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Let's Bring "Judgment" Back!
In Pride & Prejudice, Elizabeth says, "The more I see of the world, the more dissatisfied I am with it."

That's how I'm feeling right now. There's a lot going on in my personal life that I'm dissatisfied with, though not with my immediate family. I have friends who are separating, and it is completely avoidable if one of the partners would stop being in denial about sin. But that's not in vogue to say anymore. "Many people suffer from this problem," is instead the line that is used. And in the meantime the family falls apart.

And now I read several statistics that say that in Britain, the out of wedlock birthrate is now over 50%. In the U.S. it's at about 40%. Something is desperately wrong.

Over at Contentions, the blog for Commentary magazine, they're discussing this problem. While referencing a British article portraying a single mother, they say this:

But as painful as these stories are, they are not quite tragic. Tragedy requires its protagonist to have no real choice in the matter: Othello had to be Othello. But the Guardian’s victims did have choices. In this case, Louise left school at the age of 18 with “only a handful of Es, Fs and Gs at GCSE.” In the British system, those are bad grades. She left school because she got pregnant, though she claims this wasn’t irresponsible because the man she was dating at the time had a job. He left her and she says she never wants a man in her life again, though the relationship didn’t end fast enough to prevent another child — a son — from arriving three years later. Now she is 24 years old, with two children, no skills, no money, with no eligible man ever likely to materialize, and she barely scrapes by on a multitude of welfare payments. She’s nonjudgmental about the women she knows who sell drugs or steal to support their children.

Of course, there is a tragic element. Louise’s own mother was single and — according to her — entirely uneducated. The tenement she lives in, though just like thousands of others across Britain, is vile, and the schools are dreadful, because no good teacher wants to work in an environment where most of the homes are broken and neither the children nor the parent — usually only one — place any value on education. In a phrase that, more than any other, sums up Britain’s poor, Louise “take[s] life as it comes.” Since her life is a sad testimony to the fact that, until her already meager income and circumstances were drastically reduced, she never planned ahead, she is probably right.

Now she is genuinely stuck, and her children will turn out like her, unless they are very lucky. No amount of government funding can remedy this, because what are lacking are moral and educational, not financial, resources. She would have been far, far better off in a traditional two-parent family, with a strong and rigorous school system, going to church, and being surrounded by a culture that taught her a duty to herself and society and taught her to improve herself and to provide for her own needs, that dependency was a sin, that failing to plan ahead was a form of dependency, and that she should have children only after marriage and only when she and her husband had the financial wherewithal to raise them in reasonable surroundings.

What is so hard about that? What is wrong about it? Why is it cruel? Is it not in every way a more fulfilling, happier, self-directed, and liberal mode of life than the one she chose — and, of course, had chosen for her by the last 40 years of liberalism, under which the nonjudgmentalism was elevated into a religion and the breakdown of the family proceeded apace? (emphasis mine)

Isn't that the point? The problem with illegitimacy, the problem with family breakdown, and the problem with most things in general today is that we have failed to call them what they are: sin. We live in a non-judgmental society, where everybody is fine to do whatever they want.

But in that environment, people are going to make not just poor choices, but wrong, bad, and even evil choices. I believe it is evil to have an affair and abandon your wife and young children. I believe it is evil to repeatedly sleep with men you have no intention of marrying, wind up pregnant, and raise those kids in a dangerous tenement. And then to keep having more children! I believe it is evil for men to sleep with women not caring about the consequences. (This doesn't mean that these people are evil, or that there is no forgiveness or redemption available. There definitely is. But these things are not neutral).

Yet instead of labelling it for what it is, we pour money in to these communities, as if money will help. It won't. If you add up all the money that the United States has spent on the poor since 1970, we wouldn't have any poor. P.J. O'Rourke is famous or saying that, but basically if you take it on a per capita basis, it's more than a middle-class income. But it isn't lifting people out of poverty because poverty today is a cultural issue far more than it is a monetary one. If you are poor but you have motivation and morals, you can rise above it, and you can raise great kids nonetheless. But if you are poor and have a fatalistic attitude, and believe none of this is your fault, you're stuck and so are your kids.

Money is not the answer. Culture is. And the culture will only change by two things: a backlash when things get so bad that your average joe can't take it anymore; and a resurgence of religion. The latter will only happen if we start figuring out how to engage people in a more meaningful way. We need to start spreading the good news. But the good news is not only that Jesus loves you; it's also that there is a moral code.

I heard a sermon once about the Blessings and Curses in Deuteronomy, and basically what the pastor said was that the blessing is not just in what comes after obedience; the blessing is in the commandment itself. In other words, having a commandment to wait until you're married to have sex; having a commandment to stay faithful; having a commandment to not lie or steal; all of these things are blessings. They help us order our lives. And it is in this ordering that there is blessing, even before the consequences come.

It is wonderful to know how to raise our kids, and we avoid so much heartache when we do it right. Somehow we need to communicate that again. It is FUN to be married. It is a BLESSING to have kids as part of a marriage relationship. We are not prudes by waiting to make love until we are married. We can be free with our spouse, because there is no baggage.

We need to tell people this. We need to bring back the idea that some things are right, and some things are wrong, and the things that are right are actually more fun and fulfilling.

I wonder if anybody will buy it? Without the Holy Spirit, I highly doubt it.

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To Love, Honor and Vacuum



At 10:52 AM , Blogger Terry @ Breathing Grace said…

This is an issue very close to my heart, Sheila. I am actually close to tears while reading it.

I so wish our culture could get a clue. I so wish that!


At 11:39 AM , Blogger Christian said…

Sin and it's consequences are self-evident, our culture is rapidly, if not already to a point where we can't deny it any longer and a choice will have to be made...I pray constantly that it is the right choice!


At 11:40 AM , Blogger Christian said…

Sorry, I wanted to say that our culture is rapidly approaching, if not already there.


At 1:42 PM , Blogger Bobble said…

Amen, Sister!


At 4:05 PM , Blogger Dana Tate said…

Amen! I come from a broken home and by Gods amazing grace, I am out of that cycle and know that is not circumstance but sinfulness that I was raised around. I now have a family of my own and imparting the Biblical values not the worlds..Amen to this post.


At 8:55 PM , Blogger Jules said…

Sheila, I often read your blog but rarely comment but this is one issue that I've been struggling with for a while. I have to wonder if we can blame the culture or if we should blame the Christians? Who stopped calling it 'sin'? The world, or Christians trying to be PC? I don't have an answer. And I'm not trying to point the finger - just try to discover how someone close to me who calls herself a Christian can live in sin for over 10 years and then actually celebrate when her daughter gets pregnant out of wedlock. And whenever I've said something I've been labelled as judgemental or legalistic. Suddenly I'm starting to think that's not a bad thing to be called!

Thank you for all your posts and for being so honest. Blessings, Jules


At 10:05 AM , Blogger Tiffany said…

I wholeheartedly agree! We as Christians need to be willing to lovingly stand up and call sin what it is...sin! Jesus was able to do this in a way that did not turn people away, but drew them to him. We need to strive to do the same. Thank you so much for the challenging reminder! I am so glad I found your site!


At 2:18 PM , Anonymous Ann Dunagan - Mission-Minded LIFE said…


And may the Lord continue to give you boldness and clarity to proclaim the truth. It's for LIFE and for JOY . . . and for eternity.

It does matter. (And there has been numerous examples of "accepted" sin in families I know . . . with marriages that are falling apart and teenagers are falling off the deep end . . . that have made me MAD lately too).

Sometimes, I've been shaking my head and wondering how the door was opened in the first place. It could come by not judging . . . then compromising . . . and taking the path of least resistance. But then they wonder why their lives seem lost and floundering.



At 12:14 PM , Anonymous Allison said…

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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