740) Whatever Works– Right?

     What if God’s commandments are not just arbitrary rules from which we can pick and choose as we, in our infinite wisdom, think best?  What if God’s Law really is the key to how life is best lived?  What if the traditional family really does work best?  But it is science, and not the Bible anymore, to which many people look for answers today.  So what does the scientific evidence reveal?  (Adapted from “More Evidence for the Traditional Family,” by John Stonestreet, January 29, 2015, at:  www.breakpoint.org )

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     When I was growing up, no one ever asked what a “family” was.  It was assumed that everyone knew the answer.  But things have changed, and changed fast.  Dennis Prager summed it up well when he said, “In one generation we’ve gone from ‘father knows best’ to ‘father doesn’t matter.’”  Christians and other traditionalists on this issue will say a family consists of a married man and woman and any kids who come along.  Others will say that definition is too restrictive, that a family can be an unmarried man and woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman.  Others wonder why we restrict the family unit to two adults at all and advocate a kind of model known as polyamory.

     “Who are you,” they pointedly ask us, “to tell people who they can love?”

     In the old days, we could point to the Bible as well as the thousands of years of history to support our answer.  But what do we do when people either reject the witness of Scripture and history, or willfully change its clear message?

     Well, there is yet another source of authority that most of our neighbors still respect.  It’s called “science.”  And while empirical data are limited in what they can tell us about moral questions such as what makes a marriage, they can tell us a lot about what works in the real world.

     And that’s why the findings of Mexican sociologist Fernando Pliego are so interesting.  Pliego, a researcher at the Autonomous National University of Mexico, looked at 351 academic studies in thirteen countries on five continents.

     According to one summary of Pliego’s research, “The members of traditional families enjoy better physical health, less mental illness, higher incomes, and steadier employment.  They and their children live in better housing, enjoy more loving and cooperative relationships, and report less physical or sexual violence.”

     It goes on:  “Moreover, when the bonds between parents and children are more positive, drug, alcohol and tobacco use is lower, children are better socialized and cooperative, they commit fewer crimes, and they perform better in school.”

     Now this would be old news to Chuck Colson, of course, who worked in prisons for thirty-four years with Prison Fellowship.  In fact, every person I’ve ever talked with who works in prison points to the devastation wrought when young men don’t have a father at home.  Chuck once said, “Every time I set a foot inside a prison, I see the results of splintered families.  So many of the prisoners I talk to tell me about growing up without dad.”  Intact families matter.

     “Professor Pliego,” according to an English-language summary of his work, “found that 89.4 percent of the studies concluded that intact families produced a higher level of well-being than other family types.  Only one in ten claimed that all family structures produced similar outcomes.  And only a negligible fraction of the studies—around 1 percent—claimed that other ‘family’ structures produced a better outcome.”

     So based on a huge sampling of the social science data, it is fair to say that the family as defined by Scripture has been proven to be best, if we judge it by its effects on the people involved, based on the many measures of social well-being…

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Matthew 19:3-6  —  Some Pharisees came to him to test Jesus.  They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”  “Haven’t you read,” Jesus replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Exodus 20:14  —   You shall not commit adultery.

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PRAYER FOR ONE IN A TROUBLED MARRIAGE:
Heavenly Father, I come before you today with a heavy heart.  My marriage is in trouble, and I need your help.  Make changes in my heart and in my spouse’s heart.  Make us compatible again, and bring us closer together.  Fill us with your love and give us the strength to love one another, care for one another, and fulfill your destiny for us.  Show us the harm caused by careless words, and the pain caused by emotional distance.  Bring us together, like we once were.  Show us how to love one another again.  Heal the division between us.  Make us one again.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.  –Source lost

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