Failure not an option

How shameful it is that a culture not Christian can put so much work and effort into keeping its marriages honored and we, who know Jesus Christ, do so little. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.

Although the divorce rate is China is climbing, it is miniscule in comparison with that in the western world. Whereas one out of two marriages seems fated to failure in Europe and in the United States, in China the odds of divorce are one in a hundred. Why the disparity?

The Chinese culture historically has looked upon divorce as a disgrace. It is not only a shame for the couple, it is a shame upon their extended families as well. To disgrace oneself is bad enough; to disgrace ones parents is ten times worse. In a culture that has for centuries put paramount emphasis on family honor, there can be no other way. For the most part and especially in rural China, the tradition of once married, always married, remains strong and enduring. What makes it that much more amazing is that most Chinese marriages are still arranged by the parents. Few Chinese couples “fall” in love. Marriage is an obligation and, once obligated, it is your job to make it work. Failure is not an option.

I recently read about a business in Albuquerque, New Mexico called “Freedom Rings: Jewelry for the Divorced.” Founded by jeweler and divorcee Lynn Peters, the company makes custom jewelry out of wedding rings. Each customer pays a fee, and the ring-smashing ceremony begins--complete with champagne and music. Just before the smashing, the M.C. says, “We will now release any remaining ties to your past by transforming your ring--which represents the past-- into a token of your new beginning. Now take the hammer. Stop for a moment to consider the transformation that is about to begin your new life. Ready? With this swing let freedom ring!” She then uses a four-pound sledgehammer to whack her emblem of love and fidelity into a shapeless piece of metal. And the ceremony ends. (Brian Peterson, New Man, October, 1994, p. 8.)

In Hebrews 13: 4 the Apostle Paul writes, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure . . .” Certainly a divorce rate of 50% or more is not what the author or God had in mind when this word was given. “Let free- dom ring?” Hardly! How shameful it is that a culture that is not Christian can put so much work and effort into keeping its marriages honored and we, who know the unselfish love of Jesus Christ, do so little. When you and I make that vow to be faithful unto death, breaking that vow brings not only disgrace upon ourselves, it brings disgrace upon our God who has blessed the union. Failure in marriage is not an option for a Christian. A Christian works hard to make it work even when that work seems loveless at times. Without work, marriage is easily dishonored.

We pray. Heavenly Father, marriage is sacred to you as you have institituted it from the beginning of time. How often we take our marriage vows for granted; how often we don’t even rememeber what we vowed? Forgive us Lord when we neglect one of the most precious gifts that you have given us in this life--marriage. Help us today Lord to not only remember our vows but to live them by forgiving, caring, sacrificing and practice the humility and grace that Jesus modeled so for us. Grant that our marriage remains strong throughout our time together. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!