The family is one of the basic units of our world. Most people recognize the value of family, a group of people who are committed to each other and provide continual encouragement and strength that helps each other to survive the highs and lows in life. This is the way that God intended it (Genesis 2:24)!
Unfortunately, we recognize that the family is often undermined and pained by sin. What should be a safe haven of rest and encouragement often becomes a battleground and a source of suffering. Marriages fail in divorce, and children are left to pick up the pieces. Parents and children seem to be on different wavelengths, with strife as the result. Many experience the trials of single parenthood, striving to support the family and be the parent they know they should be. Aging parents and grandparents require greater care and attention, often becoming a strain on already stressed families.
The family’s importance is recognized, but families never seem to live up to their calling. What does God have to say about the family? What are we supposed to do?
God has provided instruction for people in every station of their lives. God commands children to honor their parents and to obey them (Ephesians 6:1-3). Wise is the child that heeds the instruction of his parents, both as a child and as an adult (Proverbs 1:8).
God finds no fault with people who remain single; in fact, single people are better able to fully devote themselves to the Lord, and are not hindered by trying to please their spouse (1 Corinthians 7:32-35). Yet, if people burn with desire, they are to marry (1 Corinthians 7:2, 9). God does not excuse or endorse fornication (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)!
God established marriage to be one man and one woman for life (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6). God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Divorce always indicates that sin is present, either because the divorce itself is sinful or because someone sinned by committing sexual immorality and was divorced for it (Matthew 5:32, 19:9). It is critical for people to recognize how important and significant the marriage commitment is, and to marry without even allowing the possibility of a later divorce to enter the mind!
God charges the husband with the responsibility to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25) and to be the main provider and head of the household (cf. Ephesians 5:23). The wife is to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ (Ephesians 5:22); she is to keep the home and to love the children (Titus 2:4-5). The father is the one charged with the responsibility to raise the children in the discipline and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), and the mother reinforces these teachings. In all things, the family is to look toward their own, and take care of all of its own needs whenever possible (1 Timothy 5:8, 16).
It is recognized that there are many in difficult circumstances and who may be a single or divorced parent, a family where both husband and wife must work to keep the family afloat, or who suffer other difficulties. God also recognized that people need more than just a physical family. This is why He established a greater family, the spiritual family of His people, the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). The spiritual family represents brothers and sisters in Christ who seek to build each other up and provide whatever encouragement is necessary (Hebrews 10:24-25, Galatians 6:1-2). Even if the physical family disowns you, the spiritual family will work to be there for you in your time of need (cf. Matthew 10:34-39). Families are indeed wonderful; that’s why God has created a spiritual family for all people who wish to lay down their burden of sin and who seek to find rest (Matthew 11:28-29). Become a part of that family today!