It’s a sin to hate your brother for any reason – to do anything to harm him in his body, marriage, possessions, or reputation. I see a lot of people claiming we have a “Racist system”. But no one has said specifically what part of the system is actually designed to harm our neighbor. Claiming that “The system” is the problem, without identifying which parts of the system needs to be changed, and how to change those parts, can lead only to destruction – which is what we have seen so far. It is easy to burn down a building. Anyone can do that. Building one takes more time and skill. So if we are to demolish the current system, what would replace it, and how would that serve my neighbor better than what we have now?
The biggest institutional (system wide – that is across our nation. enshrined in law) sin against my neighbor is the sin against the family. Our nation has been subsidizing children outside of wedlock for decades, despite the irrefutable proof that children need to grow up in a home with their mother and father. This began as a subsidy overwhelmingly for one race, but it now afflicts all races.. Fewer than half of all children among all races grow up with both their mother and father in the home. The largest predictor of later incarceration is, “Did the child grow up with his father in the home?” You can’t swap out the father for another man. As they say quite crassly these days, “the baby daddy”: there is no substitute. Also, the data is irrefutable on another point: Stable homes require marriage, not cohabitation. So, marry, then have children, then stay married. It is the fastest way to end poverty, imprisonment, addiction… all of the social ills that are too quickly attributed to racism.
When we violate the sixth commandment, we cause harm to our own children, and to our neighbor’s as well (Because he sees our example and is more likely to follow it.)
The other institutional problem we have in this regard began among whites, but has now also become common among all races: no fault divorce. This, and government subsidies for unmarried mothers has rotted the foundation of our society. The problem is, even if there was a desire to reverse either of these, people no longer even know how to live according to the sixth commandment. Most boys grow into men without ever seeing how a man lives and behaves. Most girls grow into women without ever seeing it either. So men do not know how to be men, and women do not know how to find a good man. And even if we reverse the policies now, we are left with several generations of people who need to relearn things which should have been native to them. When you try and learn a language as an adult, you invariably speak it with an accent. So also for an attempt to relearn what it means to be men and women in a family. It will be awkward and not go very well for several generations.
I recently spoke to the pastor of a large suburban congregation with many young members – he said that he does few weddings. More often, young people leave the church, cohabitate, then eventually (maybe) get married outside of the church (because the church won’t do a live-in marriage) and then maybe they return when they have kids. So, as the very point when our young people most need to hear the Word of God about finding a faithful spouse to help them have a successful marriage, they are leaving the church and living unfaithfully! I think my friend sadly spends more time counseling couples in how to stay together after their marriage has hit the rocks than he does in pre-marital counseling. Little wonder. But that’s what I mean about speaking the language of marriage with difficulty. Even those who want to do the right thing have no clue how to get it done practically. How do you even find someone today who will wait until the wedding night for the marriage bed?
Can our society last long enough to relearn these things? This will take generations to fix. At this point, it’s not clear our society can last until the end of summer.
But the church – those who actually consider things according to the word of God, not according to the zeitgeist of today – will be there to pick up the pieces, as it always has been. The church will not escape this fully intact. Living according to the sixth commandment is no longer natural even for those in the church. But those who are left, those who still hear and learn the word of God, who turn away from the way of the world and follow our Lord Jesus on the narrow path of life – will be around to help their neighbor, to encourage godly conduct and peaceful living, as we have always done. Eventually, attempts will be made to relearn what we have lost. Through it all, we will endure hardships, even persecution for saying loving but unpopular things.
Like this, I suppose: If there is to be in our society a renewal and an end to poverty, inequality, injustice, mass incarceration, addiction, and a host of other problems, we need to begin with repentance and renewal for the family.