In Ephesians 6:1-4 and Colossians 3:18-21, the Apostle Paul begins to tell us how family ought to work. His teaching can be summarized in a few simple statements; “Husbands, love your wives and be considerate. Wives, submit to your husbands. Children, obey your parents. Fathers, don’t irritate your children.” This was revolutionary teaching in that cultural context.
Do your best to imagine the ideal family. Now think of what you know to be real in your family. Is there a noticeable gap between what’s real and what’s ideal? I suspect that there is.
Then comes the question, are we willing to embrace an ideal that may never be a reality in our family or will we be tempted to settle for what’s real and try to make that the new ideal?
If we are not careful, the temptation is to lose sight of the ideal to feel better about what is real in our family. The temptation is to declare whatever is true of you and your family as the new normal. When we do this, we lower the standard.
In the beginning God planned that a man and woman would come together and stay together for life. That’s the ideal. “What God has joined together let no one separate.” Divorce was not a part of the plan. So, what did Jesus do to all of the divorced people? He didn’t do anything to them, He did something for them. He died for them. He forgave them.
Jesus was the full embodiment of both grace and truth. He didn’t lower the standard or change it, nor does He turn His back on those who have not achieved the ideal when it comes to marriage.
Jesus is basically inviting/instructing us to follow Him into the complexities of family life and see the difference between what is real and what is ideal and see if we can learn from Him how to bridge that gap.
We all have to decide if we will embrace God’s standard (a standard many have already fallen short of) as the ideal and pursue that ideal with intentionality, or will we try to change the rules and redefine terms so that we feel better about our current situation?
As Disciples of Jesus Christ, we do not have the right, the freedom or permission to tamper with God’s ideal when it comes to marriage, family or life.
You can read Steve Greene’s blog at www.pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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