No. 810



Are you a believer? Your answer to this question would logically be: a believer in what? There are myriads of things one can believe in, but for my purposes here, I would like to focus on just two.
First, when I could see gas prices going to $4 per gallon and beyond, I decided to buy one of those little Smart Cars made in France by Mercedes. It was reported they were getting more than 40 miles per gallon and the price was very reasonable. I knew the quality had to be excellent if the car was made by Mercedes and they advertised something called a “safety cell” where passengers were actually housed inside a rigid steel cage, and crash ratings were very high when compared to other vehicles.
Soon after I bought the car, I began to take a lot of good-natured kidding from many of my friends. A couple of favorite questions were: where is the other half of the car and do you have to peddle it? Well, Viola was out in the Smart Car a few weeks ago and pulled out in front of another car and was hit almost head-on. She called me on her cell phone and told me she had a wreck. When I got there, the front end of the car was gone -- it was totaled -- but she was inside that “safety cell” with only a minor scratch. She could have been seriously hurt or even killed. The police officer and other emergency personnel who worked the wreck could not believe it.
Needless to say, I am a believer. While in a completely different realm, there is another area where many people are completely wrong when it comes to perception. This is the area of Christian divorce rates. While we know the divorce rate in our nation is more than 50 percent, and sadly many couples are living together without being married, which keeps the numbers from being even higher. In today’s culture, it is often stated that the divorce rate among Christians is just as high as non-Christians. In fact I have been guilty of saying this myself. My thinking was drastically changed when I read an article by Glenn T. Stanton of Colorado Springs, Colo., director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family.
Mr. Stanton has done considerable research and quotes a number of leading authorities in this field, including W. Bradford Wilcox, a leading sociologist at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project. He has found from his own analysis that “active conservative Protestants” who regularly attend church are 35 percent less likely to divorce compared to those who have no affiliation.
The reason I am sharing this is simple. The perception we hold of something, like those who kidded me about my Smart Car, may not be true based on the facts. For many years, like millions of others, I was a church member, but sitting in church every week does not make one a Christian.
Here is why I would like to set the record straight. When we say the divorce rate among Christians is no different than non-believers, what we are actually saying is that a belief in Jesus Christ, and striving to live a Christ-centered life, does not make any difference. Believe me, it does. While this is a deeply personal thing and I am certainly not preaching to you, like our experience with the Smart Car, we are believers because we have experienced it first hand. To be sure, perception is a very powerful thing because many of our decisions are based on what we perceive. Let’s seek the truth, as this is the only thing that will stand.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit www.bookcaseforeverychild.com. You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)