Failed marriages, broken families a national crisis: Lawrence Khong at PraySingapore
Joanne Kwok // October 7, 2018, 11:10 pm
Hundreds of married couples renewed their vows at PraySingapore, October 7, 2018. All photos by Thir.st.
“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:7)
“What does it mean to seek the welfare of a nation? God’s manifesto in Jeremiah 29 is clear and compelling: It is about family, foundation and future,” said Senior Pastor Lawrence Khong of Faith Community Baptist Church at PraySingapore on October 7, 2018.
“People are our precious assets, but we are losing people rapidly. The diaspora is growing – about 6% of our population lives overseas, higher than most developed nations. And Singapore will decline if the people do not value her, and only treat her as a stepping stone for our own benefit, before we migrate elsewhere to seek our own fortune.”
Pastor Khong told the tens of thousands of Christians gathered at the Singapore Sports Hub: “Singapore needs sons and daughters who are passionate about the country. Sons and daughters with a deep sense of belonging. Who will sink roots, settle down and form families. Because this is where our inheritance is.”
Referencing Jeremiah 29:5-6, he urged the younger ones to “build houses and settle down”, “marry and have sons and daughters” and “increase in numbers there; do not decrease”.
Not fruitful enough?
We are not only losing people to other nations, Singapore also faces a “national crisis” of falling birthrates and rising abortion rates, Pastor Khong shared.
And the Church has contributed to this problem, he said. “By choice, more are choosing not to have children. For many, career comes first. Couples are not being fruitful and multiplying.”
He noted that Singapore has one of the most liberal abortion laws in the world, with abortions allowed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. There is no minimum age for an abortion here, while parental consent is not needed for those under 16 seeking to have one. Half of abortions in Singapore involve married women.
“We cannot shrug our shoulders and brush off these issues without conscience,” Pastor Khong declared.
“We have to obey God’s laws and say we will sink our roots. We have to humble ourselves, own up to the fact that we fail Him when we fail our nation.”
He added: “As marriage goes, so goes the family. As family goes, so goes the nation. Singapore fares badly on the state of marriage. We face the painful reality of broken, failed marriages. Our heart breaks as we see the weakening sense of duty to be faithful in our marriage. Adultery no longer shocks us.”
God, the rebuilder of broken homes
But God, the founder of marriage, is also the restorer of marriage, said Pastor Khong, as he introduced David and Jay Chong, ministry staff at Covenant Evangelical Free Church, to the stage.
The pair shared their story of how God saved their marriage – even after divorce. Their marriage fell apart due to adultery, but after they both came back to Christ, they felt led to marry each other again. Today, they are more in love than they have ever been.
“May our journey in marriage be a witness and a wonder for the glory of God.”
“This covenant we make is with God, not just with each other,” Jay said through tears.
“No marriage is perfect because we’re imperfect – but no broken marriage is beyond repair. No matter what issue you’re wrestling with, the presence of God can pull down every wall of division today.”
PraySingapore took a poignant turn as hundreds of married couples dressed in white – many seated with their children and even grandchildren at the front of the stadium – rededicated their marriages to God.
Together with his wife Nina, Pastor Khong led those standing in renewing their wedding vows.
“When you renew your vows, God is going to renew your heart,” he said.
“May our marriage reflect Christ’s redeeming love all the days of our lives. May our journey be a witness and a wonder for the glory of God.”