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Why Don’t They Listen to Us?

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

“Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Luke 14:34-35)

"You can't unstir a drink". That’s a quote from a weird relative... normal people have said it in better ways, but the truth is the truth no matter who says it or how it is said.

"Salt is good, but if it loses it saltiness, how can it be made salty again?...”

In this case, the truth is Christ-followers have placed within them a unique ability to preserve, enhance, and better this world that our God loves. We know we have this treasure in plain, clay, pots but we have it. It is our "saltiness". This influence is potent but surprisingly fragile. We can make decisions and commit sins that ruin it. And if we lose it, in some ways, it is lost forever.

You cannot unstir a drink.

If salt loses its “saltiness” it cannot be made salty again. This weekend I wrote, “I love you” on the bottom of a card as my wife and I prepared to celebrate twenty-nine years of marriage. It felt more significant to me than many of the others we have had together because it came less than one month after the United States Supreme Court made it’s short-sighted and unreasonable decision legalizing “Gay Marriage”. It came less than one week after the gruesome, video of an abortionist discussing the selling of baby’s organs over a business lunch like they were selling spare auto parts from a salvage yard.

Both of those events were met with protest from the church. They should have been. There is no such thing as “Gay Marriage” and our Supreme Court was wrong on every level: legal as well as moral. The abortionist video shows the gruesome truth that the overwhelming number of abortions are the murder and dismemberment of a viable, living, human being for the sake of convenience and, now more and more, for profit.

So, the protests are justified, but they are also ignored. Jesus taught that true “disciples” work with him in two ways: to battle and to build.

"Or suppose a king is about to go to war with another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand?" (Luke 14:31)

We are in a war. Not against people but against “principalities and powers”. We fight to “demolish arguments and pretensions” and to “bring thoughts captive” to God’s truth. (II Corinthians 10:5) And, we are outnumbered. The odds against us are overwhelming.

One of the reasons people ignore the truth is that they are hostile towards it. We have come to a time when people consciences are “seared with a hot iron”. Their lives are no longer based upon any concept of objective morality or duty. They don’t listen to truth because they simply don’t “like” the truth and, they “heap to themselves teachers” who put a stamp of approval on any lifestyle.

There is another reason people have stopped listening to the church. Not only do we battle, we are also to build:

"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough to finish it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you saying, ‘This person began to build and was not able to finish.’” (Luke 14:28-30)

Truth has impact when backed by a sincere life. The church lost influence on marriage in our society decades before the SCOTUS ruling. We lost it because over and over again believers set out to build a marriage and family without counting the cost or understanding the commitment we were making. Thousands of times believers stood before their God and made a promise to love “until we are parted by death” only to decide they didn’t have sufficient resources to finish.

For all the wonderful things that can be said about marriage this must always be said, MARRIAGE IS HARD WORK! When you marry someone you are saying, “Here’s to building a life together through rent and mortgages, college degrees and loan payments, pregnancy and dirty diapers, through raising kids who raise Cain. I promise to keep building through mid-life and menopause, through old age and Alzheimer’s.”

You will be disappointed. There will be hurt and even betrayal. There will come a time where the only thing that keeps you together is the fact that you made a promise. You are not "getting anything out of it".

Marriage calls for absolute commitment and the deepest levels of forgiveness and patience.

That is the commitment when you say, "I do". You will not sustain marriage as God designed if you are not committed absolutely to his truth. Far too many of us made that promise, set out to build, and then decided we just didn’t have it in us to finish.

So, when we climb up on our soapbox to shout at the culture about ‘family values’ they respond with a very simple logic: “If by family values you mean behaviors that affect the well being of families shouldn’t you be just as concerned about divorce and remarriage among those in the church as you are gay marriage?”

The Bible is just as clear, or clearer, on divorce as homosexuality. God says, “I hate divorce!” (Malachi 2:16) Divorce leaves children without fathers; wives without husbands; fathers separated from their children; and the idea of the sanctity of marriage as a “God-ordained” institution without any credibility.

We would expect to hear preachers and conservative politicians speaking just as much about that scandal as others. But it strikes a bit too close to our pews. So we have allowed the standards of our culture to dictate our approach to divorce and remarriage. When the world looks at the church landscape dotted with the shells of unfinished marriages ended by broken promises, "everyone will ridicule" (Luke 14:29)

There is a fallacy in using someone else’s sin as a justification for our own. But in the war for souls our enemy is not concerned with truth and fair play. Our acceptance and justification of divorce is the scandal of the church. The scripture says that we overcome "By the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony." The blood never loses its power. But what about our testimony? If our lives don’t match our words, “It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile, it is thrown out.” (Luke 14:35)

Just a thought.

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