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It was revealed to the world on The Learning Channel this week that Jon & Kate Gosselin, parents of America’s premier multiple multiples, are “separating”. That is a polite way to say that they are divorcing after 10 years of marriage. Why would they do this? According to them, this new and exciting, but possibly lonely time in their lives is all for the children. They are just too tired of fighting all the time and believe that they can live separate lives more successfully than they have lived as a married couple.

There are so many things wrong with this that I don’t know where to start. Any casual observer could see that there were serious marital problems shortly into the first season of this “reality” show that follows the couple, their twin girls, and their sextuplets. Jon & Kate Plus 8 has garnered a large audience who watch the show, read the blogs, buy the books, and follow each episode to see what will happen next to this every day family.

But they are not the every day family. Perhaps it might be better if they put decals and stickers on each of their children with the names of their sponsors – kind of like NASCAR racing cars. At least that way the public would know that the houses, the trips, the adventures, the whole thing is sponsored and staged. And just like NASCAR, we could admit that most people watch for the wrecks, not the photo finish.

I don’t intend to sound harsh. I am genuinely saddened and concerned for the children, and for Jon and Kate. They have been fooled and also played the fool. They have sacrificed family for fame and fortune. And to be very sure, no matter what they actually believe and say over and over as if to try and convince themselves, what they are doing is not best for the children.

Let’s focus on two issues that are at work here to understand how to avoid the same pitfalls that this family has run head long into. First, in every marriage, the first relationship, after God, that must remain the priority, till death do them part, is that of the husband and wife. Studies tell us that children are never more secure, happy, or well adjusted as when mom and dad love each other and put each other first, above self, and yes, above the children. If we are married, then the primary human relationship in our lives is with our spouse. Everything else is secondary. If not, the marriage will fail at some level and the children will not benefit from a stable home environment where mom and dad love each other and sacrifice for each other and for the family.

Mom and Dad – your kids need to know you love each other and are committed to each other and to the family as a unit. Anything less will cause insecurity, worry, anxiety, and stress.

Secondly, marriage is not about a social contract aimed at facilitating a 50-50 give and take relationship. It is not 2 people living separate lives in the same house. It is a commitment of our will to give ourselves 100 % to our spouse, no matter what we get in return. Does this sound radical? Of course it does. It runs contrary to what we have been taught about love and marriage in and out of the church these days.

In this aftermath of the Me Generation we think it is all about us. We think that marriage exists to meet our own personal and emotional needs. But the Biblical ideal here is that as we fulfill the God designed roles within marriage we also have an attitude at all times of submitting ourselves to one another (Eph. 5:21). True love after all is unconditional. It does not seek its own, that is, it is not selfish (1 Cor. 13:4-8). Marriage is ultimately about self denial, not self fulfillment. We have the opportunity to give ourselves completely to another without conditions.

Jon & Kate lost the battle long before they were even married. They lost it when they listened to the spirit of the age and believed in their hearts that their relationship might end badly if things happened to “go wrong.” They bought into the lie that divorce is just one of many options in life, making each marriage nothing more than a potential statistic. Instead, a Biblical world view would have encouraged them that no matter what they faced they could overcome if they faced it together, supporting one another and bearing one another’s burdens. We need to learn to view divorce like God does. He hates it. So should we.

If they do not repent of their sin, selfishness, and stupidity then they and their children will suffer the consequences for years to come. This is not best for the children. It opens the door for a complete and total failure of their family. And yet they welcome this as a “relief”, as needed “change”, and an “exciting new chapter”. It is so sad, and so predictable, and so unnecessary.

If this were really reality then I would say that here are 2 thirty-somethings that need to grow up, act their age, and put their kids right where they want to be, part of a loving committed family where mom and dad would give anything to get along, endure, push through, and overcome. They need to get the TV out of their home and their home off the TV. That assumes though that they would find saving their family worth giving up the notoriety, ratings, and money.

Do they really value the kids? The truth is that no matter what they say over and over and over again, what seems to matter to Jon is Jon, and to Kate is Kate. While their conscience might be soothed by the mantra, “It is all for the kids, I want what is best for my kids”, their kids will come to know the truth soon enough. One day they will look back on this episode and see that what really mattered was not the family at all.

We have to remember that you don’t fall in love and you can’t fall out of love. Not Biblical love. True love is not chance, it is choice. And while Jon & Kate regurgitate for the rest of us to see the depravity and destruction of yet another family, I fear that we will see them and their kids in the headlines for years to come. They are not role models, they are a warning that if we do things the world’s way, we will pay an awful price. The wages of sin, after all, is still death (Rom 6:23), be it the death of a dream, the death of a family, or eventually the death of this fleshly body, and the only escape is to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1-2), dying to self (Luke 9:23), and living in Christ (Gal 2:20). For without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5), but with Him and through Him nothing is impossible (Phil. 4:13; Luke 18:27), even succeeding at marriage.

Related Sermons:

The Source of Family Conflict
The Solution for Family Conflict
Strategies for Success
God’s Plan for Parenting

See the whole sermon series here: God’s Design for the Family

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