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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

No More Stigma.....
Date Posted: August 4, 2019

...except, maybe, in church.

My maternal grandmother was 16 when she got married, and my paternal grandmother was 14. Babies really. My maternal grandmother was married to my grandfather for 76 years. They had eight children, and they were a Paul Harvey Tournament of Roses marriage. If you remember, Paul Harvey would celebrate long term marriages of 70 years or more on his radio show. My paternal grandmother got divorced and never married again, but she had 10 children before the divorce.

The creation of life is beautiful. The wonder and majesty of how that life grows in the womb is astounding. And God made sure children had parents--two, male and female who work together as a whole. But today humans have babies without getting married, and women go to sperm banks because they don't want a husband. There is no more stigma about having a child out of wedlock. There is no more stigma about divorce.

But, is it right to bring a baby into this world without the security of a sound marriage? Some say it is better to separate for peace rather than live in a stormy marriage or with an abuser. I agree with this. Paul said if the unbelieving spouse wishes to leave it is better to separate for we are called to live in peace with one another (1 Corinthians 7).

I was astonished to see, according to the National Domestic Violence Stats, more than 12 million women and men suffer physical violence and/or rape from an intimate partner over the course of a year. This is the reason my grandmother divorced my paternal grandfather. Here is the classic illustration that what causes divorce is the sin, not the divorce itself.

Marriages are rocky most of the time. Two people having to scoot through life as one half of a whole can make for a very exciting ride, or make a sane person go screaming down the street. Whether the relationship works or not… Well, a lot depends upon commitment, which living together out of wedlock can have aplenty. But, the actual Glue that holds a marriage together in a healthy way isn’t just commitment. It is the Spiritual kind of love that only God lends. It is as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes “a three-stranded cord is not easily broken.”

So what is so great about marriage? For what reason should a couple get married instead of just live together, besides the fact that sex outside of marriage is a sin? Actually, that is reason enough. But, let’s explore the question for a moment.

  • It was the very first institution that God created on earth. He performed the first marriage ceremony and He saw that it was very good. Why do men and women insist upon bending God’s institutions to their own imperfect ways? Because following God’s commands becomes inconvenient when it interferes with pleasure-seeking, instantaneous gratification.
  • The institution of marriage sets humans apart from the other life forms on this planet. Of course, some creatures mate for life, like the wolf and the fox. But, only the human mind can understand the implications of a lifetime commitment. At least, mankind used to be able to do that. Unfortunately, we live in a throw-away society that thrives on 30-second microwave fulfillment.

While there are many things that taste good cooked in a microwave, nothing compares to a slow-cooked roast with potatoes and carrots in a thick gravy. Wholesome food that fills you up and lasts till supper. You can open a can or a box, stick it in the microwave, poke a few buttons and have a hot dinner, but it never tastes as good as something made from scratch.

Living together without marriage is a microwave dinner with instant potatoes and tough meat.

Several years ago Matthew McConaughey said on his blog on his website, “we are stoked and wowed by this miracle of creation and this gift from God… God bless evolution.” For just a brief second, I was almost proud of him for recognizing God and what He does and then he spoiled it all with the evolution remark. He said this when he found out he and his girlfriend were going to have a baby. His 76-year-old mom was devated he wasn't married. He tried to placate her, but it was merely human-poor reasoning.

  • The very first recorded miracle of Jesus was at a wedding in Cana. Jesus knew that people down through the ages would look at His first miracle and this was a most excellent statement He made in sanctifying marriage.

More importantly than any other reason is that we Christians are betrothed to the Bridegroom. We eagerly await for Him to come claim His Bride. So it was with the Apostles and so it is today. Some may scoff and question why it is taking God so long to send the Bridegroom for the Bride. Peter tells us that it is God’s desire that none perish, that all should come to Him through Jesus His Son. We await the Bride to be complete.

We can see how crucially God feels about marriage in Isaiah 54:5 For your Maker is your husband; Jehovah of Hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of all the earth. And again in Hosea 2:16 And at that day, says Jehovah, you shall call Me, My husband; and you shall no more call Me, My Baal.

Our relationship with God is exactly like being married.

One only has to recall what happened to the baby that was conceived out of wedlock between Bathsheba and David. It sickened and died. God told the children of Israel that an illegitimate child could not enter into the assembly… even to the tenth generation. (Deuteronomy 23:2) That may seem harsh, but it was God’s way of impressing upon His chosen people that they were different from the cultures around them. They were to be obedient and be holy because God is holy. They were to marry and stay married. Hard hearts were what invented divorce.

What sets Christians apart from the world? We are holy because God is holy. We are to be obedient to the LORD God Almighty. We are to consider the sanctity of marriage as full of critical importance as the sanctity of life.

Yet, today we Christians are not living this way. We turn our heads and agree with people rather than stir up trouble by calling what is wrong, Wrong, nor calling sin Sin! We sit still for the creeping and stealing and polluting of our faith. There is only One God, He is Holy and there is no other way to Him except through Jesus the Son of God. When will we quit being the namby-pamby, pasty-faced, mealy-mouthed Christian and get the courage to say,

“Hollywood, stop polluting my living room with your trash way of thinking and your trashy lifestyles.”

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and
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