The importance of families
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Image © Sally Weimer from GoodSalt.com

“Be very careful, then, how you live— not as unwise but as wise,” Ephesians 5:15, NIV”

It has often been said that the first four of the Ten Commandments is about honoring God, and the last six are about honoring others. How interesting then that right at the head of the last six God places family. Family is meant for a blessing and God associates well-functioning families with long life. That is because family members are capable of caring for one another in a way that strangers do not. A strong family can handle outside pressures and stresses that would crush individuals.

The Devil knows this is the case. As a result, he targets families for special attention.  In many cases, families that should be safe harbors are battlegrounds of neglect, disrespect and abuse. The cycle begins with a slight or abuse either real or imagined by one family member, then in retaliation, other family members quickly choose up sides. When the lines are drawn and parties defined, Satan can easily step into the division and tear the family apart. Like World War I, families become separated by “no man’s lands” with little to no communication across the divides.

The assault against families has spanned the ages. Even in the time of Jesus, it was true. Sadly, even the church was involved.  According to the Gospels, the church had determined that if you were serving the church, it was acceptable to neglect your family.  “For God said, ‘Honour your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’  But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ he is not to ‘honour his father’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” Matthew 15:4-6, NIV

Behind the false facade of religious piety, lay hidden areas of neglect and abuse. Where a family member might normally expect compassion and support, he or she found only emptiness.  The church too often taught that this is allowed as long as the church was advanced. This was true in Jesus’ day. It is also true today. Family members continue to face neglect and loneliness over misguided piety.

In November, 2010, a reader wrote to the online journal, The Standard: “My wife is born-again but her behaviour in the last few years is offending me. She rarely has time for the children and I as she’s always away on all weekends attending to this or the other church matter. She has church responsibilities literally every day. I have complained to the church leadership but received no response. She rarely sees the children, which has forced me to play the role of father and mother. We no longer make love since she is either on her periods, fasting or thinking about church matters. Is this okay or common with others? What would you do if you were in my place?”

You see, it is not only the misdirection of one’s wealth that can be considered neglect. It can also be the misdirection of one’s time and energy. We have an obligation to others and above all to our families. Should we save the world and find our families shipwrecked in the end? A balanced approach would place value on both the church and the family.  God created men and women to be intimate in the marriage union. He created men and women to nurture and raise up children who love God. He created children to be the support and stay of their parents in their elder years.

Paul wrote to the Roman church, “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Romans 13:7, NIV  We too often find it easier to pay tribute (taxes) than to pay honor.  Perhaps because we have more respect for the strong arm of the law, than for the needs of our families. This is not how God wants it to be.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no-one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—” Ephesians 5:28-29, NIV This verse applies equally to husband and wife. We are to care for one another as we would care for our own bodies.  Notice also that the verse does not subordinate one’s care of their spouse to care for the church. We are told “just as Christ does the church.” In other words, our love for our spouse should be the same as the love Christ holds for the church.  If we say the work of the church is more important, we are misguided.

The greatest witness is not that of telling a stranger about Jesus. It is about the loving touch when a family member is dealing with severe trial or sickness. There is more Gospel in that touch than in all the correct doctrine one could preach in a lifetime. Neglect of family is never excused in any case, and certainly never by church activity.

Far too many are leading lives of quite desperation, trapped in relationships with those who use the church to escape genuine intimacy. For the non-Christian, divorce is an obvious escape from that loneliness. But for the Christian, whose only ground for divorce may be adultery, there is no easy out.  This is especially true if the church leadership holds the spouse up as a paragon of virtue, a real “worker for the Lord.”  To divorce someone placed on such a lofty pedestal is to incur the disdain of the church. In the end, these individuals either must divorce and leave the church under a cloud while the “saintly” spouse remains, or they must suffer silently, never able to share the heartache they live with daily.

If we are to see our families in the kingdom, we must dedicate equal resources of wealth, time and energy to our families. We cannot neglect them. I do not want to stand before God one day with the people I have brought to Jesus and have Him ask me, “But where is your child? Where is your spouse? Where is your mother and father?”

Do you?

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The importance of families — 19 Comments

  1. This was truly a blessing! Thanks for this word of encouragement. If everyone could win their family members to Christ, the work would be a whole lot less.

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  2. Many times individuals get caught up with doing good for others as a way out of dealing with their own personal issues, some how they need to be redirected. My only answers are prayer, communiation, and love. Start with prayer!!!!

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  3. I have observed that there are more single mature people than married folks and single-household family units in many churches that I have been too, since family is so important, why do you think that is?

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  4. This is amazing and I have prepared a power-point presentation titled God's First Ever Anointed Church and the subject relatively relates to this The Importance of Family, and we should all put this in mind, that there was no denominational church in the garden of Eden, it was the family, Adam & Eve, their family was God's First Ever Anointed Church, so bear in mind people, that Family being subject to God is restoring God's anointing at all times.

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  5. This post today is so timely. God wants us to minister to others, but we need to do so in a balanced way. Balance is critical for the strength of our families, but also for health and peace of mind as well.

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  6. I came to this sight to do my ss lesson and what a blessing to find this article. This message was beautiful and just what I need. I needed to hear and make changes in my personal life as a church leader. Thank you so timely. It's not easy raising kids in this society and culture. My challenge is in my nucleus family we are trying to raise the kids God fearing but the extended is not God fearing. You try to raise the kids godly but there is no reinforcement from other family members at least on my family side.

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  7. I read this post with tears in my eyes, I am mourning for my family now. I had two children with a non Adventist man.Who has left the raising of the family to me in every way. No financial, emotional,or spiritual support.My children are now young adults 17(daughter) and 20(son). My son is near impossible to deal with, he is critical,negative and disrespectful.
    He is going to college, and although the semester finish from May I still don't know his results. He was raised in the church and he still attends on and off. My concern is that he says he dont have a reason to live, sometimes he says that he will sell drugs. I feel he is toying with the devil. My husband has two children with other women and we are still married. I have been trying to obtain a divorce, but I am concern about my son. I know he needs help, please join me in praying for him.
    thank you.

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    • Let us praise God not only when we are overjoyed, continue praising God even when are in sorrow or mourning or in sadness or even when you have that guilt of sin. I know it is not easy to go through such emotions and to fully rely on God at those moments of time but the failures and discouragement is there not to let us down, it is there to promote you and to refine you and me to become pure gold....needed in the perfection of the commitment unto the work of the Lord.
      Do not worry about your children, they are there for you to grow from strength to strength, and so as your husband, the devil is just good in deceiving, convincing and condemning, if he gets you on one of those he will continue to mess us up completely, that is Jesus is there for us and what Jesus wants is for you and I to keep our eyes, mind and soul unto him at all times. May God bless you.

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    • Lillieth, your situation will certainly be in our prayers. We will pray that your son will become all that God intended him to be. Remember that the story of his life isn't over yet. God can accomplish what seems to us to be impossible.

      "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy." Psalm 126:5, NIV

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    • Oh my! Lillieth you are not alone. I grew up in a similar situation. As a child, my mother was a rare churchgoer and not a baptized Adventist. My father believed in God but never went to church. My parents lived together but were never married (thank God) and my father also had children with other women. I was forced to go to church with my great-grandmother (I didn't see why I should go when no one else in my family was going) until I came to have my own reasons for going to church. Like your son, my brother (20) also has 'issues', and he rarely acts and speaks as if he trusts and believes in God but more often as if he doesn't. He is asking basic questions about our family's faith that he would have been able to answer had he gone to church with me as a child.

      My Mom eventually separated from my father, got baptized, and met and married a man who has been an Elder in the church for years - but he seems to be less spiritually developed than she is.

      I myself just came out of a relationship with a great guy, lovely inside and out; respectful, kind and loving toward me; financially well-off and responsible, very accomplished with a bright future ahead of him, brilliant, honest, just and full of integrity - yet he did not believe in God. I greatly feared situations such as yours and the one that I grew up in, so I couldn't stay with him. We both sorrowfully decided that though we both wanted to be with each other very much, it is best if we remained friends at this point in time, rather than forcing a relationship and ending up in a bitter and unsatisfying marriage (whenever I imagined our wedding day I felt sad).

      I will pray for your son, my brother, your daughter, myself, my mother, my father, my mother's husband, your husband, my best friend and ex-boyfriend, and you - Lillieth.

      God bless us all.

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    • I feel your pain sister, my children were raised in the church, and one decided that she did not want to live the christian life because of the restrictions. Her bad decisions were very painful for us, it was a very difficult journey. This is the time that you really need to focus on the word of God and his promises. He said for you to raise up your children in the way that they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it. It appears that you did your end of the bargain, now God will do his. You just have to remember that his time is not your time. His word will not return to him void. The Bible is so wonderful because the very 2nd story in the Bible talks about God and his kids. They were in the perfect environment, had the perfect parent, great relationship with their father, and yet 2/2 of his kids made bad decisions and we are still suffering from their decisions today. Jesus said in John 16:33, that in this world we will have trials and tribulations, but no worries he overcame the world. What I learned through my struggles is that all of us will have major drama to deal with, God has given the ok for you and I to have this trial, but he has provided a way for us to escape. He will be with us in this fire. Your focus need to be to actively pursue him and get to really know him on a deeper level. Talk to other people who has gone through it ahead of you. He will give you peace in the middle of your storm, and he will also reveal some things about himself to you. We will keep each other in prayer. Be blessed today.

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  8. In where I stay women are obsessed with over night prayers as they leave their husbands and children to stay alone in the house. This I feel is not correct considering how important is mother's role in the family especially with kids

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  9. Profound. Accurate.
    In a marriage where spouses have different religous backgrounds and beliefs it is indeed difficult to stay off the battle ground when one is openly belittled or beliefs denigrated in front of family.
    Prayer and focus on what might be a 'mission ground' Christ has provided are the few respites.
    Never before have the cautionary words warning of becoming 'unequally yoked' held such meaning.
    No, I do not wish to stand alone in front of Jesus, bearing witness to having failed my family.

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  10. Lillieth,

    In dealing with young males, working in the system and the knowledge God has blessed me with, the one thing I do know, is your son is crying out and no one is listening. Instead he is being met with opposition because of his behavior, I encourage you to look past his behavior and seek to know his heart. I do not want to stereotype so I will say USUALLY, when young men act in such a way it's because a father was not present EMOTIONALLY and the mother did not allow him to have a voice, be it because she was dealing with her own demons, working a lot to make ends meet, had multiple children etc, whatever the case, he was pushed to the side and now this is the results of the wounds from his childhood. You can pray but you have to be active, God does not want you to stay on your knees about this, he wants you to go "save" your son and trust him to give you the tools to do so. Yes, there are times where parents have no choice but to stay on their (our) knees, but this is not one. My suggestion would be to stop discussing with hi. Everything he is doing wrong and encourage him about what he is doing right. Start listening to him and do less talking, get to the core of how he feels, I can guarantee you that he does not like himself or see value in himself, you must let him know he has a greater purpose, help him find the road to that purpose. He has to know that he has what it takes, men are fueled by the validation of knowing they are man enough, they have what it takes, to accomplish what's in their hearts. I would reach out to Eric Thomas, if you you tube, or google, etthehiphoppreacher, you will find videos which have changed and transformed young mens life. You must give him options. I'm sure you have done your best, parenting is very hard and at times I feel like my boys need more then what I've given them, but you can make a difference in his life, God expects you to. Blessings to you my sister in Christ. PRAY &PROCEED!

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  11. I think love of family is great and with God in the vessel families can live happier lives and there would be less seperations, divorce and abuse.
    I trust we continue to pray for families and for those who are not fortunate to have loving families

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  12. After reading Psalms 119, I asked the Lord last night to show me the wondrous things in his laws. Psa119:18 - ''Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.'' I popped into the SSNET today, and I know that this is one of the many wondorous things the Lord has put in his laws, families. My sympathy and prayer goes to the families of those adventists brothere and sisters out there who are facing barriers and obstacles in their families. Our God is Great, He is Wonderful. Nothing is too big or too small for Him. Remember He created the heavens and the earth and the fountains of water and He rested on the Sabbath day as a sign to his people. WE ARE HIS.

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    • Thanks for your comments!
      May God bless SSNET for this forum,
      Yes, there "wondrous things" out of the law of our God,
      If you want to understant the intensity of sin in our life, look at the law of God, if we want to know how much it costed our Lord to die in our place, go into the law of God, if we want to know how much God loves us, we need to contemplate more of His law. When I read my bible in the book of Isaiah 51:1 part b "Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn" To me the law to be wondrous is when it addresses my weakness and direct me towards the pool of salvation, to my saviour, thanks!

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  13. please give me texts on wife and husband relationship. such as the one that say: husbands love your wives.......

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