They say hindsight is always 20/20. Obviously you can’t go wrong with a statement like that. It’s always easier to assess something when it’s over and done with. As a man in my forties, I still have enough viable brain cells left in my head to recall a time when things were much simpler. We didn’t have very many distractions back then. I’ve compiled a quick mental list of some of those ‘simpler’ things here for your reminiscing pleasure. Keep in mind that this list belongs to me, specifically. Some of the things I mention here may spark a memory or two in your mind. Others may not have an effect on you at all. You also have to keep in mind the demographics of my childhood. Let me preface this by telling you that I grew up in New England – the state of Connecticut, to be more specific. We enjoyed all four seasons of calendar weather to its fullest force (I use the word ‘enjoyed’ here loosely). Many of the traditions in this area of the country may not be the same as the traditions you share in your end of the world. I know this to be true in my own experience - as I moved here to Florida five years ago after spending the first thirty six years of my life up there in the ‘blue’ states. So here are some of those things from way back when:
I can clearly remember a time when your neighbor down the street would call your mom on the phone to tell her that you were doing something wrong or shady. Or even better, this neighbor would stick her head out the window and yell at you, herself – saving your parents the trouble. These things were more than acceptable. Try doing this today and see what kind of reaction you may get from the parent who tells you to “mind your own business”. I also remember a time when going to McDonald’s was a family night out – as there was only one McDonald’s in an entire ten mile radius. I also recall being deathly afraid of the wrath of dad when me or my brother did something really stupid that warranted a beating. You knew it was coming – it was just a matter of ‘when’. I can also recall a very large piece of furniture in our living room that housed not only the television, but also the turntable and the stereo system – complete with extra needles for the turntable arm and one of those plastic 45 speed adapters. Side note: This stereo system also boasted a switch for 78 speed records (Remember those things?) I swear those records were about as thick as grandma’s china plates and impossible to break. This whole unit weighed about 1500 pounds, give or take a few hernias. I can also recall going to the drive-in movie theatre from time to time. What a concept: Never having to leave the comfort of your over-sized, wood paneled station wagon while still getting to watch a full-length motion picture – all while listening to it through this tiny little speaker that hooked onto your window. Nothing quite like Dolby mono-synthetic, un-surround sound.
Those are some of the common and materialistic things we dealt with in our childhood. These next things are more along the lines of – shall I say – a moral and common sense standard. I can clearly remember a time when roughly 95% of all my friends had two parents in their home. And of those 95% who did have a two parent household, 100% of those unions contained a man and a woman. There was never any doubt or question as to whether the institution of marriage needed to be ‘defined’ in any way, shape, or form. Although the majority of my childhood was spent in a catholic school, I knew from my public school friends that simple privileges such as the reciting of the pledge of allegiance every morning – was commonplace. We had no ‘gay’ friends - or at least – anyone who was willing to admit to desiring that lifestyle. This list of things can go on and on into all sorts of areas if we wanted it to – but I need to stop here and hone in on something: The God-created, institution of marriage. I have to ask the question: Why is the sacred institution of marriage under attack more so now than ever before? Apart from the obvious answer (the devil hates marriage and will do anything to tear it apart), I believe the real reason lies within the hearts of each individual. The Bible tells us that God’s word is like a double-edged sword – cutting to the hearts of all men (Hebrews 4:12). If a person does not possess the Spirit of God within them, then they are not a saved Christian – and therefore cannot perceive the things of God to begin with (1 Corinthians 2:14). So why is marriage under attack? Very simple: The unsaved world desires to do their own things apart from God. Add to this the fact that a lot of people hate the idea of commitment or perhaps ‘tying themselves down to just one person for the rest of my life’ – and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. This idealism has unfortunately found its way into Christianity as well. You don’t know how many times I’ve seen strong believers in the Lord give up on their marriages because they simply grew tired of trying and fighting for their marriage. It doesn’t help the cause much when folks from our side of the fence are contributing to the problem.
So what can we do as Christians to save the institution of marriage? First of all, pray. We need to be on our knees daily – lifting up not just our own marriages (for those of us who are married), but also those around us who may be struggling with their own relationships. The second thing we should do: Reach out with the love of Jesus Christ to those in need of marriage repair. Perhaps praying with and talking with them as a couple. Maybe suggesting some sort of counseling. The third thing we should do: Vote for the right people at election time. If you’re like me and believe in the sanctity of marriage, then make it a point to vote for the people who line up with your ideals and Christian precepts.
I realize this blog was quite long today – I apologize for this as I usually try my best to keep them short and to the point. For those of you who took the time to make it this far, I thank you. May the Lord Jesus Christ be praised in all of this – and may the sanctity of marriage regain its strength in our dead and dying world – so that it can be a commonplace memory for our kids and grand kids someday down the road.