I meet so many people who are genuinely surprised to find themselves doing harm to those they love. I was sitting with a couple the other day. They weren’t totally hostile to Christianity yet, they were surprised at how badly they treated each other (he’d just started an online affair - she'd been super critical of him since day one). They didn’t want their souls to change, but neither did they want to live with the consequences of their behaviours.
Do you see the problem here?
When we are wrong on the inside we can’t even WANT to do what’s right. Oh sure, we can love those who love us. Who can't? But when my love for you is based on you loving me first, well, that's a recipe for destruction. This doesn’t mean that non Christians must always be Charles Mansons or Stalins. It does mean that non redeemed souls will most often put themselves first, even in their most important relationships. What these people really want is to continue being “wrong on the inside” but not experience the consequences of being wrong. Even when their conscience tells them they’re treating each other wrong, their whole inner being is tilted away from the right things. The "right things" aren't even recognised as options. This is why Christopher Hitchens and others like him hate so terribly the very thought of God watching over them. What God wants for them is the very opposite of what their unregenerate heart wants for themselves.
In my own life:
Only Jesus could reverse the trending downward to self-destruction.
Only Jesus could make His law attractive to me.
Only Jesus could make His way of life seem important.
Only a character that’s was changed by Jesus could come to see sin for the horror that it truly is.
On CNN the question was asked, “Should parents in a struggling marriage stay together for the children?” The majority of the people thought not eg., “I left my husband because I didn’t want my children to believe that they had to “just settle.” I want them to go after happiness.”
It didn’t occur to anyone to ask, “Should parents in a struggling marriage change the way they treat each other for the sake of the children; should they change so that their children can learn how to love?” Had that question been asked, the answer would have still been - “No - We’re not willing to change.”
And why aren't they willing to change?
Because we CAN’T treat each other good - we can’t even WANT to treat each other good - when we ourselves are not good.
Jesus allowed divorce for one reason only - “Because of your hard and evil hearts.”
If you knew that you possessed a hard and evil heart, wouldn’t you want to change that aspect of your nature?
And if not, why not?
Hard and evil hearts cannot show the love and mercy and forgiveness that all marriages need. Healing a marriage requires that the people themselves change, and that is precisely what people are not willing to do. Many people won’t even admit that inner change is necessary. “I’m a good person” is the mantra of atheists. So convinced are people that it’s not their fault, that after a divorce they quickly marry someone new fully expecting that this time things will be better. Statistics say otherwise.
I address this in a multi part series, http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2006/12/will-i-ever-find-partner-whos-good-for.html
Until Jesus changes who we are, we simply don’t have loving those who are difficult to love as an option. So our children are left with the pattern of walking away from difficult relationships.
Without Jesus in our hearts, without Jesus as Lord and Master of our lives, our children will not even have the option of doing it right.