reveals that God’s plan was a good one.
God provided us with a plan for success. It wasn’t a plan for a certain race of people; it was a plan for his creation. That plan included a behavior that our culture has chosen to set aside: God’s people were supposed to find a person and then share a strong, lifelong relationship of love.
From that relationship, children would be born and raised with love, discipline, and direction. From that relationship, children would come to know God’s love. A loving family was God’s plan.
Did the Brookings Institute report create a picture in your mind?
Allow me to create a biblical picture: Cain and Abel.
Marriage wasn’t a rule for a certain race of people; it was the rule for God’s people. The people who obey God’s rules are his family, and those rules transcend physical genetics. Everyone is born God-less, needing his love. Family was God’s plan to teach that lesson.
But all of us know that family and marriage don’t guarantee a person’s choices.
What did the preacher look like?
When the preacher described the rioters looting the stores and throwing things at the police, he said they were “godless people.” He wasn’t describing the people; he was describing their spiritual condition.
His comment wasn’t racist; it was truth.
What did the preacher look like?
He probably looks like whatever you were conditioned to think he looks like. In the end, it doesn’t matter what he looked like. He spoke truth.
He wanted those people to know God, love God, and be loved by God.
That is what matters because that is what will help.
What did the rioters look like?
What did the rioters look like to that preacher?
Lost kids who were in trouble. And yes, they looked like his brothers.
The important point of the evening for me was this: I agreed with every word that preacher said that evening. He was angry and so was I. He was outraged and so was I. He was sad and so was I.
But the real point of my blog is this: That preacher wanted those rioters to be his brothers and sisters.
I do too.
The marriage that matters most
If you are reading this blog, you are probably a child of God. You are the church, the bride of Christ. Why does Scripture refer to us in this way?
Because the marriage relationship was the closest understanding people could have of the way they are completely loved by God.
Whatever is happening in our world, we need to stand with that preacher and see others as God-less or as a person who is already a brother or sister. Those are the only two races of people that exist in our world and the only biblical point of view we are allowed. Everyone is either lost or found.
Does your salvation cause you to feel arrogant or humbly grateful?
That is the taproot of both blessings and sin, and the first place to address the racism in our lives. We draw in God’s love, but other things can creep in as well.
Everyone deserves to have God’s love in their life. The marriage that matters most is described in the book of Revelation: “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). Christians are the bride of Christ; everyone else still needs that marriage.
Whom do you know who needs to get married?
It is “inconsiderate” not to consider their greatest need.
I’m glad to be married
Jim and I were married on June 7, 1980. We have chosen to love, honor, and obey—God.
Therefore, we work hard to love, honor, and obey in our marriage. For everyone, marriage is hard work. But that love is worth it.
I love my family, and I’m grateful for the blessings they bring. I would wish this or something better for everyone. But earthly marriage was just supposed to be an example of the most important marriage.
Jim and I chose to get married, and every day we choose to stay happily married. Christians choose to get married too.
We are the bride of Christ. The question is, how will you choose to stay happily married to your groom today?
That is the relationship Jesus wants because that choice will help make the changes many in our world need today.