Spent the afternoon trying to help a worried wife salvage her marriage. The cops were called. Stood in the living room of a red-eyed couple, holding a cooing baby, and a policeman handing over their domestic nightmare to the local pastor. Then we spent an emotional hour together, me praying like crazy while the couple cried and pleaded, defended and mourned...
Then I get home and go out on a date with my wife and three boys, we have a fun time at Panera, we get tasty drinks at Starbucks, and then play at the fountain. The contrast couldn't have been more stark. I almost feel guilty for enjoying my family so much, having previously spent time with a family that is barely hanging together. I wonder: in what way can the joys and strengths of my family benefit this wounded and scared couple?
Obviously it would be easier for my family to isolate itself, spend the bulk of the time with other healthy families so that we can be even more healthy. But what about the decaying and fraying marriages all around us, the ones we cluck our tongues at when they make a scene at the checkoutline? We can offer up a prayer for them as we walk briskly away to the safety of our oversized and overpriced vehicle...but what does that do to our soul? How healthy is my family if we are isolated from the tear-wracked marriages around us?
Stats (somewhere from Barna) state that the more often you attend a church service, the more likely your marriage will last; the less likely you attend church, the more likely your marriage will fail. Once you get divorced, the odds go way up that you will get divorced again. So if healthy families are regularly attending church, what obligation do they have to go out of their way to help unhealthy families get to church more often?
Can the goal of building a healthy family become an idol for a Christian home if it is simultaneous with a neglect for the struggling and stranded families in the neighborhood?
Is God pleased with a healthy family if it is isolated from unhealthy families?
How intentional should churches be about attracting and keeping unhealthy families in their sphere of influence and love?
And what is it about regular attendance in a good church that makes for stronger families?