Thursday, May 24, 2007

There's a New Sheriff in Town

Recently I preached on the beginning of marriage from Genesis 2. In verse 24, God gives a threefold purpose for marriage. This purpose is so solid that Jesus repeats it in Matthew 19 and the Apostle Paul repeats it as well in Ephesians 5. But the first statement that God makes about marriage in the Garden of Eden is amazing. He says with authority, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother…”

For this cause” refers to the fact that God made man with a need for companionship and that a wife is the perfect and only solution to that need. A man leaving his father and mother (and reciprocally a woman leaving her father and mother) shows us the purpose of severance involved in marriage. Before you were married the most important human relationship in your life was without question your parents. That is why the Bible says so much about our need to honor, love and obey our parents. But once you say “I DO” there is a new sheriff in town. Once you get married your wife must become more important to you than any other human relationship including your parents, your best friend, your boss, your pastor or anyone else. In other words, husbands, if you have to make a choice between your wife or your mom and dad, you should choose you wife. Wives, if you have to choose between your husband and you parents, you should choose your husband.

But think about Jesus saying those words to Adam and Eve who were at that time the only two people on earth. As God performs this initial wedding ceremony and says these words, “a man shall leave his father and mother,” Adam and Eve must have looked at each other with a quizzical expression and asked, “Excuse me, what’s a mother and a father?”

They didn’t have parents. They were the first two humans on earth. They certainly would have no struggle seeing each other as the most important human relationship in their life. After all, their mate was literally the only human relationship in their life. So why would God give these words to Adam and Eve who had no parents? I think the reason is simple. God was speaking to them as future parents. He was preparing them for the day when their kids would say “I DO.” He was teaching them in advance of the crucial need they would have to release their children to a new priority…a new sheriff.

If you are a parent of a married child or a soon to be married child, may I speak honestly and directly to you? It is your responsibility as the parents to ensure that your grown child sees his or her mate as the most important human relationship in their life. Many parents, unfortunately, make it hard for their grown married children to obey God. They use guilt and manipulation tactics to get their way in the lives of their married children. You know what I mean. When your married child and their spouse makes a decision that is not what you want or desire, so you respond with, “Well, go ahead but remember you just don’t know how long I will still be alive…I’m getting old, ya know.”

Maybe what I really ought to do is add a week to the pre-marital counseling that I take every couple through before I marry them but make this added week for their parents.

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