I should rename this to “not so” Daily Devotions… Anyway, still making my way through Matthew, and still in the Sermon on the Mount. Today it’s all about divorce (Matthew 5:31,32). Check this out:
The current U.S. divorce rate:
The media frequently reports that 50% of American marriages will end in divorce. This number appears to have been derived from very skimpy data related to a single county or state. However, it appears to be reasonable close to the probable value. The Americans for Divorce Reform estimates that “Probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue. However, that is only a projection and a prediction.”
Divorce rates among Christian groups:
The slogan: “The family that prays together, stays together” is well known. There has been much anecdotal evidence that has led to “unsubstantiated claims that the divorce rate for Christians who attended church regularly, pray together or who meet other conditions is only 1 or 2 percent”. 8 [Emphasis ours]. Dr. Tom Ellis, chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Council on the Family said that for “…born-again Christian couples who marry…in the church after having received premarital counseling…and attend church regularly and pray daily together…” experience only 1 divorce out of nearly 39,000 marriages — or 0.00256 percent. 9
A recent study by the Barna Research Group throws extreme doubt on these estimates. Barna released the results of their poll about divorce on 1999-DEC-21. 1 They had interviewed 3,854 adults from the 48 contiguous states. The margin of error is within 2 percentage points. The survey found:
- 11% of the adult population is currently divorced.
- 25% of adults have had at least one divorce during their lifetime.
- Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significently higher than for other faith groups, and for Atheists and Agnostics.
George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group, commented:
“While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages.”
We just finished a series called “What is Love?” and we hit on a lot of issues dealing with love and marriage. Yesterday’s message was a great reminder that many times in our relationships its easy for us to communicate criticism but we tend to keep encouraging and complimenting comments to ourselves – we just think it. But that is so unhealthy; we need to make sure our spouses (and people in general) know how much and why we appreciated, love, respect, etc.