By Bobby Witherington
In Proverbs 14:34 the wise man said, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to (any) people.” That this statement is true can be verified by studying the history of the nation of Israel in Old Testament times. When they forsook idols and turned to God, and embraced the principles of righteousness set forth in God’s law, they invariably prospered and were abundantly blessed in so many ways. But when they forsook the law of God, and turned to idols, they invariably suffered dire consequences – consequences which included the disfavor of God, loss of self-respect, loss of the respect of the nations around them, loss of life, and loss of freedom by being conquered and taken captive by those nations. Though our own nation has never been a “Christian nation” (as some have mistakenly described it), it has in times past been a nation where decency, personal responsibility, moral uprightness, and respect for proper authority were upheld. And who could deny that, in the process, this nation was blessed in so many ways?
But times have changed! Some of us can remember when a person could walk unafraid and unmolested upon the streets of most any major city. But now crime has invaded even the lonely rural areas, and violence in small towns is quite common. We have a moral crisis in America! This fact is confirmed every time one hears the evening news or, for that matter, takes a look at the TV guide in order to see the kind of programs which society now allows piped into its homes.
How did this moral crisis come about? Doubtlessly much of our moral crisis has been implemented by many social changes – changes which have removed the word “sin” from our collective vocabulary, and which have given a degree of respectability to homosexuals, lesbians, and other immoral degenerates. Without a doubt, much of today’s moral crisis has been aided and abetted by a liberal interpretation of the law, even to the point of showing more respect for the rights of criminals than for their victims!
Not for one moment would we knowingly minimize the tragic effects wrought upon society by any of the aforementioned realms of influence with regard to today’s moral crisis. However, we suggest that the real culprit as to the major cause of society’s present moral crisis has yet to be mentioned. We affirm that the weakening of society’s moral standards has largely been proportionate to, and contemporary with, the weakening of the home. We further affirm that today’s escalation of crime has been simultaneous with the escalation of divorce, and that the place to begin in our efforts to save our nation from destruction is in the family circle.
With this belief, I merely introduce the theme I plan to discuss – a theme which pertains to the home and to the family circle.
Divine Origin of Marriage
“And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him. . . . And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:18,21-24).
The verses which we just read set forth the divine origin of marriage and the marriage relationship. It was God who said, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” It was God who said, “I will make him a helper comparable to him.” It was God who performed the first surgery as he took a rib from Adam’s side, from which he made woman. It was from henceforth God’s will that a man “leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife.” It was God’s will that the husband and wife become “one flesh.” Other Scriptures reveal that this husband-wife relationship was divinely designed to provide companionship, happiness, the procreation of mankind, and to serve as the very foundation of society itself.
Morally speaking, we have reached a crisis point in America. This fact is too well known, and too well documented, for me to take your time in attempting to prove. But what so many seem to overlook is the fact that our national moral crisis is tied in with our national divorce rate. The home and the family have always been the very bedrock of society, and out of families have always come the men and the morals that shaped and determined the destiny of nations. God designed the home to be the cradle of civilization and, historically speaking, the home has been the bulwark of nations. But the home, which was thus divinely conceived and designed, has in our society been neglected by husbands, deserted by wives, and despised by children. Please do not misunderstand; I do not believe the whole country has gone to the dogs. Most people are basically good, law-abiding folks. However, even among this basically good, law-abiding number, the family circle is often a broken circle, and an attitude of despair prevails.
A weakening of the home means a weakening of society in general, a weakening of our nation, and, yes, the weakening of the church. It is impossible to build strong churches out of weak homes, for no church can rise above the level of quality that characterizes the families that constitute the temple of God. However, it is not enough to just bemoan the moral and domestic crisis which has engulfed our nation. We must also study and learn ways to cope with this crisis, to do what we can to halt the deterioration of family life, to meet the challenge of our present crisis, and to bring greater joy and happiness in our own daily lives. The Lord willing, I shall pursue this important subject in the light of the Scriptures in future articles.
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 15, pp. 450, 471
August 1, 1991