As I write this, this morning’s news is burning in my ears. I watched a young woman, unaware she was being captured on video, explain to an undercover cop, who was posing as a would-be hit man, that she wanted to kill her husband.
“It’s just easier than getting a divorce,” she said, smiling casually.
This way she would not have to endure the social judgment of her family, worry about court orders, child support, and, oh yes, she could collect the $400,000 from his life insurance. Sadly, and while not for the same reasons, I personally know someone serving prison time, having been convicted of the same crime. And so, at this moment, my outlook for the family is colored with a little too much blue, perhaps.
In his book No Easy Day, Navy seal, and member of the elite fighting force that captured and killed Osama Bin Laden, Mark Owen (the pseudonym under which the book was penned) describes the stealthy clearing of houses in enemy territory—invade, surprise, and shoot, to put it simply. This “close quarters battle,” or CQB, proved essential to the success of Seal Team 6.
Close quarters battle is what it feels like for so many of us at home. On one hand, we are fighting sophisticated forces from the outside—everything from the ultraviolent and sexual images that stream in through the computer and television to over-the-counter pharmaceuticals for our children and substance abuse. On the other hand, abusive interpersonal dynamics, emotional and physical betrayal, threatens from within. It seems as if it would take an expert in group movements, vigilance, and communication to keep one’s home free from threat.
Your home may not be awash in this depth of evil, selfishness, and treachery, yet handy tips and fresh ideas for family togetherness just won’t cut it in the long run, not when so much is at stake. What is so serious, you ask? A love that Christ has for us, necessarily transmitted and transferred to others—in our homes in particular—through our families. What is at stake? The reflection in our homes of a permanent, unconditional, unwavering principled love of God. That’s what is so serious. We fail in this, and the divine vision of love fails to reach the people who need it most.
In the story of the Passover we see the example of penultimate sophistication of God’s justice and mercy, destruction and protection, as it moves in and around families. (You can read the story in Exodus 11-13.) No simple tips for families facing that moment. Destruction would visit each household and claim the firstborn, with the exception of the homes at which specific instructions were followed. The Passover lamb, symbolizing the precious, innocent life of Christ, was to be sacrificed, and its blood spread along the tops and sides of each door frame. When mass destruction targeted that community, God saw the signal of the blood, and in His mercy went around, or skipped over, the homes under its protection (Exodus 12:13, 23).
This protection and Passover is not a one-time event, but both immediate and ultimate. In the short term, then, it signaled a willingness to hear, heed, and avoid tragedy. In the long term it symbolized the same on a transcendent scale, the ultimate rescue from the ultimate destruction under the cover of the blood of the Lamb. In the now, “We are the people spared; “the homes passed over are our homes. The God who acted is still saving and acting now” (Jon L. Dybdahl, Exodus, Abundant Life Bible Amplifier). Dare I suggest to you that if you follow God’s plan for your family—hear Him, and heed Him—He will protect you from threats within and without? Yes. Do you have fresh ideas or tips that are better?