Young families embody the hope and dreams of our future. Few scenes move me as much as a young couple strolling along the seawall pushing a stroller; fathers splashing in the surf with their children while young mothers lounge on the beach; children laughing in the park flying kites with their fathers, giggling on playgrounds with their mothers.
It is this special bond that God’s seventh commandment seeks to nourish and protect: “You shall not commit adultery.” Sex, in all of its beauty and pleasure, was given to men and women to celebrate the mystery by which human life is conceived, cradled and nurtured.
The world seemed to stand still a few weeks ago when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exchanged vows in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The pomp and pageantry, as only the British can do, touched something in all of us regarding the majesty of marriage.
This year my wife and I celebrate our 50th anniversary along with many of our friends who “pledged their troth” about the same time as we in 1968. Marriage is worth holding on to, worth working through the difficulties, worth the investment. The seventh commandment provides the foundation for trust and a love that lasts. It is the foundation of the family where children are born, nurtured and loved.
Many have rejected the Biblical view of marriage. Somewhere along the way sex became recreational. I guess this happened around the time birth control was introduced. It revolutionized sex in the 1960s: free sex with whomever without the consequences of conception.
Melissa Batchelor Warnke, writing in the L.A. Times expressed current sexual values, “I believe that everyone should have exactly as much sex as they do or don't want to have, with whomever they do or don't want to have it, in whatever fashion they do or don't want to have it. So long as consent is present in any resultant exchange, one need not justify their choices.”
We are witnessing the consequences of the cavalier attitudes spawned over the last half-century. Women are speaking up. Sexual misconduct and harassment is widespread. Last week Harvey Weinstein returned to court. Matt Lauer, Bill Cosby and other household names that once commanded respect and adulation are gone leaving behind a trail of disgrace and embarrassment.
As with other commandments, Jesus raised the bar. “You have heard that it has been said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ but I say to you, he who looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27).
I like what Jeff Christopherson wrote in his book, Kingdom First, “The husband who faithfully and sacrificially loves his wife over a lifetime not only receives the personal blessing of a joyous marriage, but further, the Kingdom ripples of that union emanate through generations. … Children, grandchildren, colleagues, friends, and neighbors are all secondary recipients of the grace experienced in a godly marriage.”