How Can We Improve The Home Front?
In Second Kings we read of the Shunamite woman. When we meet her she had no child and asked the prophet Elisha for a son. A son was born to her and her husband and there was great rejoicing. But tragedy struck the home. The son became ill and died. The woman again went to the prophet for aid. As Elisha saw her coming he sent his servant to meet her and make this inquiry, “Is it well with thee? Is it well with thy husband? It is well with the child? (Second Kings 4:26). These are questions we need to be asking today about our homes.
In America it is all too obvious that in millions of homes all is not well. While great optimism may be evident at the marriage altar and the doors of a “heaven on earth” seem to await, the new relationship often turns into the gateway of an earthly hell. The forces against the family and sanctity of marriage have taken a deadly toll from society. When you marry the right person there is nothing more wonderful. When you marry the wrong person, often for the wrong reasons, there are few things worse and sorrow follows.
One of four, and in some localities one of two, marriages are ending in divorce. Our divorce rate is higher than in any nation on earth. Hundreds of thousands of youths are torn apart from their parents because of divorce. Millions are living with one parent because of the breakdown of the home. I have never seen nor heard of so much divorce even among members of the church. Furthermore, even where divorce does not occur, many homes are unhappy, maladjusted and miserable with the accompanying unfaithfulness, conflict and frustrated children.
A Corrupt View
Too many have viewed marriage through the eyes of degenerate Hollywood and the trashy magazines so abundant in our society. These are loveless, selfish, sex-obsessed relationships without the spiritual emphasis and God-given purposes of marriage even being considered, let alone respected. America is bombarded with the advice from the prominent and popular figures who have made miserable failures of their own marriages. There are even elements that seek the dissolution of marriage and the home, promoting free-love communes and the acceptance of all forms of sexual perversions and violations of the will of God. How much wiser and more successful marriages would be if those involved paid attention to the Designer and Originator of the relationship.
Our homes must be improved if our freedoms and society shall stand. Nineteen of twenty-two civilizations of the past had already crumbled before they reached the low level of home disintegration already evident in our nation. Does this not concern you? The breakdown of the home precedes every fall because the home is to exercise influence in molding the coming generations. When the home is not as it should be, neither will society be as it ought to be. You cannot sow to the flesh and reap life. How can we improve the quality of homes in America, even among those in the church?
A Spiritual Tragedy
Seeing the disasters of failure, we must recognize this failure as a social, but more significantly, a self-imposed spiritual disease and seek the proper medicine. Solutions proposed by men have never succeeded. The corrections needed are sometimes hard to take, but considering the alternatives, we would be wise to hasten to take what we need. So many pulpits bemoan symptoms of home failure but refuse to come to grips with the real problems. Because of preachers fearful of offending the sinful, the remedy given by the Lord is most often unheard, and even less often heeded. Too much preaching is as one described it, “Yo preaching,” meaning a combination of yes and no, take it any way you want. One would think that those who are serious regarding the marital problems and family destruction would want something better than the insipid mouthing of social manipulators, social workers, sociologists of atheistic bent and men who promote their philosophies of “wisdom” rather than the way of divine wisdom.
Marry a Christian
The first suggestion for improvement we make is for Christians to marry those of like precious faith. This is to avoid a multiplicity of problems before they ever arise. So many leave the Lord in favor of their mate when they do not consider the Lord in selecting their mate. Leaders in every religion warn against mixed marriages because such a divided position on such serious matters inescapably produces problems. Frankly, it is frustrating and aggravating to have people totally ignore this sound wisdom, then in a few years come crying to you to help them out of the mess they are in regarding their mate. What can one do when people fly into the face of truth and reason? Indeed, “The way of the transgressor is hard,” but convincing people of that is not easily done. They have seen their parents do it and some way, somehow think the division they have witnessed in the home will escape them. They act like stubborn fools and with parental encouragement.
Second Corinthians 6:14-18 teaches against relationships that are incompatible with being a Christian. This is not only applicable to marriage but to all relationships. But listening to this divine teaching would certainly include the closest human relationship in life, that of husband and wife. How can a Christian expect to have Christ in the home when the mate is not even a Christian? The marriage that God approves includes a man, a woman, and Christ. Why do people not consider the Lord when selecting a mate? What of the effect and influence on children that may be born into that home? Where is the common principle and basis of truth upon which decisions shall be made when the Lord is left out? There are fifty times less divorces among those who marry those of like faith than otherwise when both are active and together in the faith.
Women in the Home
I can hear the wail and cry from fools from every quarter when such is even suggested. The point is not taken very well on our disintegrating society but it cannot be repealed and the fruit of its opposite is destroying us. Women must return to putting the home before their personal careers in the world. It is not male chauvinism but the Bible that teaches the woman is to guide the house, love and take care of her family, place her work as a wife and mother before other things (Titus 2:4,5; First Timothy 5:14; Proverbs 31). The “smart alecks” of our time think God is out-of-date. But that simply shows what fools they are. While the world favors monetary gain, recognition, material advancement, these things are sought at the sacrifice of the home. Wives, husbands and children are paying for it in a tragic way. Whether a woman works outside the home is not the full issue. So often her choice is based on selfishness rather than sacrifice. Is it because of need, or greed, that has taken mothers from their children, brought them into flirtatious encounters in the world, weakening the moral fibre of the home? It is impossible to ignore the increase of juvenile delinquency, child neglect, unattended children, child abuse, and disrupted marriages and related tragedies with the increase of the wives and mothers leaving their primary work as God has assigned it to pursue their selfish and worldly ambitions. Would to God such people could not even physically have children! They do not deserve them. Some even kill them in the womb rather than carry them to birth. What vicious servants of the devil they show themselves to be. With the number one cause of wayward children being parental neglect, how can one successfully argue against God’s will? Society may be pushing women into more and more competition with men in areas she does not belong and urging her to abandon the areas where she is especially suited, but godly women push back. Whatever be the cause bringing this travesty upon society, nobody who is honest and fair with the facts can argue with the corresponding and disastrous effects on the home.
There is no career for women that surpasses that high calling of guiding the house, homemaker, caring and attending for the family, providing security, love, a sense of belonging and identity that the mother in the home can give and the mother away from the home cannot provide. While the world places glamour, praise, money on the pedestal, this is foreign to God’s intent. If the women returned to the home the families would be happier, ample jobs would be available for provisions, lawlessness would decrease, children would be better guided, the nation more stable and the homes far richer than the money brought in at such sacrifice of what really counts. The home’s physical gain is often made at the sacrifice of its spiritual welfare.
There must be the return to the Lord’s standards of purity. God condemns fornication, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, and all other forms of illicit sexual conduct. When God says “thou shalt” and “thou shalt not,” there is no room for rationalism to the contrary. The educated fools of our day have led people to believe the “new morality” of old degeneracy is the way and look what it has produced for us all! What many casually call “affairs” are nothing more than sin that damns. The immorality of America is rampant.
Some years ago I heard a television panel composed of a Protestant clergyman, a Jewish rabbi and a Catholic priest discussing America’s morality. They were at odds on many points, but in agreement on one. They all considered the Biblical standard of morals out of fashion for our age. These theological servants of hell were undermining the only thing that kept things decent. They could offer nothing whatever to check the advance of the moral decline and the attendant diseases and evils in its wake. Our universities operating at state expense are too often nothing more than state-financed brothels where the student is taught there is no right and wrong about sexual conduct. Why the fruits of this hideous philosophy does not impress these “wise men” is beyond comprehension. The diseases, malformed children, insecurities, mental breakdown, divorces, etc. that are produced seem to have no place in the concerns of these “experts” as they ponder the theme of morality. This is quite a contrast to the law of our loving Lord.
The law of Christ teaches no sexual union outside of marriage or before marriage, and absolute faithfulness in marriage. Variance from this is sin and God holds the sinner guilty. To use premarital sex as a “proof of love” is to lie with abandon. How could one really love another and encourage and participate with them in that which damns the souls of both of them? That is love? Can you not see how spiritually sick are the minds of many even regarding love? It is not love, but lust. Only the application of God’s rule of conduct will deal properly with the moral malady besetting our land.
There must be the return to the strong father in the home. The husband is to be the head (Ephesians 5:23). Something is wrong when that is not the case. Either the man is weak and unwilling to assume his responsibilities, which is not manly, or the woman is dominant, unwilling to subject herself to her husband, which is a sorry demonstration of womanhood, but more like a demonstration that all the Jezebels are not dead. Usually, both share in the blame when there is not a strong father in the home.
There is no such thing as the husband being superior or the wife superior. Each is superior in his or her realm. But each is a source of stress and malfunction when outside of their realm. One of the finest things that was ever said in the Bible of any man was said of Abraham, Genesis 18:19, "He will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord.”
There must be the spiritual emphasis in the home. It may sound trite but it is true. Families that pray together, usually stay together. This summarizes the usefulness of being spiritually active in the home. One study has shown that ninety-five per cent of the divorces that do occur do so in homes where one or both did not attend worship. In homes of church going families, one of fifty-seven still suffer divorce. But what a difference! That figure doubtless is not so encouraging today as when the survey was made because there has been such an increase in divorces even among church people who have followed the ways of the world more than the way of Christ. We now even have a deluge of false doctrines trying to accommodate adultery and sinful so-called marriages so people can “do their own thing” and still be considered respectable, even among brethren. The Lord’s wrath shall ultimately be poured out on such teachers and those who follow their sinister doctrines. Such false teaching only encourages more home destruction.
A person has no more right to destroy the home than he does to destroy the church, assuming the home is acceptable to God. They both have come from the mind of God. But to leave God out of the home is cut away the very heart of it. A home that fails to honor God, His Son, His church, His Word, can never expect to reap the rich reward of spiritual success God intends. The home is even a greater spiritual influence, especially on the young, than the church. The home can support or tear down the efforts made by the church regarding spiritual matters. The home, the spring from which all else comes, when polluted, pollutes everything else. To make matters better, we must concentrate on the improvement of the spring.
We cannot turn our backs on these principles and expect improvement. If we will give heed to them, teach them, insist upon them among brethren, we shall be blessed. The place to begin is your home, my home, and try to influence all homes in God’s direction.
1. From what account is the following quotation taken? “Is it well with thee?”
2. What way is marriage too often wrongfully viewed?
3. What is affected when the home is not as it ought to be?
4. What is the primary role of women in the home?
5. What is the role of the man in the home?
6. What is God’s standard of morality as pertains to marriage?
7. To improve the home, what special emphasis must be made?
8. How is this done?