How are family relationships supposed to work? And how should the community of Christians function?
Jesus, again, gives us His teaching on these key issues. Marriage is between one man and one woman, and is for life. God unites a man and woman for life, and sees them as one. Jesus gives a very high view of marriage – so strict that the disciples question if it is even worth getting married! Jesus then goes on to teach about the value of singleness – a life devoted to Christ, and fulfilled in relationship with Him and His people. This includes children – whom Jesus valued in a way that was unusual for His day – they were not to be ignored or kept silent, but to be seen as models of faith, and valued.
So where does that leave divorced people, and gay marriage, and those who don’t have kids? First, we have to value the teachings of Christ, and stop passing them through a filter – to change His truth or modify it the way we want. It helps to start with Jesus’ teaching on singleness – this is a high calling for Christians, and it is not to be seen as a “curse” or “half life”. If the Church can value singleness as a wonderful thing, and create community, it can be a light to the world for those who are called to be single – whether for a time or for life. This makes a difference with kids – because the children in the community of faith are loved by all, including those who are single. This makes a difference when we move into marriage – because if being single is not a curse, then there is less pressure to get married, to rush getting married, to compromise values when looking for a spouse. A person could say it is ok if they are single until 30, or 60 – as long as they wait for the right person. The Church can follow Christ, and create community around a person. And the Church can show God’s forgiveness – there will be divorce, there will be those who have struggled with homosexuality – actions and feelings. The Church can proclaim God’s truth, live God’s way, and extend God’s grace – all at the same time.
When we don’t compromise the teaching of Christ, we can truly share His hope for the world, and the longings of love we have in our hearts.
For me today, this means I need to work as a leader to grow these values in the community of faith I am a part of, and to work on my marriage and relationships with my kids.
What about you? What is God calling you to work on today? How is Christ your first love, and how does that change the other loves in your life?