My apologies to those of you who are anticipating the naming of homosexuality and abortion as the response to this post's title - It's not going to happen here. It is the opinion of this blogger that naming those things as the biggest threats to the family obscures more realitstic and immediate hazards. In short, I believe that the two biggest threats to the institution of the family are: Grudges and Indifference.
In a society that claims to be Christian, it is astounding to me just how tenaciously most of us hold on to the hurts and disappointments we have suffered at the hands of each other. Take a moment to consider some of these: "My dad/mother didn't spend enough time with me when I was a child," "My grandparents never remembered my birthday," "My aunt hurt my feelings at a family Christmas gathering twenty-five years ago," "My cousin played a horrible prank on me when I was a teen," "My parents didn't come to my sports event/concert when I was a kid," "My mother didn't prepare healthy meals for our family," "My brother/sister got more attention than I did," etc. The list could go on ad infinitum.
We use these memories of actual or imagined injustices to justify negative feelings against each other and isolating ourselves from the offending party, but is that the way that Christ taught his disciples to deal with offenses? Didn't Jesus say: "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins?" (Matthew 6:14-15) When asked about the extent to which we should forgive each other, and Peter suggested seven times, Christ replied: "No, not seven times, but seventy times seven!" (Matthew 18:21-22) He then proceeded to give them the "Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor." (verses 23-35) Christ didn't give any wiggle room on this one - A Christian has to forgive those who hurt and offend them - PERIOD!
The other big threat to the family is indifference. Think about some of the things that some of us tell ourselves related to this topic: "My life is so full and busy that I don't have any time to go watch a game/concert," "They live too far away to visit or keep in contact (what about phones? social media?), "I don't have the time or energy to take care of them," "I don't have the financial resources to help them out," "I'm devoted to God and my church - my family is secondary to that," "I have a party to attend that evening or a show to watch on television," etc. We have a million of these excuses tucked away in the recesses of our minds!
This type of behavior violates what most Christians would recognize as one of the most fundamental teachings of Jesus Christ: "Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you." (Matthew 7:12) Do you enjoy being ignored? Love is not indifferent. It is an active force that seeks the welfare and benefit of those who are its object. (I Corinthians 13:1-7) How can anyone who claims to be a Christian be indifferent?
Do you think that God will accept such excuses? Are you comfortable with these kinds of excuses? Does this article make you squirm a little? Are we using homosexuality and abortion as scapegoats, so that we can avoid facing the real threats to the family? Is it too painful to look in the mirror and face the real threats to the family - those things that lurk in our own hearts? Yeah, the more I think about it: GRUDGES and INDIFFERENCE! What do you think?