VIDEO Marriage, Divorce, and Singleness

John MacArthur Nov 21, 2010

Open your Bible to 1 Corinthians chapter 7, and we’re going to do something that I don’t do very often. We’re going to cover forty verses tonight, so you’re going to have to stay with us on this, and this is going to be a very, very rich experience.

We have looked the last two Sunday mornings at Mark chapter 10, at our Lord’s teaching on the subject of marriage and divorce, and we now come to the apostle Paul who helps us with some of the implications of what our Lord taught. And actually, he even expands on what our Lord taught. Now let me show you something of the essence of this by pointing out a few verses in chapter 7. Verse 10, “To the married, I give instructions, not I but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband.” Paul is saying, “I’m going to tell you something that doesn’t come only from me, but it comes from the Lord.” So he’s referring back to the teaching of the Lord.

However, in verse 12 he says, “This time to the rest, I say, not the Lord.” He doesn’t mean that this isn’t from heaven, he doesn’t mean it’s not inspired, he simply means “I am not quoting our Lord this time,” referring in verse 10 back to the fact that God hates divorce, and our Lord affirmed that, as we saw in Mark 10, “I’m giving you instructions that come directly from the Lord.” Here he says, “This doesn’t come directly from the Lord, but I say if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.” Now he’s gone beyond the teaching of the Lord into new areas of divine revelation, no less from God but just not quoting the Lord.

Verse 25, concerning virgins, “I have no command of the Lord.” (“I can’t go back and quote Jesus on this, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy. This is coming from me, but you can count on it because God has mercifully enabled me to speak the truth.”) And even at the end of the chapter in the final verse, he says, “I consider that I also have the Spirit of God.” (“This is not coming from me, but it is rather coming from the Holy Spirit.”)

So at no point in this chapter does Paul intend to say that I’m going to be teaching you something that the Lord is not speaking about. He is simply saying I am teaching you something that I cannot find in the precise scriptural record of the teaching of Jesus. It is no less from the Spirit, it is no less trustworthy.

Now, as you work through these forty verses, the best way, I think, to do this is to understand that he’s dealing with the Corinthian church. And in the Corinthian church, there were all kinds of issues, as you know, and marriage was one of them, marital status was a huge, huge issue. And, apparently, as so often in the epistles of Paul, he is answering specific questions that have been brought up to him and trying to clarify things that the people need to know. His teaching is equal to the teaching of Jesus. It is inspired, it is in no way inferior, it is in every sense binding and authoritative on us, but not all of it comes specifically and directly from Jesus.

The background, however, of what he’s doing here is the Corinthian chaos. People in the Corinthian church didn’t come out of a Jewish background, so they didn’t have an Old Testament view of marriage and divorce, even a convoluted one like the Jews we talked about today. They came out of paganism. They came out of godlessness and worldliness, and myriad marital problems and entanglements and misunderstandings existed.

For example, here would be a typical scenario that would exist in the Corinthian church with a whole group of converted Gentiles. Rome had no uniform marriage law. They would be under the influence of the Roman Empire. And the Empire contained, for example, many slaves and many of the believers were slaves. A marriage in the strict and legal sense did not even exist for slaves. A master could allow what was called contubernium or, literally, tent companionship – living together, we would say. This was entered by slaves without a ceremony and could be ended if the master chose to end it, and at any point he could sell one of the slaves, and that would virtually end it anyway. It is like today’s “live-in” sex partners.

Since many early Christians were slaves, it is very likely that they had lived in such unions in the past and maybe in multiple unions and maybe even in the present. Now what? What’s their status?

Beyond the slaves, for the common people, there was a custom called usus, U-S-U-S. It specified if a woman had dwelt with a man for a year, she was his wife. That would be what we call common-law marriage, only in America, I think it’s seven years. Another way of marrying for common people was called coemptio in manum, marriage by sale. You went to a man who was a little low on cash and you bought his daughter. This is a rather traditional way, kind of the dowry. The father would sell his daughter to a husband with money.

Now, if you get beyond the common people, you get to the upper classes and the noble people, a little more of the elite folks, they had marriage called confarreatio. They actually had a ceremony, the noble people. They had a joining of right hands. They said vows. They prayed prayers to Jupiter and to Juno. They had rings, by the way, they had rings and you could find in ancient Roman literature the fact that they cut up a cadaver and somebody named Aulus Gellius cut up cadavers and said that there was a nerve that ran from the third finger on the left hand directly to the heart and so the ring should be put on the third finger of the left hand. That was part of the ceremony. They had wreaths, veils, flowers, and cake, so guess where your wedding came from. An old Roman tradition picked up by the Roman Catholic Church and standardized.

The moral character of life in the Roman world and life around Corinth was low. Divorce was high where marriage even existed. And with the slaves, where marriage really didn’t exist, the changing of partners was a rather constant issue. And even the common people in their sort of informal covenants together broke them and went to other people. On top of that, immorality was rampant. In fact, you can find in the literature that the Romans had wives for the cooking and the care of the house and concubines for their sexual needs. Concubinage was everywhere, fornication was everywhere, adultery was rampant. It was a horrible world.

There was even a women’s liberation movement. Jerome Carcopino has a wonderful little book, if you can ever find one, it’s called Daily Life in Ancient Rome in which he goes back and digs out all the history of these things and he says there was a women’s liberation movement around biblical times in which, quote, “Some women were not content to live their lives by their husband’s side but carried on another life without him.” Another writer says, “What modesty can you expect in a woman who wears a helmet, hates her own sex, and delights in feats of strength?” Hmm. We have some of those in our society.

The same writer (Juvenal) says, “Thus does she lord it over her husband, but before long, she vacates her kingdom, flits from one house to another, wearing out her bridal veil,” end quote, by overuse.

So marriage in Paul’s day is a disaster, like in our day, chaotic. And, of course, among the Corinthians now that have come to Christ and they have been taught the standard of one man, one woman for life in a true covenant, a real covenant, a public covenant before God and before others, they have all kinds of questions, and the questions are the best way to break down this chapter.

Now, there are always those people who come up with the idea of no marriage, no sexual relationships at all. That would be like Mother Ann Lee, who was the mother of no one, of course, since she didn’t believe in having any relationship with a man. She started a group called the Shakers that quickly went out of existence, for obvious reasons. They had this notion that any kind of physical relationship was evil and wicked and sinful and that took care of their operation pretty fast, really.

So the first question that we could sort of form as we jump into this chapter – and this must be behind what is going on as the chapter opens – is to ask the question: Are normal physical relationships between a man and a woman somehow wrong? Are they unspiritual?

Let’s start. Chapter 7 verse 1, “Now concerning the things about which you wrote,” and that’s why we believe these are questions that need to be answered because he’s referring directly to something that was written and sent to him, the apostle Paul, “concerning the things about which you wrote.” And you can imagine what was in that letter based upon the history that I just described to you, based upon the culture. So first, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. That’s a euphemism for sexual relationships. It is good, it’s okay. It’s good not to have sexual relationships.

That is to say, it’s not evil. It’s good. It falls within the realm of goodness, kalos. It’s okay. Celibacy is all right. It’s honorable. It’s excellent. It’s all right not to marry. It’s all right to stay single. It’s all right never to do that. But, verse 2, “The general rule, however, because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife and each woman is to have her own husband.” Why? Because of what? Immoralities. You say, “I want to stay single all my life.” Huh. Well, singleness is good if it is not the cause of sexual sin.

The general rule is: Get married. The reason is simple. Because of temptation – because of temptation. There is no place for fornication – that’s the word there translated “immoralities” in the NAS. The fact of life is that if you try to stay single, as good as celibacy can be, marriage is the norm, and marriage is better if being single results in temptation. I want you to know that Paul doesn’t say get married because you find somebody that you like. He says, really, get married because you’re running at a very high risk of life if you don’t.

There are six reasons for marriage that I jotted down. Procreation, Genesis 1:28; pleasure, Hebrews 13:4, the bed is not defiled, it’s undefiled, pleasure; purity, right here; provision, you take a wife in order that you might protect her and care for her and nourish her and cherish her as the Lord does the church; partnership, not good to be alone, you need a helper; and picture, a picture of Christ in the church. But right in the middle of that is this notion of purity. Each man is to have his own wife and each woman is to have her own husband. Verse 3, “The husband then must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.”

So Paul is saying – there are some people saying, “Well, should we just stay single? Should we just be celibate? Should we see sex as evil?” Why would they say that? Because it mostly was in their world. It was just immorality everywhere, fornication everywhere, adultery everywhere, all the time, by everybody. And so some of them think they’re taking the noble high ground and saying, you know, “Maybe we just don’t do that at all” because it was a pornographic culture, it was a debased culture.

You know, it’s nothing new for that to be the conclusion that people make in a time of debased living. I think there were many mediaeval monks who made that conclusion, that the high ground was to be celibate. They were seeing sexual relationships of any kind in any relationship as some kind of a defilement. But Paul says, “Look, it’s okay to be single, it’s okay to live without any relationships with the opposite sex, but it’s a whole lot better to marry because of immoralities. And then when you do marry, you have the duty to fulfill to each other.”

That duty, obviously, is to render the physical affection that is consistent and God ordained for the procreation and the pleasure of people in a marriage. In fact, the duty is so high in a marriage that the wife doesn’t even have authority over her own body, the husband does. And likewise, the husband doesn’t have authority over his own body, but the wife does. So stop depriving one another. Paul says that’s not what God is asking. You look at the culture you live in and the history you come from in the past and all of that and maybe you want to say – the high ground, the noble ground in this sex-saturated, sex-mad culture is to just say, “I’ll never do that, I’m going to live a life of complete abstinence, and this is the level of purity.”

Paul says, that’s good, that’s not wrong, that’s not bad. But for most people, that’s going to lead to immorality, so have your own wife, have your own husband, and fulfill your duties to each other, and do not deprive each other of that. Unless (verse 5) by agreement for a time so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. If there is some exigency in your life, some trauma in your life, some issue in your life which, much like fasting from food, consumes you with sadness and sorrow, these kinds of things flee your mind, you agree to that. But come together again. Why? So that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. Don’t do that. You give Satan opportunity.

So the opposite is true. You think that you’ll be more pure by withholding that. The truth is you’re going to go right down the path that Satan wants you to go, into sin, because you’re going to be tempted because of your inability to exercise self-control. Get married for the sake of purity, and when you’re married, fulfill your marriage covenant physically, do not deprive each other except for some great spiritual cause, and come back together again so that you don’t put yourself in a position that Satan would tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Now, Paul says this in verse 6, “I say this by way of concession, not of command. Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that.” What he is saying is, “Look, celibacy is a gift. It’s a gift. And I’m just conceding the fact, not commanding it. I can’t command celibacy because that wouldn’t be right. But I would, by way of concession, say, ‘I wish you were like me,’” which is to say that he’s what? He’s not married.

Was he ever married? Most of us think he was because he was a member of the Sanhedrin, and you had to be married to be a member of the Sanhedrin. What happened to his wife? Who knows, we don’t know. We don’t think he left her at home and took off for the rest of his life. So he probably lost his wife in death. He says to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians chapter 9, “A man has a right to lead about a wife,” has that right, but Paul did not exercise that right, and it was based upon the fact that each man has his own gift from God.

And this is what we talk about, the gift of singleness – the gift of singleness. And that is a gift. If you drop down to verse 32, “I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord, but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and his interests are divided,” verse 34.

So there are some benefits to being single, if you have been given by God the gift. Each man has his own gift. Celibacy is a gift. And you remember the disciples back in Matthew 19? We read that today. The disciples said to Jesus (after His teaching on divorce), “It’s better not to get married.” And what did Jesus say? But not all men can handle that. Not everybody can handle that. It’s okay. It’s good. It’s honorable. It has great potential to keep you single-minded and focused. But it’s a gift, it’s a unique gift.

The gift is best known by those who feel strong, complete comfort in being single and no strong desire for a partner, for an intimate partner, a life partner. It’s an option. But please don’t conclude that there’s anything wrong with the God-given gift of physical intimacy. Singleness, the last thing that God wants out of singleness is sexual promiscuity. Be single if that’s not a problem. If that’s a problem, get married.

All right, the next question on their mind, probably on that letter he got from them, “Should the formerly married remarry?” And verse 8 is where he starts to talk about this, shifting gears, “But I say to the unmarried and to widows” – these would be two categories of formerly married people. A widow is someone whose spouse died, right? Everybody knows that, it’s universally understood. But who are unmarried people? Well, they can’t be widows because it’s the unmarried and the widows. Now, there are only two ways that you can be married and then not be married. You either were widowed or you were divorced. That has to be what that means.

So to those who have been divorced (called the unmarried) and to widows, “it is good for them if they remain even as I.” The unmarried are the formerly married, the agamosgamos, the married idea, and then a, the alpha privative, divorced people. Verse 11, “If she leaves, she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.” Again, the same meaning has to be in view. Down in verse 34, you have the unmarried and the virgin. The unmarried aren’t the widows and the unmarried aren’t the virgins. So who are the unmarried? They have to be the people who were married and now are no longer married.

So formerly married people, now single by death, widows, or single by divorce, unmarried, what does Paul say? Verse 8, Well, it’s good, again it’s good to be single, so it’s good to stay single. It’s good so that you can serve, so that you can be free as verses 32, 33, and 34 were pointed out to you. But look at verse 9. If they do not have self-control, let them what? Marry. It’s better to marry than to burn. Not burn in hell but burn with desire. It’s fine. You were married, now you’re single, be single, stay single, stay focused, live your life that way. That is preferable. I think that’s great advice from the apostle Paul, great advice. But if you need to be married, if that’s a problem physically, get married.

And you remember in 1 Timothy 5:14, the apostle Paul makes this very clear when he’s talking about widows there. He says, “I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, give the enemy no occasion for reproach, for some have already turned aside to follow Satan.” You don’t want a lot of young widows with all their desires being vulnerable to evil things around them. Stay single if you’re able. Paul was able and he was focused, and he was given that gift. It indicates that God can give that gift even after marriage if He so desires.

Be convinced that God has allowed your singleness for holy purposes – for holy purposes. Pour your life into the kingdom. This is picked up in verse 26, “I think, then, that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Don’t seek to be released. If you’re released from a wife, don’t seek a wife.” If you can handle that, it’s good because it’s tough in the world. The world they lived in was like the world we live in. “But if you do marry, you haven’t sinned and if a virgin marries, she hasn’t sinned.” They were asking those kinds of questions.

This abstinence idea had apparently taken over. It’s okay to marry, it’s okay to stay single. Yet when you do, you’ll have trouble in this life, and I’m trying to spare you. If you can be single, it simplifies your life. It narrows down the realm of your trouble. You got enough trouble with yourself, you marry somebody, and now you got two people, two sinners colliding. And you have a bunch of children, and you’ve got six sinners smashing into each other, and it just keeps going.

There’s something to be said for just one sinner. It lowers the level of conflict. However, this assumes that one can deal with that kind of situation. And in verse 29 he even says, “The time has been shortened, so from now on, those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they didn’t weep, those who rejoice as though they didn’t rejoice, those who buy although they didn’t possess, those who use the world as though they didn’t make full use of it, for the form of this world is passing away.” Paul is saying, if you can stay single, it simplifies your life and you can pour your solo life into the kingdom, but you have to have the gift to do that or it just becomes a horrendous means of temptation.

So the question, then, is: Is sexual activity unspiritual? No. Singleness is good. Marriage is good, if you don’t have the gift of singleness. Should the formerly married remarry? Yes, if they desire to be married because it’s better to marry than to burn. But if you can be single, be single and focus on the kingdom.

Another question apparently is raised here: What are the alternatives for those who are married? What are the alternatives for those who are married? Now, understand what happens. Maybe, let’s say, a wife comes to hear the gospel, she believes in the gospel, she is saved, and now she’s got an unconverted husband. Is she in a situation where she is unequally yoked together with an unbeliever? Is she having a relationship with a person who is part of the kingdom of Satan? Is this Christ with Belial, you know, in the language of Paul in the 2 Corinthian letter?

Is this light and darkness joined together? Is this sin and righteousness joined together? They were asking these kinds of questions. And, of course, the Lord’s teaching was no divorce. So the question comes, what are the alternatives for those that are married? Verse 10, “To the married” – those of you who are married. Now, before, he was talking to those who were what? Single. If you can stay single, it’s good, but it’s better to marry, if that’s what you need.

Now he’s going to talk to the married. “I give instructions, and not I but the Lord,” and here, this is directly from the Lord (Matthew 5, Matthew 19, Mark 10) the wife shouldn’t leave her husband. Why? Because God hates divorce and because God joins together every couple. What God has joined together, let not man separate. So he reiterates what the Lord taught. God hates divorce. Don’t divorce. One man, one woman, in one union, the indivisible one, for life, no separation.

Now you come to verse 12. “To the rest, I say” – not the Lord, this is from me, the Lord hasn’t got any instruction on this specifically – “if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever and she consents to live with him” – this is the opposite situation. But in this case, this is a brother who has a wife and in this case she’s the unbeliever but she wants to live with him. Should he divorce her just because she’s an unbeliever? The answer: No, he must not divorce her.

And a woman, verse 13, who has an unbelieving husband and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband or divorce her husband. Why? “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for, otherwise, your children are unclean but now they are holy.” What is that saying? That is saying, “Look, if your unbelieving partner loves you and wants to stay with you, you stay in that marriage.”

Why? Because you become the sanctifying instrument in the life of that nonbeliever and in the lives of the children of that union because you are the one receiving the grace of God that is being poured out on your life that will spill over to those unbelieving people and to your husband or your wife and your children. Instead of the Christian – listen – being defiled by the unbeliever, the unbeliever is cleansed by the presence of the Christian. We’re not talking about salvation here, we’re simply talking about the pure, wonderful blessings of God falling on a believer and spilling over to a nonbeliever and making a purer, cleaner, lovelier home.

God pours out His blessings on His redeemed and on the children of His redeemed. So it’s the opposite of what they were thinking (I need to shake that partner because he’s a pagan, he’ll defile me). No, you’ll be the means of sanctifying influence on him.

However, verse 15 creates another scenario. If the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave. Let him leave. Literally, if he takes himself out, that’s the verb, if he eliminates himself, chōrizō, technical term, really, for divorce. “If an unbeliever divorces a believer, let him leave. The brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.” Here is the second exception for divorce. The first is adultery, we saw that in Matthew 19, Matthew 5. Second one is an unbeliever divorces a believer.

You are not under bondage. The bondage is broken, the bond is broken. You are no longer bound. Romans 7. The married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living. If her husband dies, she is released from that law. Same language here. If an unbeliever leaves, you are not bound. What does that mean? The union has been broken, you no longer are bound by it, which then assumes that you have the right to remarry if a nonbeliever leaves because God has called us to peace, and the blessings of peace are what God wants for His children.

You say, “Well, I think I’ll just hang on until the dying day. I think I’ll fight this guy all the way to the end. I think I’ll make it really impossible for him to divorce me because I want to see him saved.” Good. However, verse 16 is written for you. “How do you know” – “How do you know, O wife, whether you’ll save your husband?” That’s pretty practical, isn’t it? Marriage is not an evangelistic tool. It’s an evangelistic context, but don’t think that just by hanging onto this guy that somehow you’re going to save him. How do you know whether you’ll save him? Or how do you know, husband, whether you’ll save your wife?

That’s not the point. You have no knowledge of that. When the unconverted person is determined to leave and seeks a divorce, you don’t need to perpetuate the tension and the frustration and the hatred and the animosity under some notion that you might be the only person on the planet who can be the instrument of salvation. That’s for God to decide.

Well, the summary comes in verse 17, and this answers another question: Should salvation change our marital status? That’s kind of what we’ve been dealing with. “Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk.” Salvation doesn’t really change anything. Now that you’re a believer, you don’t have to give up sex, throw out your partner – doesn’t change anything. If you – he gives some illustrations and analogies. “Was any man called when he was already circumcised?” If you were saved when you were Jewish, you can stay that way.

Don’t become uncircumcised. If you were called in uncircumcision, don’t be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. And that’s simply an analogy and an illustration to say everybody remains in the condition in which he was called. So if you were saved single, that doesn’t change. If you were saved married, that doesn’t change. If you were saved and all of a sudden your unconverted spouse wants to divorce you, stay the way you are. Stay the way you are.

“Were you called while a slave?” Verse 21. Don’t worry about it. If you’re able to be free, do that. If there’s a path to freedom, take it. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freed man. You’re free in Him anyway. Likewise, he who was called while free is Christ’s slave. You were bought with a price, don’t become slaves of men. Don’t let anybody dictate what you ought to do. “Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called.”

So how does that work out? You come, you receive the Lord Jesus Christ, you’re a converted husband, you have an unsaved wife. You’re a converted wife, you have an unsaved husband. What are you supposed to do? Withhold from him a physical relationship? Divorce him? Throw him out of the house? No, stay where you are. Stay where you are. You’re single and you come to Christ. Are you now supposed to be a monk the rest of your life? Are you supposed to be celibate the rest of your life? No. If you have that gift, fine. If you don’t, get married – get married.

Single or married, whatever God wills in whatever situation you’re in, stay that way. This is so important because Christianity was never intended to just rip and shred families; the very opposite is true. And unless that unbeliever wants to leave, you become the sanctifying influence for the one that stays.

So is our sexual relationship somehow unspiritual? No. Should those saved after they’re widowed or divorced remarry? Yes, you have the freedom to remarry or stay single, whatever is God’s will for you. What are the alternatives, then, for married people, to Christians? No divorce. And if you do leave, you don’t remarry anybody else and you come back to your husband. Those are your two options. If you’re married to a non-Christian, the non-Christian decides to divorce you, let it happen. You’re free to remarry.

Now, there’s another question in Paul’s mind at this point and it has to do with virgins. Verse 25. Now concerning virgins – these are the never married. We’ve dealt with the single and the married and the widowed and the formerly married, divorced, and now we get around to the virgins. Now, this is probably what was going on – now, get the big picture. They’ve got this sexually perverted culture, they want to distance themselves from the world, and so they come to the conclusion that if they just distance themselves completely from physical relationships, this is going to be the spiritual high ground.

Therefore, there would be people who had never been married, men and women, virgins would cover men and women who’d never married. They’d never known a man, to borrow the biblical euphemism. What do they do? Do they just stay that way? Parthenoi. It is used in Revelation 14:4 one time to refer to men. That’s why I say, it can be men or women, most often used to refer to women. These are people who had never had a relationship.

So “I have no command of the Lord.” The Lord didn’t say anything – the Lord didn’t say anything. “However, I will give you my judgment,” literally, “as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy” or faithful. “I will give you a faithful judgment as one who is trustworthy” because he is inspired by the Lord. “I think, then, that this is good, in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is.”

So if you can be single – back to verse 1, verse 8 – stay single. Hard times are coming. They were, by the way, about seventeen years from the first general persecution under Domitian, the sixth emperor of Rome, and it was a massacre and a bloodletting of Christians. So he’s saying, look, if you’re single and you’ve never been married, so you’re not now married to a believer or non-believer, you’re not divorced, you’re not widowed, you’re in the category of never having been married, boy, that’s a good place to be in.

That’s a good place because of the present distress, the challenges that are coming on us. It’s going to be a tough world. A few years from now, some of you are going to – you’re going to be killed. Diocletian’s persecution stretched across the Roman world. But – verse 28 – we already read 26 and 27 – verse 28, “If you marry, you haven’t sinned, and if a virgin marries, she hasn’t sinned.”

Are you beginning to get the picture of what they were asking him? That singleness seems to be the right thing, no sexual relationship seems to be the right thing. And he’s setting all that aside. Look, there’s trouble in the world, singleness is great because you’re not going to bring a family into the world and then watch your children being burned at the stake, your wife. There’s something to be said for being single in a time of terrible, frightening persecution. But if you marry, you haven’t sinned. And if a virgin marries, she hasn’t sinned. “Yet such will have trouble in this life, and I’m trying to spare you.”

You’ll have thlipsis, the word for trouble, pressure. You’ll be crushed. It literally means to be pressed. Because we understand that, don’t we? The single person worries about his own life. The married person, all of a sudden he worries about his wife and he worries about his children or she worries about her husband and her children.

And then he says in verse 29, “Look, it’s a short time, life, it’s a short time. For some of you, it’s a very short time because you’re going to get caught in the persecution. So from now on, those who have wives should be as though they had none. Those who weep as though they didn’t weep, and those who rejoice as though they didn’t rejoice, and those who buy as though they didn’t possess, and those who use the world as though they didn’t make full use of it, for the form of this world is passing away.”

Marriage has no relation to the eternal, right? You remember when they said to Jesus, “Whose wife shall she be in heaven?” And Jesus said, “In heaven, there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage.” This is good advice. Paul says the pressure of the system, the problems of the flesh, living in this life, and the passing of the world means that if you can concentrate on the eternal things in dire times, you simplify your life. We’re all going to have to simplify. We’re all going to have to pull things in. We’re all going to have to live in these difficult, difficult times. But for single people, life is simpler and not nearly as threatening or painful.

In verse 32, he adds, “I want you to be free from concern, and one who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife.” And that’s exactly what he ought to be concerned about, exactly.

Married folks have divided preoccupations, divided responsibility. His interests are divided, verse 34. “The woman who is unmarried and the virgin” – that’s the formerly married one who is now unmarried, either by widowhood or divorce – “is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit. One who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” And that’s exactly what she ought to be concerned about.

And the things of the world, this doesn’t mean sinful things, just means the issues of life. “But I say this for your benefit, not to put a restraint on you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.” You know, Paul was living this as a single man who had once been married, and he understood the single focus of this. He advises these virgins in the same way that he advised the formerly married in this passage and says, “Stay where you are. If you’re married, stay married. If you’re single and you can do it, stay single. And if you’re a virgin and you can deal with that, stay that way – stay that way.”

So the bottom line here, up to this point, is that becoming a Christian does not of necessity mean that you have to make some dramatic alteration of your marital status. That’s not what the Lord requires.

Two more questions remain here. Should fathers spare their daughters the difficulties of marriage and keep them virgins for life? Oh, boy, some really well-intentioned fathers were saying “Well, I don’t want you marrying some of these men in the world out there. I don’t want to have you deal with all of that, all the immorality that may have been a part of their lives in the past.” You can understand this. A father comes to Christ, the father’s in the church, he’s got young daughters that are coming up. There are other men in the church. There are the young men in the church, single men in the church, but their lives before Christ have been very sinful lives.

And so this Christian father says to his daughters that he’s raising in the things of Christ, “I don’t want you to get married. I don’t want you to do that. I want you to be pure. I want you to be devoted to Christ. I want you to be focused on the life of the church. I’ll take care of you, as your father. I’ll care for your life. You can stay at home and you can spend your life in the service of the Lord and honoring the Lord. So, apparently, some of these fathers thought this was really a great idea.

Paul needs to answer that. Verse 36, “If any man thinks he’s acting unbecomingly toward his virgin daughter, if she’s past her youth and if it must be so, let him do what he wishes. He doesn’t sin, let her marry.” You know what had happened? Some fathers were making a promise, “I’m going to keep you a virgin. I’m going to protect you from this wicked, sinful world. I’m going to protect you from these men. I’m not going to put you in a position to be married and deal with all the troubles of life. I’m going to take care of you.”

And then the girl gets older, she comes into maturity, and she’s past her childhood, and she wants to get married. And he’s kind of stuck and he’s saying, “Well, what do I do?” He now thinks he’s acting unbecomingly toward his daughter. She doesn’t want this. So Paul says, “Let her marry – let her marry. But, on the other hand,” verse 37, “he who stands firm in his heart being under no constraint but has authority over his own will and has decided this in his own heart to keep his own virgin daughter, he will do well.”

So then both he who gives his own virgin daughter in marriage does well and he who doesn’t give her in marriage will do well if this pleases her. But if it gets to the point where this is now an action that is unbecoming to her, that is irritating to her, that she doesn’t desire, that she doesn’t want, let her marry. So if she wants to stay single, keep her, care for her, let her invest her life in the kingdom and the advance of the gospel. But if she wants to get married, let her marry.

God can lead through fathers. I have to believe that. But sometimes we may have plans that just really don’t make sense. Fathers in those days made contracts and probably some of these fathers had made some kind of covenant. You know, we have some of that going on today. People making covenants of abstinence and things like that. That’s fine for single people. But it would be silly for a father to say this is a life covenant, because you really don’t know until time passes and a daughter reaches some level of maturity whether or not she can deal with being single or being married. In any case, a father who cares for a daughter and she stays home and focuses on the Lord and the kingdom does well, if that’s her desire, a father who lets her marry does well as well.

Well, there’s nothing left except two verses: Should widows remarry? Should widows remarry? We can put divorce in here as well. A wife is bound as long as her husband lives but if her husband’s dead, she’s free to be married to whom she wishes, with one provision – what is it? – only what? Only in the Lord. Only marry believers. Only in the Lord. “In my opinion, however, she’s happier if she remains as she is.” That’s just an opinion. He said, “Look, I can just tell you, as a man who was married and a man who is single, it’s simpler. And I consider that in saying this, I’m giving you the mind of the Holy Spirit.”

And I say this to you that are single, particularly. If you can remain single in the service of Christ, do so, but not to the jeopardy of your purity. If that’s an issue, get married. And if that’s an issue, don’t postpone your marriage because marriage postponed constitutes an illegitimate single life. If you don’t have the gift of singleness, get married. It always makes me shudder a little bit when somebody says, “Yeah, we’ve decided to get married.” “Oh, great. When are you getting married?” “A year from March.” “Oh, really? Just exactly what might happen between now and then, do you have any idea?”

I’m a believer in – like you give the girl a ring and within sixty days, you’re married. You say, “Oh, we can’t plan the wedding.” Forget that, forget that. What do you mean, plan the wedding? Look, I have a plan, I have a plan. We do the weddings here, we do them sometime on the Lord’s day in the afternoon, and we just have all the people who want to get married come up. Don’t have to pay anything, everybody use the same flowers, we just have a big time. The church is here. We sing a lot of great songs, we have a great time.

One pastor tried that. And at the end of the – they do that in Russia, by the way, I’ve been to those services and I’ve been to the weddings that happen immediately after the Sunday morning service – they’re really wonderful. One pastor said, “I’m going to do that.” He got up after a sermon and he said, “Will those, then, who are wishing to be married, please come forward.” And it’s a fact that three bachelors and forty-two old maids came. So you have to put some limits on how that works. I mean you got to have your partner picked before the Sunday that you show up in the front, okay?

Well, all of that to say Paul gives us some great practical help here – doesn’t he? – in this chapter. Really wonderful choices here. Isn’t that like our Lord who gives us such grace – such wonderful grace? For single people, don’t delay. If God’s designed you for marriage, get married. If you’re divorced or widowed and you can stay single, stay single. If not, and you have grounds for remarriage, get married. If you’re widowed and you can stay single, stay single; if not, get married. If you’re married to a believer, remain. If you’re married to a nonbeliever and he wants to stay or she wants to stay, remain, and be a sanctifying blessing to the family. And if you’re married to an unbeliever who wants out, let him go. You’re not in bondage to that person.

You say, “Well, look, I’m so far down the line, I’ve already messed up all that.” Well, you’ll be glad to know if we confess our sins, He’s faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, right? It’s all about His forgiveness. There must have been many such in Corinth who were seeking His forgiveness. Accept His grace and live from now on the way He commands us to live.

Father, it’s been exciting the last three weeks to just dig into this a little bit and to have hopefully a better understanding of your truth on this, and we know that what you give us is for our good. It is so that we can put ourselves in the place of maximum joy and maximum blessing, and we all need forgiveness, Lord, for so many things in our lives. And there are folks who, in this congregation tonight, are feeling some of the pain of breaking your law in the past, but you’re a God of forgiveness and you cleanse us from all our sins according to the riches of your grace that are provided for us endlessly and boundlessly in Christ. And all you ask of us is that we confess, that we repent, and that we start a pattern of obedience in our lives now. I pray, Lord, that your grace would be upon all of us and that your power would be on us to enable us to live as you would have us live, whether single or married, whatever it is you have for us, may we know that clearly, may we live joyfully in the midst of that. And would you provide for us what we so much need in order to be the people you want us to be. We thank you. In your Son’s name. Amen.

VIDEO A Military Family’s Story of Support

Read: A Military Family’s Story of Support 

June 23, 2021

As the daughter of a Veteran, a military spouse, and a VA nurse, Debbie knows the toll that deployments can take on a loved one. Growing up, her father deployed multiple times. She noticed that whenever he came back home, he always seemed a little different.  

“He got gradually more and more angry, and we didn’t really understand what was going on,” Debbie says. She and her sister felt disconnected from their father, and his change in personality started to affect their upbringing. “He wasn’t any fun anymore, and he didn’t like to go to crowded places,” Debbie recalls. “He would startle really easily.” 

More recently, when Debbie’s husband Jim –– a member of the U.S. Air Force — went on numerous deployments throughout his career, she noticed a familiar pattern each time he returned. “[Jim] started getting more and more upset. He abused drugs and alcohol for a little while,” Debbie says. “It was really scary, because we had at that point three little kids that were under 6 years old in the house. I knew what it was like to be a kid going through that.” 

Recovery for the whole family

As Debbie was dealing with her husband’s change in behavior, her father began talking to fellow Veterans about their experiences. Hearing similar stories from others helped him realize that he wasn’t alone. It also allowed him to help Debbie and Jim.  

“When [my father] saw Jim start having trouble, he was very supportive,” Debbie says. Her father encouraged Jim to make a change for the sake of his wife and their kids — as Debbie explains, to “take the steps that I wasn’t strong enough to take.”  

“When [Jim] realized that his whole family was carrying the burden, that really made a big difference,” Debbie says. “Once he started getting help, I think it surprised him how quickly he turned things around. He’s doing much better now.”  

Working with VA counselors has helped improve their marriage and strengthen Jim’s relationship with their children. “That has been really helpful for my children to understand what PTSD is — how it affects you,” he says.  

This month, we celebrate Father’s Day and the impact that fathers can have in our lives. For Debbie, her father’s decision to seek help for his mental health challenges became instrumental in helping her husband get treatment. It’s allowed Jim to resolve the tensions in his marriage and become a better parent for their children.  

“It’s not about courage,” Debbie says. “It’s about being smart [and] doing the smart thing — not just the brave thing.”

VIDEO The Dramatic Effects Of Fatherless Homes – 20 Statistics on Fatherless Homes


Fatherlessness is a growing problem in the US, and research shows that a father-absent childhood can significantly affect the children’s perception of life, as well as their life choices later on. 

Last year was not easy for any of us, and the weight and anxiety it brought placed significant stress on families everywhere. Unfortunately, some of it inevitably leads to the breaking of families, which will have its first consequences in 2021.

Statistics on fatherless homes show that households with absent fathers also have a higher chance of being under the poverty line. In short, the absence of a father in a family can lead to serious consequences and even fatal outcomes, and these are just a few examples to show how grim the issue can be. 

Top 10 Facts and Statistics on Fatherless Homes You Need to Know About: 

  • In 2014, 17.4 million children lived in fatherless homes.
  • Statistics on absent fathers show that, in 2019, 7 million American dads were absent from the life of all their minor children.
  • Many fatherless families in the US live in poverty.
  • Among the causes of fatherless homes, divorces are leading.
  • Around 5% of absent dads had lived in the same home with their children at some point during the year before the survey.
  • Fatherlessness is linked to the increased risk of infant mortality.
  • Statistics on fatherhood suggest that the lack of interaction between fathers and infants can forecast behavioral issues in children.
  • Secondary data suggest that father absence may increase the likelihood of engaging in criminal activities in young men.
  • Father-involvement has a significant impact on children’s health and academic performance.
  • According to the Department of Justice, statistics on parents in prison show that the number of incarcerated fathers in the US grew significantly in the period from 1991 to 2007.

Absentee Father Statistics to Keep in Mind

If you live in a happy family or at least know both of your parents, you may not even have the idea of how privileged you are. Millions of children worldwide never called anyone ‘dad’ and these are just some of the numbers to paint a clearer picture.

1. In 2014, 17.4 million children lived in fatherless homes.

(Census Bureau)(

This amounted to almost a quarter of all American children — more precisely, 23.6%. In 2017, the number of fatherless homes in America had increased, with 19.7 million children living without a father, which is more than one in four.

2. As of 2019, a quarter of the 121 million men living in the US are biological fathers to at least one kid who’s under the age of 18.

(Census Bureau)

About four out of five of those fathers live with at least some of those underage children (79.8%), while around three-quarters, or 72,6%, live with all of their children. This still leaves many children in fatherless homes, as statistics prove.

3. Statistics on absent fathers show that, in 2019, 7 million American dads were absent from the life of all their minor children.

(Census Bureau)

That means about 20.2% of these men don’t take part in parenting their biological children.

4. On the other end of the spectrum, there are 1.8 million “solo” dads in the US.

(Census Bureau)

Roughly about 6% of the fathers in the US live with their minor child without a partner or a spouse. 

5. Statistics on fatherless homes indicate that many of these families in the US live in poverty.

(U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

Female-led homes with no spouse present had an alarming poverty rate of 47.6% in 2011 — more than four times the rate for kids living in families where both parents are present.

6. Among the causes of fatherless homesdivorces are leading.


The gathered data shows that the second leading cause is out-of-wedlock births. For example, in 2008, 40.6% of all newborns were born to parents who weren’t married.

Absent vs. “Solo” Dads Statistics to Know

There are some differences here, but you might be surprised at how similar effects they have on children. Here is how these two categories compare and differ: 

7. Statistics on fatherlessness show that absent and “solo” dads may not be as different as they seem.

(Census Bureau)

Some would suggest that fathers who raise their children by themselves are opposites to those who have little to do with parenting altogether. However, according to the census data, both categories are more likely to never have been married and to still be living with their parents. 

More precisely, when talking about “solo” and absent dads in the US, around 30% of both categories have never married compared to only 14% of all fathers of underage kids. Also, 22% of “solo” fathers and 24% of absent fathers live with one or both parents. This is only prevalent in 10% of instances regarding all fathers.

8. Fatherless homes statistics suggest that some fathers became “solo” or absent due to particular circumstances that they couldn’t control.

(Census Bureau)

When looking at these stats, about 7% of absent dads and 5% of “solo” fathers were married at some point, but their spouse doesn’t live at the same place anymore. This is the case with less than 2% of all dads in the US when looking at the overall data.

To find out more about relationship facts, feel free to read this article.

9. Around 5% of absent dads had lived in the same home with their children at some point during the year before the survey.

(Census Bureau)

Fatherlessness statistics also show that 42% of these dads had either visited or had contact with their children once a month. In contrast, 12% of “solo” fathers lived with their children and spouse at some point during the previous year.

These figures suggest that nearly half of these absent dads are or may still be involved in their children’s lives more than it appears and that a certain percentage of these “solo” fathers live a less solitary lifestyle than it might seem at first glance.

10. There are some other similarities between “solo” and absent fathers.

(Census Bureau)

Fatherhood statistics show that the representatives of both of these categories have fewer kids, are less likely to have a higher education, or to have a job. Also, they are more likely to be divorced, with 51% “solo” and 30% of absent dads having gone through a divorce. When looking at all the fathers included in the research, this figure is only 10%.

And for more stats on dating and marriage, you may find these articles handy.

Health Risks and Consequences in Fatherless Children — Statistics and Facts

No matter how much single mothers around the world work on making their children feel loved and safe, not having a father figure seems to influence their kids more than they expect. These consequences show in the children’s health and different aspects of their lives and social behavior.

11. Fatherlessness is linked to the increased risk of infant mortality.

(National Library of Medicine)

A study on 1,397,801 infants born between 1998 and 2005 in Florida focused on how the absence of a father can impact infant mortality in ethnic minorities. At the end of the study,  lower birth weights and earlier births were both linked to the lack of involvement of the dads.

Researchers also concluded that the absence of a father could impact infant mortality, with the first 28 days being crucial. In this period, mortality was four times more likely in African-American infants whose fathers were absent than in Caucasian infants with absent fathers. 

12. Father absence statistics show that adolescent women from fatherless homes have a higher chance of getting pregnant.

(National Library of Medicine)

According to a 2012 study, fatherless homes and teenage pregnancy might be connected. The research included 263 adolescent women (aged 13-18) seeking psychological help. It showed that young women who come from homes where the father is absent are 3.5 times more likely to get pregnant than adolescent women from father-present households.

Also, pregnancy was prevalent in 17.4% of cases in fatherless homes, which is much higher than the estimated 4% in the sample of the adolescent population in the US in 2009.

13. Fatherlessness stats may be linked to higher rates of suicide in high school students.

(Wiley Online Library)

A study on social-ecological variables and suicidal behavior found that among 1,618 Latina high school students, the lower overall parental caring and lower perceived father support can both be predictors of suicidal behavior and thoughts.

14. Statistics on fatherhood suggest that the lack of interaction between fathers and infants can forecast behavioral issues later in life.

(National Library of Medicine)

The longitudinal cohort study found that from as early as age one, kids may express negative behaviors as a result of not having enough interaction with their fathers.

15. Secondary data suggest that father absence may increase the likelihood of young men engaging in criminal activities.

(Sage Journals)

When talking about fatherless children, crime statistics, and research on young men participating in criminal activities has found a link. By studying a sample of 835 juvenile inmates, researchers have found that fatherlessness was these children’s only disadvantage compared to others on an individual level.

Professionals found that juveniles from fatherless homes are 279% more likely to carry guns and participate in drug trafficking than those who live with their fathers.

16. Fatherlessness may be linked to lower educational levels of African American girls.

(Wiley Online Library)

When taking a better look at statistics of fatherless homes by race, researchers have found a connection between the lower levels of education in African American girls and fatherlessness.

Experts concluded that this was true for 532 study subjects, and they’ve also discovered that the father’s absence can lead to a lower income and economic stress in a family. 

17. When it comes to the importance of fathers, statistics can help determine how children see school and education.


Those children who have experienced ambivalence or avoidance with their fathers garnered negative thoughts and attitudes regarding their teachers and school in general. 

In contrast, kids who had a good relationship with their fathers also had a more positive self-concept regarding academics as well as better social and emotional skills. 

18. Father-involvement has a significant impact on children’s health and academic performance.

(National Library of Medicine)

Researchers further examining the fatherless homes statistics have concluded that the involvement of the father is linked to positive outcomes in child behavior, cognitive capabilities, and overall development. It improves weight gain rates in preterm infants, helps improve breastfeeding, and can lead to better language skills and greater academic success later in life.

19. According to the Department of Justice, statistics on parents in prison show that the number of incarcerated fathers in the US grew significantly in the period from 1991 to 2007.

(Bureau of Justice Statistics)

More precisely, data show that the number of incarcerated fathers in the US had grown by a whopping 79%. Among their children, nearly half were African American (46%).

20. Children from single-parent homes participate in more government nutrition, education, etc. programs.

(The One Hundred Billion Dollar Man)

Statistics of fatherless children also show that around 55.2% of children who are a part of the WIC program are single-mother-raised. This participation is 48.2% for the Head Start services. Statistics also show that female-headed households account for nearly 37% of public assistance housing programs and Section 8 housing programs.


What percentage of criminals are from single-parent homes?

Even though pinpointing the exact percentage of criminals coming from single-parent homes is difficult, most professionals agree that the majority of inmates come from fatherless homes. Some studies suggest that nearly 70% of inmates did not grow up with both parents living in the same home in the US. 

However, getting the exact data is rather difficult since the Bureau of Justice doesn’t track the inmates’ family backgrounds. Moreover, a 1994 study found that only 13% of juveniles in Wisconsin grew up with married parents.

(Family Inequality)(Survey of Youth in Custody)(The Morning Call)(Family Status of Delinquents in Juvenile Correctional Facilities in Wisconsin)

What are the effects of not having a father in your life?

According to professional research, growing up without one parent (in this case, the father) can permanently alter the brain’s structure. 

Canadian scientists believe that the absence of fathers usually affects girls more than boys, and can make these children more aggressive. They are also more likely to be depressed, have low self-esteem, be poor learners, turn to drugs, and, in some cases, even commit suicide.

(The Daily Mail)(Owlcation)

Does growing up without a father affect you?

By looking at the previous question and answer, it is clear that scientists see a connection between certain behavioral patterns and growing up without a father. They’ve concluded that it has such a significant impact on children, it may even alter their brain structure and chemistry.

(The Daily Mail)


By looking at these figures, it can be concluded that growing up without one parent can have a wide variety of negative effects on children, increasing the likelihood of them turning to crime and having a lower quality of life in general.

Furthermore, these statistics on fatherless homes raise a couple of other, equally alarming questions regarding other important topics like income inequality, poverty, the efficiency of the education system (more precisely, sexual education), and crime. As such, fatherlessness and single-parenting should be a major concern for all of us to deal with in 2021.


The Dramatic Effects Of Fatherless Homes | Pastor Shane Idleman

The new book by Pastor Shane, If My People, is a cry for us to turn back to God, to seek His face, and to receive the blessings He promises to those who will humble themselves.

There are also free download links available here on some of the platforms:

How and When to Stop Being a Doormat

By Sheila Wray Gregoire -April 12, 2021

stop being a doormat

Sometimes we get in a rut in marriage where we actually hurt our spouses because we enable sin. Sometimes we need to learn how to stop being a doormat. Let me begin with a story.

I know of a woman whose husband had been involved with porn heavily for years. They had gone to counselors and he had said he would stop but he hadn’t. They had talked about it for years but nothing changed.

Finally, she decided to stop being a doormat and told a few select people in her small group and the elders at her church, and the elders confronted her husband about this and told him that they were supporting the separation. The small group helped the wife to pack her things and helped her to get into another place to live. They are not divorced; they are separated. But she has tried everything else and it hasn’t worked, and now her church is backing her as she puts her husband in a situation where he has to choose: will I do the right thing and follow God? Or will I turn away?

This, I believe, is the biblical model. I have had other women on this site comment, saying something like:


That is not headship! That is a cop out.

Read Next on Thriving Marriages  Are You Always Irritated at Your Spouse?

Headship should never be used as an excuse to continue in sin, or to give you a cover so that you can lead a “second life.”

There are times, I believe, when a spouse is so endangering his or her relationship with the family and with God that something must be done. And if nothing is done, then that spouse is giving cover to the sin. In my book 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage I talked about this at length. God wants marriages where both spouses chase after Him, not marriages where one spouse uses the relationship as a cover for sin. And sometimes we need some intervention, it’s part of what it means to stop being a doormat.

3 Areas Where You Should Stop Being a Doormat 

I am not going to talk about affairs or abuse or substance issues because we all already talk about those widely in our culture and in our churches, and I hope there’s agreement that in these cases steps must be taken. But too many people think, “because my problem doesn’t fit into those categories I have to live with it and there’s nothing I can do.” Here they are:

1. Porn Use

A man (or woman) who uses porn is not only participating in a sin; he is wandering down a road that will destroy intimacy both with his wife and with God, and will ruin him as a father. It cannot be tolerated. It’s one place to stop being a doormat.

2. Withdrawal from Sex Altogether

In too many marriages sex has become almost non-existent. Usually when it’s the man who withholds sex sex porn is involved. Sometimes, though, it’s simply major pscyhological and emotional damage. Maybe there are homosexual tendencies, or maybe the man has so pushed down his sexuality because it’s threatening to him in some way that he becomes passive and asexual. Maybe she has so much psychological woundedness or anger that she withdraws.

Churches have sympathy for the wife who comes in and says “my husband uses porn”. They often don’t know what to do with a spouse who comes in and says, “my husband (or my wife) never has sex.”  It doesn’t seem like as valid a complaint. In fact, if it’s the man who is going in to ask for help, often the problem will be turned against him: “what did you do to chase your wife away?” Yet in my experience when a spouse completely withdraws from sex it is often not primarily that other spouse’s fault. It is often something psychological or spiritual going on inside the spouse who has withdrawn.

Read Next on Thriving Marriages  How to Build Trust in a Marriage

We were created for intimacy with another person. We are not meant to be lone rangers. If a spouse rejects sex, they are specifically rejecting community. And they are rejecting a huge part of themselves. Do you realize how huge this is? How big a deal this is spiritually and emotionally as well? This can’t be ignored, and a person who has become asexual must be confronted and told, “you need to get counseling”.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having psychological trauma; there is something wrong with refusing to deal with it. You can stop being a doormat by insisting on counseling.

3. Financially Endangering the Family

I received an email from a wife recently who said this:


A man who refuses to provide for his family, and who has become this lazy, also needs Christians to come alongside him and say, “put up or shut up”. This isn’t acceptable. I would say that the same would be true for a spouse who is consistently getting the family deep into debt with spending.

If your spouse is acting in such a way that they are denying a vital part of themselves and a vital part of the Christian life–like responsibility or intimacy or community–then doing nothing about it enables that spouse to avoid any impetus for spiritual growth.

And yet all too often that is what we’ve done–we hate divorce so much that we ignore the other side: God does not want an army of wounded, damaged people. He wants wholeness. And so we must deal with people who are refusing to confront huge issues.

Note that I’m not talking about a difference in sex drives, or problems when one spouse won’t do any housework. I’m not talking about disagreements over child rearing or over the role of TV in the house. I’m talking about things that go to the very heart of who we are as people and what is our relationship before God. And these are issues which, if not dealt with, will continue to drive someone further away from God and further into darkness.

In the old days, brothers would come to support their sister and would give the husband a pounding. That doesn’t happen anymore. But now churches need to fulfill that role.

In my book I use an example of a church intervention. A woman was married to a man who was consistently driving his family into deeper and deeper debt. She was working hard to try to keep the family afloat but she couldn’t manage it anymore because of his spending.

The elders came to the guy and sat him down and said, “we are going to help you make a budget. Then you are going to stick to it. You’ll report to one of us every week until this is all sorted out. And if you continue to overspend, we all will show up at the house with a moving van and we will help your wife get established with the kids in a house of her own until you come to your senses.”

Read Next on Thriving Marriages  Ultimatums Are Bad, Right? Actually, They’re VITAL For a Thriving Marriage. Here’s Why.

They weren’t talking about a divorce; they were saying, “what you are doing is so unacceptable that you must stop. And if you won’t, you alone will bear the consequences because we will help your wife through this.”

Churches Can Help Us Stop Being a Doormat

Now, elders should never do anything this drastic until they hear both sides of the story; but once that story is clear, if one spouse is consistently damaging the family and damaging his or her own spiritual life, then action simply must be taken. And just because they’re married is no reason to avoid taking that action.

I know most of my readers are women, and so let me talk to the women for a moment. Many of you leave heartbreaking messages on this blog about men who have turned their backs on the marriage, but won’t move out. They like someone taking care of the housework and taking care of the kids, and they like the benefits that marriage brings, even though they have rejected the intimacy and responsibility. Ladies, if you put up with this, you are enabling him to move farther and farther away from God. God did not create marriage so that we would have an excuse to not work on our issues.

If your husband is addicted to porn, deal with the internet and get him accountability. If he has substance abuse issues, get him into rehab,, is an addiction treatment center website with a lot of useful information on a variety of treatment programs. If he’s cheating on you, tell someone. If he’s not working, do something.

Go to your church and find someone who will help you; who will sit down and talk to your husband, whether he likes it or not, to hear his side of the story. Someone who will walk you through an intervention process, if it is necessary (and in some cases it definitely is). And someone who will stand alongside your husband and give him the tools and help he needs to rediscover who he was made to be.

I know this is scary. Those times are rare, and please, don’t take these words as an excuse to leave your husband because he plays video games too much or won’t put stuff in the dishwasher. I’m not talking about normal marital disagreements. I’m talking about things where men (or women) have completely forsaken key elements of who they were designed to be. And in that case, your children need to witness health and wholeness and healing. So don’t stop until you find someone to help you!

VIDEO The Road To Love

All of us on this road of life are searching for and needing love. Unfortunately what we find is, love is not easy. A more familiar expression we experience is rejection and it comes from the ones we love the most.

There are so many forms of rejection we experience. I am learning that looking for love in and through people is a road of hurt, disappointment, insecurity, self doubt, low self esteem, depression, and a loss of true identity.

I believe love was and has always been meant to be found in and through our Savior Jesus Christ.

Philippians 2:2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

You see Gods love is perfect! When we seek Gods love and learn His patients, grace and commitment to us, we will be forever changed in the way we view love, especially the way we view it in this broken world full of broken people who only know how to give broken love!!!

As we begin to understand God and His love for us and how His love deals with our broken love. We will begin to know how to love others with a Godly love and learn how to receive broken love as He does.

Simon Peter, Do You Love Me?
John 21
So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.” (21:15–17)

Anyway, using the Greek words (in their anglicized forms), here is a summary of the passage.


Jesus asked Peter if he agape’d Him

Peter responded that he phileo’d Him


Jesus asked Peter if he agape’d Him

Peter responded that he phileo’d Him


Jesus asked Peter if he phileo’d Him

Peter responded that he phileo’d Him

The argument made by the scholars is that Jesus asked Peter if he had the highest form of love for Him. However, Peter could only say that he had the lower form of love for His Saviour. Finally, the third time He asked the question using the word for the lower form of love. This showed that Jesus was satisfied if Peter could only love Him with phileo love.

The reason we reject and are rejected is that we only know the lower kind of love phileo.

Our call from God is to first recieve His love, (agape love) which is a higher form of love that is perfected in Christ! Then in return practice giving this kind of love to God and others that our desire to be loved and to love others will be fulfilling!

God bless you today, I hope this was a word of encouragement and healing!


Sorry America, but your rage is misplaced

June 7, 2020 Ron Whited 

Coming out of the recent pandemic that saw a near complete shutdown of our society along with critical shortages of many essential items, I am struck by the things we now seem to have an abundance of.

Anger comes to mind as something we have in abundance. And hatred, let’s not forget the overflow of hatred in America. Oh, and I don’t want to forget one other thing we have in great abundance today; finger pointing. Can’t forget that now, can I?

Almost beyond belief, it would seem that the cataclysmic virus that had doomed us all to certain death really wasn’t the apocalyptic event prophesied by the media after all. How could it be, when hundreds of thousands are marching side by side not wearing a mask? Imagine that would you?

Things were so bad that we were strictly forbidden to go to church for fear of spreading this death defying virus, yet somehow or another congregating in crowds of tens of thousands doesn’t pose any health risks at all.

I mean, who knew?

Honestly, I’m thinking the wrong crowds are filling the streets of America. I’m thinking we awful, disease spreading, unenlightened Christians ought to be the ones pouring out into the streets of America to protest the theft of our Constitutionally guaranteed freedom of worship. [1]

Speaking of pouring out into the streets, I have lived on this earth for just over 65 years, and in that time I have seen many instances where people took to the streets out of frustration and anger over issues beyond their control.

I was just a boy of eight years of age when Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

I was thirteen when the infamous “Chicago Seven” were arrested for their anti war activities during the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

Just two years later when I was a 15 year old, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a crowd of Vietnam War protestors, killing four and wounding nine. Living just a couple of hours from Kent State University, it seemed like it was in my backyard.

Since those tumultuous times of decades past, there have been several other noteworthy examples of citizens taking to the streets to protest for one reason or another. Abortion, LBGTQ, Environment, Guns, Women’s rights, Anti-war, and the Million man and Million woman marches have all made their mark on the fabric of American society.

Today, as our nation once again seethes with anger in the wake of the brutal, heinous murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, millions are again taking to the streets in a show of indignation and defiance of the status quo.

Of course, the violence that has erupted during the peaceful marches is the result of a well planned and well funded attempt to destroy the fabric of American society from within. There is only one word that most aptly describes what is being played out before our eyes: EVIL.

We can dress it up any way we like to, but it’s still EVIL. We can call it racism or bigotry or any number of other names, but it’s still EVIL. And this is what those marching and protesting in the streets do not understand. This is NOT an issue of race. It is an issue of EVIL. Even those violent criminals that have been unleashed upon our society are completely misguided. The issue here is not one group hating another. It goes much, much deeper than that.

What we’re dealing with here is of the spiritual nature. Don’t believe that? Read what the Apostle Paul had to say about the subject of EVIL.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (emphasis mine)

Did you understand what Paul meant? Our battle, your battle, is not with mankind. It is NOT with your neighbor who is of a different skin color than yours. It is NOT with those whose belief system differs from your own. No, the battle is against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

In other words, the battle is against the spiritual forces of darkness that exist in high places. Who is leading the charge of these forces of darkness at play in our society? Why, it’s none other than Satan himself. That’s right, and every person storming the streets today is being played by the devil. Not a popular sentiment, is it?

Why do you suppose racism still exists at the level it does today? Why haven’t supposedly educated, enlightened individuals been able to come up with a permanent cure for racism? The answer is so simple that its almost too simple. The reason racism still exists at its current level is because the cure for racism is the love of God, and the world has largely rejected the Source of this love.

It’s like the old adage about taking a knife into a gunfight. You can be the very best at using a knife, but against a gun you have virtually zero chance of success against your adversary. Fighting systemic racism by protests, even violent protests does nothing to address the root of the problem! To be sure, these marches have gotten the attention of the entire world. They have no doubt spawned new discussions (or soon will) on how best to deal with the problem.

But not one thing is being done to address the root of the problem: we have forsaken God.

And that, dear readers, is not something that can be corrected by marching down Main Street USA. It can only be corrected at an altar.

Have a blessed day,


Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2:1

[1] The Bill of Rights: Amendment 1

Family unity: A Christian alternative to orphanages

By Nermien Riad, Op-ed Contributor

Earlier this week I read Elli Oswald’s insightful piece on the prevalence of sexual abuse in orphanages. Her writing was spurred by the horrific news that an American missionary had been convicted of sexually abusing children at an orphanage in Kenya. As Ms. Oswald wrote, it’s a disturbing truth that even Christian institutions that we would hope to be safe can be perverted into havens for abusers, particularly when strong oversight is missing.

Courtesy of Coptic Orphans

What are we, as people of faith, called upon to do in the face of this kind of abuse? I would argue that the most crucial thing each of us can do is lift up better alternatives. It’s not enough to just criticize the orphanage system in general, from the stressed-out, underpaid social workers, to many Christians’ noble and honest attempts to care for kids in a group setting. Something more must be done. An alternative must exist. Let’s call it family-based care. The core idea is to keep families together whenever possible.

I am a first-generation Coptic Christian immigrant, and I first volunteered at an orphanage in my parents’ homeland of Egypt in 1988. Many aspects of life in the orphanage were shocking to me, but the most surprising thing I discovered was that many of the children there still had living adult family members who were simply too poor to care for them. 

I went on the found the Christian nonprofit Coptic Orphans on the belief that orphanages should be used only as a last resort. If the loss of a father traps a family in extreme poverty, as is too often the case, the next step should be a search for all available resources that could keep the child with his or her mother and close relatives. What do the mother and child need? Food, medical care, housing, education? We must provide those with the goal of keeping the family together, so that the children can thrive in the right environment. Independent research has shown that most of their needs can be better met within the family.

How do I know this works? I’ve seen it. By the grace of God, Coptic Orphans is blessed to work with over 550 loving church servants who regularly visit the homes of each of the nearly 11,000 orphans in our program. They cultivate a personal relationship with each child, treating them with respect and dignity. These servants assess each child’s needs — including how they can be more connected to their family and their Christian faith — and strive to provide for them, relying on the generous support of the Egyptian Christian diaspora. Education, including individual tutoring and accelerated literacy courses, is the key tool used to help orphans break the cycle of poverty.

Naturally, this model isn’t going to work every single time. But most of the time, it’s the best way to preserve the child’s emotional stability and ability to succeed in life.

I’m grateful for Elli Oswald’s effort to shed light on abuse at orphanages, and I pray that alternative models of care become available to children all over the world. Scaling up the family-based model to serve the enormous number of orphans around the globe would be a challenge. But it’s important that alternatives exist. For that to happen, the conversation has to begin somewhere. I’m glad that it’s happening on these pages.

Nermien Riad is the founder and executive director of Coptic Orphans, an award-winning international Christian development organization founded in 1988. Coptic Orphans unlocks the God-given potential of the most vulnerable children in Egypt, empowering them to break the cycle of poverty and become change-makers in their communities through the power of education.

Behold Two Paintings That Show A Miraculous Christmas Meeting

Two historic women, one old and one young, were the first to welcome and praise the Savior of the world. And two glorious paintings communicate the beauty of these wondrous events.

Behold Two Paintings That Show A Miraculous Christmas Meeting

Dec 23, 2019

If quizzed “Who was the first person to welcome Jesus and announce his lordship?” how would you answer? It’s an important question when we consider that this man from the nowhere town of Nazareth is the most consequential individual ever.

His teaching and followers across the globe radically transformed world culture, toppled great powers without ever firing a shot, established the world of humanitarianism and accessible medical care for commoners, inspired the scientific method, and enlivened the world movements for justice, human dignity, and individual freedom. He literally divides history and is responsible for the founding of the largest, most diverse collection of people around some basic ideals.

This all started with two women no one had ever heard of, whose life-altering experiences are now illustrated in two exquisite works of art. Mary, a humble, young virgin, by tradition about 14 years old at the time, is told by an angel she will give birth to the very Son of God. At this striking news, she “arose and went with haste” to see her cherished relative, Elizabeth, some 90 miles away.

Elizabeth was in the sixth month of her own miraculous pregnancy, for she was well past child-bearing years. Of course, her baby was Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist.

The beauty of this part of the Christmas story is the miracle that happens the moment Mary enters Elizabeth’s home. Christ is recognized, received, proclaimed, and worshiped, and Mary and Elizabeth are not the only two involved in the divine drama here. We read in Luke 1:41-44:

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

This is a major event in Jesus’ story and thus the Christian church, but we seldom appreciate it as such. It is the first time Jesus is both proclaimed and worshiped as God! This was done, we are told, “in a loud voice.” And Christ the Lord is worshiped by two people at the same time — one very old, one super young.

The First to Proclaim Jesus’ Lordship

Elizabeth proclaims the blessedness of Jesus and his mother. The simple but world-changing confession, “Jesus is Lord,” was the first and most basic way Christians began to proclaim their faith and greet one another in the church’s early years. It was the first Christian creed, and Elizabeth was the first to proclaim it, long before Christmas morning. Think on that for a moment.

The second greeting is even more incredible and speaks to an intimate relationship in the Savior’s life. Baby John leaps for joy, literally, at the coming of the Savior. He does so as a child in the darkness of his mother’s womb. (Yes, Christianity has profoundly strong words for the humanity and dignity of the unborn child in John and Jesus’ remarkable in utero contribution to the good news.)

John did not start serving as the forerunner of Christ when preaching about his coming in the desert. It was here, in the womb. And it was two very common mothers, Elizabeth and Mary, who experienced this remarkable, history-changing event. It happened in distinctly womanly interiors of their hearts and wombs, and in the humbleness of Elizabeth’s home. Humble motherhood and the intimate bond only mothers can share is the human font of the Christian story.

To be sure, the Christian church, which is often incorrectly charged with being sexist by people who know little of its actual story, is founded upon two women being the first to welcome and praise the Savior. (Remember as well, it was a small group of women who announced the “second birth” of the Savior, if you will, at his resurrection.) What other major faith or philosophy has women playing such a significant role in its founding? I cannot think of one.

Two famous paintings communicate the beauty of these wondrous events, “The Annunciation” and “The Visitation.” The first African-American painter to achieve significant critical acclaim, Henry Ossawa Tanner, created both. He is a remarkable man and one of my favorite artists.

Christmas paintings by Henry O. Tanner

‘The Annunciation’

One of the things I like best in Tanner’s two works here is that he shows us the simple humanness of Mary and Elizabeth. They are not supernatural, other-worldly, saintly subjects in the typical sense. Tanner’s images show us the regular, everyday women they were.

Christmas Painting The Annunciation

He will not allow us to miss the youth, innocence, and commonness of our Mary. Tanner doesn’t give her a facial expression communicating anything obvious. Is she scared? Stunned? Joyful? Solemn? His Mary is more complex than many artists’ as is undoubtably true of the actual event. Tanner has her communicating all these feelings and struggles at once.

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with this most startling news, he found a teenage girl living a typical teenage girl’s life. The greatest royal announcement in the history of the universe takes place in this teen girl’s humble bedroom, illuminated by the majesty of God’s oracle. That is precisely what Tanner gives us, and it’s just stunning. Also, his technique in presenting the folds and flow of her gown and bed coverings is nothing short of magnificent.

‘The Visitation’

As wonderful as Tanner’s “Annunciation” is, his “Visitation” is even more striking.

Just look at it and consider what’s happening here.

When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Christmas painting The Visitation

Tanner allows us personally to witness this event. Elizabeth most likely did not have any notice that Mary was coming or the grand news that prompted the visit. She sits at the table on an ordinary day, when she hears Mary possibly utter what any of us likely would as she comes to the door, “Liz, you home?”

Elizabeth’s divine surprise and wonder is dramatically communicated simply in her uplifted hands. It’s a glorious device. Are they hands of praise or surprise? Certainly both at the same time.

This simple scene of a surprise family visitation and domesticity is the first scene of Jesus being worshiped. Reflect on this a moment. The event we are witnessing right here in this kitchen is the initiation of what the rest of history and eternity will be about, the worship of the second person of the divine Trinity: Jesus, the Father’s beloved Son.

The interchange between these two women in this domestic setting is unspeakably profound. We typically move over it far too easily, wanting to get onto what we see as the center of the Christmas story, the manger.

This exchange is also vitally important because it is the first revelation of Christ beyond Mary’s heart and womb. It is the precise second and scene that commenced the worship of the Son of the God that will continue without end into eternity, the story that encapsulates a Christian’s whole reality.

P.S. Tanner Lived in Philadelphia

I knew Tanner lived in Philadelphia for some time, so on a business trip there some years ago, I wanted to see if his house was discoverable. It was, and I found it, right around the corner from John Coltrane’s home. How cool is that?

Henry O. Tanner house

Glenn T. Stanton is a Federalist senior contributor who writes and speaks about family, gender, and art, is the director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and is the author of the brand new “The Myth of the Dying Church” (Worthy, 2019). He blogs at

The Viruses That Kills Marriages

God’s Gift


· *Lack of knowledge of the Word of God*
Kills marriage

· *Laziness
Kills marriage
· *Suspicion*
Kills marriage

· *Lack of trust*
Kills marriage
· *Lack of mutual respect*
Kills marriage

· *Unforgiveness*
Kills marriage -(Forgiveness is not optional but mandatory)

· *Arguments*
Kill marriage

· *Keeping secrets from your spouse*
Kills marriage

· *Every form of infidelity*
Kills marriage
-(financial, emotional, psychological, material, etc)


· *Poor communication*
Kills marriage

. *Lies*
Easily kill marriage,
-(be sincere to your spouse in every aspect)

· *Relating more with your parents than your spouse*
Kills marriage

· *Nagging*
Kills marriage

· *Too much talk and careless talk*
Kills marriage

· *Spending less or little time with your spouse*
Kills marriage

· *Being too independent minded*
Kills marriage

· *Love for party, money and spending/partying*
Kills marriage


· *Exposing the inadequacies of your spouse to your parents or siblings or friends*
Kills marriage

· *Not being steadfast/fervent in the spirit*
Kills not only marriage but your life

· *Spurning  to reject with disdain or contempt ) correction and reprimand*
Kills marriage

· *Always wearing a sad face and being moody*
Kills marriage

Kills marriage

· *Uncontrolled or hot temperament*
Kills marriage

· *Not understanding your role and position in marriage as instituted by God*
Kills marriage

· *Not being sensitive to the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of your spouse*
Kills marriage

· *When anything threatens the position/security of a wife, her reaction(s) will be detrimental to her marriage.*

· *Lack of knowledge of the Word of God*
Kills marriage

*Please, save a marriage today by sharing this.*

May God bring HEALING to every TROUBLED Home and Family
*Amen & Amen*

Our Republic

Dec 28, 2020 by Pastor Jack Hibbs

Psalm 36:1-4

“Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts. They have no fear of God at all. In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are. Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do good. They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their actions are never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil.”

As the battle for our Nation’s future continues, I am once again reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s challenge to the American people. At the conclusion of our Founding Father’s Constitutional Convention, Franklin was asked by a woman waiting in the crowd outside, “What kind of government have you given us?” Franklin answered with both a challenge and a rebuke, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Freedom, like the Gospel, must be preached and practiced or else it will grow old and wither away.

“Facts are stubborn things,” said John Adams. But sadly, we have lost our appetite for truth. We have become a nation unworthy of the very freedoms we enjoy in this God-given republic.

Most today, but thankfully not all in the United States, are civically ignorant of their constitutional rights and biblical calling. Uninformed to the point that they have no vision nor understanding of what to do with them. They are willfully blind, having resigned themselves to 15-second sound bites promulgated by those who are themselves blind. To that end, Psalm 36:1-4 speaks to me about those boldly and brazenly committing acts of deception, lying, cover-ups, and fraud. They are, in short, political jihadists.

During these days, I have dedicated my morning hours to intercessory prayer for our Nation. I teach and preach that Jesus Christ could return at any moment for His Church in the Rapture (Titus 2:13), yet I must also occupy in this world until He comes. I must be busy about my Father’s business in all things, obedient to live it out now.

In the next several weeks your life and mine are about to be changed forever. The coming persecution and violence can only be met with an equal resolve to preserve our liberty and freedom for our children and our children’s children.

Truth is active and the pursuit of it is a vigorous ethos. Christian, be ready to defend your faith, family, and freedom. Someday, our children will ask us, “What kind of government have you given us?” May our answer to them be, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

– Pastor Jack