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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ask Pastor Chris (a short, quick answer to a question about being single or married)

Here's a quick answer to a question I received Sunday.  The question: "Does God ask us to get married and raise a family?"

My answer:  Not necessarily.  American society puts a lot of pressure on people to find their "true love" and get married and raise a family.  Unfortunately, churches usually follows society's lead on this without really thinking what God wants.  God has a better plan.  Both remaining single and getting married are equally acceptable to God.  Marriage and children are the more usual path people follow and can be a beautiful expression of God's love.  Furthermore, a healthy marriage can help with spiritual growth, is God's plan for enjoying the gift of sex, and provides the best means for conceiving and raising children.  On the other hand, remaining single is also a valid and helpful expression of the human experience.  Jesus remained single and said, "...some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matthew 19:12).  The Apostle Paul reasoned that a married person has to divide their attention between their spouse and serving God; however, a single person can focus all their attention on the Lord's work (see 1 Corinthians 7:32-35).  Whether or not to have children can follow a similar line of reasoning.  A couple can be married and not have children. This could be by choice or because they are unable.  Raising children can be a wonderful blessing.  It is a great honor to love your children unconditionally and it is perhaps the greatest way to evangelize the world, as we teach our children to have faith in Jesus Christ.  On the other hand, raising kids is difficult and requires a lot of time, energy, and resources.  A couple without children can devote more to each other and to God's work.  Christians must understand life with more clarity than the unbelieving world around us.  We should take the lead in accepting, valuing, and supporting people in the variety of ways life is lived--single, married, with and without children.  Each is a beautiful gift from God to be embraced (not merely endured until we become like everybody else says we should be). 

For more information about what the Bible says on the subjects of singleness, marriage, and raising children, see:  Genesis 2:18-25, Matthew 19:1-12, Hebrews 13:4, Mark 10:1-12, and 1 Corinthians 7.