I watched Jodie Foster receive her Lifetime Achievement Award from the Golden Globes this past weekend and I was as confused as most of the country after her acceptance speech. But this blog post is not really about her speech, it is about the conversations that have been making news as a result of what she said. These are interesting days. ABC is defining the “Modern Family,” Oprah is defining “truth,” and most people are more influenced by their television sets than they are the Bible. Has the church lost its ability to teach the culture the ancient truth, that is still the truth today? I don’t think so – but we do need to rethink our methods.
How can the modern church speak to the “modern family” with ancient truth? The modern family is an ancient problem. God defined marriage and family the moment he created Adam and Eve. God’s definition is as ancient as the world itself. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:27-28). God made Adam and Eve for each other and children would be the natural result of their relationship. They were the first family. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). So when did the definition of family get changed? Shortly after.
Adam had just died when, “Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah” (Genesis 4:19). Polygamy was the first sin against God’s definition of marriage. Later, other biblical heroes such as Abraham, Esau, Jacob, Gideon, Elkanah, David, Solomon, and others engaged in polygamy. Many other sins were born out of this one. Families were fractured by jealousy, favoritism and even new cultures and belief systems were created from competing children. Eve used her relationship with Adam to encourage sin. Their son, Cain, murdered their son, Abel. The “family” was the first thing Satan attacked, and that spiritual battle will never end. Moses had to speak to the issues of divorce and adultery in Deuteronomy. Genesis 19, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, reveals God’s truth about homosexuality, adultery and the misuse of God’s purpose for the sexual relationship. God intended the sexual relationship to create the family, and when his people misused that relationship it became the very thing that destroyed the family. Satan attacked the family in Genesis and has continued that attack throughout biblical history.
So what is the word to God’s people today? The idea of the “modern family” is really not modern at all. We don’t have a new battle on our hands, we have a very old, very common battle. Satan is still attacking the family. The good news: families still exist. The best way to fight Satan and redefine family, is to have a strong, God-centered family yourself. How pure is your marriage? Do you have a covenant relationship with your spouse and God? If not, will you make that commitment today? Does God, who knows your very thoughts, consider you to have a pure relationship with your spouse? If not, confess your sins because God is faithful and just to forgive your sins, and cleanse you of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). You are one prayer away from a purer marriage.
How do we teach Jodie Foster, Oprah, Sam Champion, Ellen, Tom Cruise, and truthfully, our president, how we ought to define the family? By having a family that God is able to bless, and other people want to have. Our best offense is not to offensively shout the truth, but to overtly live the truth.
But one last thought: Don’t think for a minute that what I have just suggested is going to be an easy solution. God’s people have been “tempted” to sin since Genesis, and have. Here is GREAT news for your family from Jesus: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Don’t let Hollywood define the modern family, you and your family should do that. With God’s help – it is completely possible!