Recently there was a community-wide garage sale at my apartment complex. I love garage sales. It gives me a chance to meet all kinds of people and find great deals on “junk.” But after this past week’s shopping experience, I was saddened. Not only because I missed out on a three-dollar shovel (someone beat me to it), but because I learned that many people were selling possessions that may have once belonged to their ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, or ex-spouses.
One lady was selling books about commitment and love. Curious, I started to browse through them. “Are you married?,” she asked. I said “no.” She quickly said, “Good, don’t ever get married, it’s much better to stay single.” The man next to her piped up with the same message: “Marriage can be a blessing, but only for a day or two — don’t do it!” I didn’t feel like asking for the details of their past relationships, so I walked away, wondering why they gave me such poor advice.
I have a feeling that our society of instant gratification has something to do with the broken relationships many have experienced. Never has it been so easy to satisfy our desires than in the twenty-first century. You can lose weight without exercising, feed your family without cooking, and shop without leaving your house. In general, it seems like you can do anything, see anything, and change anything you want in a matter of minutes without putting forth any hard work.
Once the idea of instant gratification is brought into other areas of our lives, like relationships, we might say something similar to the man I encountered at the garage sale. He was essentially saying, “I wanted a good marriage, and because it was not working out the way I wanted, I’m out; forget about the wedding vows.” I believe that the vows exchanged on a wedding day still actually mean something. The problem is that we rattle our tongues — making commitments and exchanging vows — forgetting the tremendous power the tongue possesses.
In James 3:8, we learn about the un-tameable tongue. James describes the tongue as an “unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” Nothing could be more deadly in a relationship than a tongue that says, “Till death do us part,” but without the actions to back it up. Make no mistake about it, to back up a commitment takes hard work, but Christians should take comfort in knowing they are pleasing their heavenly Father when they let their yes be yes and their no be no.