Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Family Lists: Widows, Widowers and Singles

Church people are idiots! You do not have to agree with me, but I believe this with all my heart. There are too many ways in which we (and I include myself here) mess up over and over again. We are hypocritical, self-righteous, judgmental and “holier-than-thou.” It is no wonder that Christians have such a bad name in the world at large. After all, who wants to associate with people like us?

One of the ways that we offend and alienate the most people is in the area of our teachings on family issues. I believe that we are not intentional in excluding people, but we seem to forget those who are single or widowed. However, there is a lot that the Scripture has to teach about those who are not in a “traditional” family group.

First of all, let’s be clear that there is not a traditional, biblical model for families. The patriarchs were polygamists. The greatest king in Israel’s history, David, had multiple wives and mistresses and was a lousy father to his children. Jesus was never a part of a “traditional” family. The Apostle Paul was either divorced or never married. Our current pre-occupation with a husband, wife and children family unit is more cultural than spiritual.

With that being said, let’s consider biblical instructions for those who are unmarried.

  • Widows (and widowers) are to be a special ministry concern of the church (Acts 6.1). We must not forget to care for those whom God has entrusted to us.
  • Single people are to be faithful to God above all. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 7.32, Paul says that those who are unmarried are blessed and should remain that way. (Jesus praised those who were eunuchs for the Lord. Matthew 19.12)
  • Divorce is a last resort only. People who are married are to stay married. Divorce is a sin (Mark 10.11).
  • We are all a part of the same family of God. There is no Jew nor Greek (Galatians 3.28). No matter what kind of family I have on earth, I am part of God’s eternal family. He is my Father and those of you reading are my brothers and sisters.

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