The 3 Things Our Nation Needs

I am depressed as I scroll through story after story of the fallenness of our country.  From shootings in school, to the constant hatred spewed by our elected officials and the media that covers them, to  the comments section of any story filled with venom from a growing graceless populace, to the next scandal that is uncovered by the media that involves the church or facebook or...whoever..., these incidents represent only the symptoms of a sickening society.

The ironic thing is that a large portion of societies ills could be cured with three simple admissions and the conviction to change them.  And no, these answers have nothing to do with gun laws or getting the "right" people elected.  It has nothing to do with politics.  But it has to do with commitment.

Admission #1:  Children need both of their parents.

We have to admit that the great miscalculation of believing that one parent (or bouncing around between two of them) + lots of stuff or activity = well adjusted kids is a lie.  Look at all the statistics yourself.  Almost all of the troubled youth come from families without a parent, most often without fathers.

For the last two generations, we have continually bought the lie that what is best for the children is our happiness at the sacrifice of their well-being.  We have told ourselves that women don't need men to raise children.  We scoffed at the idea that being committed to one another in relationship when things got tough was not only good for the children, but actually good for the couple.  So believing ourselves smarter, we, as parents, drag ourselves before a magistrate to make a ruling that we are no longer fit to be together.

Then, we have our children choose between the two people they love the most, which one is best, or have the judge do it for them.  If the children are extremely lucky, the parents will get along and will have somewhat of a cohesive plan for unity in raising them.  However, most of the time, children are left to fend for themselves between two very different house standards depending upon where they are any given week.  And these two different households are often disparaging to the other parent not present.

To soothe their pain, and ease our guilt, we give them "every opportunity".  We buy them everything they ask for.  We let them get involved in every activity under the sun, to keep them busy and happy (while running us ragged).  We allow their disadvantage, in some cases, to give us a rose colored glasses view of our children who can "do no wrong" at the attempts of correction they may receive in school or other places, and correction is less and less because only one parent is involved in the child's life at a time.

And we wonder why more and more children are not well adjusted...  Could the simple answer be that having both parents is really what every child needs?

Admission #2:  Mothers need a loving husband.

Notice the above admission does NOT say:  Mothers need a live-in boyfriend.  Live-ins are selfish by nature.  Live-ins only are looking out for #1 under the guise of kind of looking out for another.  There is no sacrifice in living together because there is no commitment.  As soon as things get bad enough for one of the people in the live-in situation (which could just mean finding a different live-in to be with or the woman becoming pregnant), then the agreement is abandoned (usually a rental contract because who wants to go through the trouble of actually owning anything together under such a tenuous arrangement) and the woman is often left with the responsibility of raising the children.  Knowing this to be the case, our society in its infinite wisdom, propagates the nonsense that women don't need men, which only further feeds to this terrible situation. 

Two hundred years ago, Jane Austin popularized the novelization of women's stories.  Many of these tales revolved around women looking for men in which to marry and not be left destitute.  An honorable, or even, advantageous marriage often lifted women from the depths of poverty.

Much has changed in the last 200 years, women have obtained equal rights in voting and in most cases, pay and job opportunities.  More women today are enrolled in higher education than men.  With each advancement in the rights of women, the louder our society seems to proclaim, "Men, we really don't need you anymore."

Ironically, the one thing that hasn't changed in 200 years, is that the #1 factor for poverty in the U. S. is a single mom in her 20s with 2 children under the age of 6.  We have become a nation of more and more fatherless homes with moms either working themselves to death or getting government assistance to barely get by. 

To fix the problem, society trumpets education as the way out of poverty.  However, getting a degree in whatever field takes time.  Time that single moms take away from their children to help their children...with no one to support them.  In the meantime, many of these women are getting involved with other men and having more children, compounding an already horrible situation.

It is sad that the one thing you don't hear from society is the need for women not to become mothers before they become wives of a committed, loving husband.  And Christian women should settle for nothing less than a committed believer in Christ for a husband (a sad fact that many settle for far less).

Which leads me to #3...

Admission #3:  Men need Jesus.

A recent study by Pew research shows that Christian women are significantly more religiously faithful than Christian men.  The biggest factor of these findings show that women are more likely to actually read the Word of God on a consistent basis while 37% of men who profess Christ, seldom or never read their Bible. 

In my experience as a pastor, I can tell you that it is more likely the women who are the spiritual heads of the family rather than the men (for those who have believing husbands).  Men have been the ones over the last 50 years who have abandoned the church and the faith.  Somewhere along the way, men stopped taking Jesus seriously.  Many have become atheists and agnostics.  Many too proud to admit there is a problem in their relationships shun counseling and settle for divorce papers...or never marry so that breaking up is easier. 

When you get into conversations with them concerning faith, many are so ignorant of the basic tenants of the faith (whether believer or non-believer) it becomes easy to see why the life of self-sacrifice exemplified in Christ isn't found in them.  They would rather spend all their time coaching little league than teaching their children the Bible or leading their wives in prayer or outreach in the name of Jesus.  They are usually the first ones to suggest that church isn't important and that the family shouldn't take their faith so seriously. 

So as men have abandoned the church, families lost...

their spiritual head to lead by example what it means to be a believer in Jesus Christ...
their committed partner who was supposed to mirror the self-sacrificial nature of Christ to his wife...
their provider who was supposed to provide stability for wife and children, monetarily, physically and emotionally...

These are the things that we have been missing in increasing measure over the last 50 years.  Something tells me that if we fixed these three things, most of the problems in society that we see now would go away.

But what do I know?  I am just a follower of Jesus.

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