Most people have heard that in the United States, 50% of marriages end in divorce. This is true inside and outside the church, unfortunately. The New York Times reports that most births for women under 30 occur outside of marriage. Our colleagues in Spain tell us that Spanish culture is different. Only about 5% of children are born outside of wedlock in Spain, and the divorce rate is just 17%.
Maybe these facts surprise you. They sort of surprise us! We have mentioned before that in Spain less than 1% of the population is evangelical, Bible believing Christian. Certainly there is evidence of a lack of moral compass in Spanish culture, but, for whatever reasons, marriage and family are held in higher esteem. I think we can really learn something even more important from this though. Sin exists everywhere. I know that isn’t any ground breaking fact for most people to read, but let me continue. Every culture and nation has its own set of weaknesses that it deals with, the United States included (especially?). Again, I don’t think that is groundbreaking news for anyone.
I want to highlight this information mainly to show that spirituality, or lack thereof, can’t really be judged based on statistical figures and behavioral trends. It isn’t about whether sin is constantly highlighted in a culture, but about whether people have a relationship with Jesus Christ. The means we have to judge whether or not a person needs Jesus is based on their profession of faith to us, not what or how many “bad” things they do.
We certainly should be seeing a difference between those who proclaim the name of Jesus and those who don’t and perhaps this highlights a misstep in discipleship within the church more than anything else. If these facts bother you, praise God! He has shown you a need! Seek out and begin to disciple someone young in their relationship with the Lord. If you are a parent, make sure you have regular disciple time with your kids.
Currently in the Pacific Northwest only 3% of the population proclaims Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Reaching people for Christ and taking the time to disciple them is the only way to keep the US from being fewer than 1% as Spain is today. Let’s all take our missionary calling seriously and begin sharing boldly with those around us. That is one of the best ways to encourage your overseas missionaries as well!