Can’t quite choke out that word

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I’m having a hard time saying, “Congratulations.”

Having said that, I owe you an explanation. It’s in response to a social media update from a young single woman announcing she is expecting her second child. The comments and responses to her post are expressions of joy and excitement. And rightly so, for the conception and birth of new life always brings hope to our lives and world.

However, in the midst of all the high fives, does no one but me see anything wrong with this picture? It is so easy to skip over the sin of sex outside of marriage, the immorality being modeled for our children, the very difficult challenge of single parenthood, the strain on grandparents raising their grandchildren and the absence of husbands and fathers in families and simply fast-forward to the birth announcements, baby showers and choosing a name. By doing so, we approve of, encourage and perpetuate the growth of families where there is a much higher incidence of poverty, substance abuse, health problems, lower grades, and teen pregnancy.

You see, no one says, “That’s wrong.” No one calls it a sin. I am aware that my comments here will be read as judgmental and uncaring, but I can take it. No one really wants to have their sin pointed out. I don’t want my sin to be pointed out to me. But you know what? If you don’t, you never get to forgiveness. You never really deal with the guilt. You just pretend its not there. You deceive yourself and you are living a lie (1 John 1:8).

Some recent reading I’ve been doing lately places some of the blame on men. Ouch. We haven’t raised our sons to be responsible men, made our daughters feel loved, been faithful husbands or encouraged other men to do these things. Can’t point the finger. Have to take some responsibility. That’s why I am having a hard time saying, “Congratulations.”

We’re not just talking about changing behavior. This is about transforming hearts. And that is God’s work. Clearly pastors like myself need to lead our churches in proclaiming a God who calls us through His own son Jesus Christ into a different kind of a relationship with Him, our bodies, our families and our world. Pointing out a sin is just the first step. We must then direct our attention to our Savior, who really does change the direction of our lives.

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