Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Building Up a True Christian Family
This is the title of the talk we had last Sunday and we were blessed to have a wonderful speaker in the name of Mr. Biboy Morales, a close friend of Bro. Rollie, loving husband and father of two. He spoke about family life and his struggles in raising his own family especially that he has a son with Down's syndrome. I see in this man his eagerness to be the best husband and father that he could be. It was not so much of the talk that he gave that inspired me, but rather how he as a young Christian father is leading his family in how to live an authentic Christian family life. May God continue to bless, provide, and protect his family always.
God's Design for the Family
There is a war on the family today. Forces which are behind the war on the family include: 1) Concepts assumed on TV (sex without love, rebellion against authority, divorce and remarriage); 2) The cult of playboy; 3) The women's liberation movement; 4) The homosexual revolution; 5) Questionable medical advances (genetic engineering, artificial insemination, cloning, surrogate motherhood)
The "family" (in its true biblical sense) is "a unit comprised of persons who are related by blood, by marriage, or by adoption -- with a male father and a female mother who have made a binding commitment for life." This rules out saying that a fellow and a girl temporarily living together until one partner tires of the other is a "family." It does not allow two lesbian females who adopt children and live together under the same roof to be called a "family." From God's point of view (as revealed in His Word), a good family unit consists of a dynamic leader for a father, a self-sacrificing mother, and cooperative children who respect their parents.
Marriage is not a custom that gradually came to be accepted during early human history. The family as an institution was originated by God at the time of the beginning of the human race. Marriage is a God-appointed relationship. Genesis 2:24 is a key passage that describes the divine origin of marriage. God says, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh." Notice some conclusions drawn from Genesis 2:24.
1) A lifetime binding commitment -- "cleave" is a word that speaks of a strong binding glue like the epoxy glues that cannot be broken.
2) Establishes a separate unit -- "leave" means "to abandon the former relationship" not in the sense of dishonor but in the sense of establishing a new entity.
3) No homosexual marriages -- the passage is given in the context of a man and a woman (Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve).
The Importance of Strong Family Bonds
As a potter molds clay to form a beautiful creation, so does the strong bond of family and good values. Family bonds are a link to our beginning and a guide to our future. Early influences are fundamental to our individual development.
We all want to "belong" and feel accepted. A sense of belonging is derived from the strong bond of family. Family is where our roots take hold and from there we grow. We are molded within a unit, which prepares us for what we will experience in the world and how we react to those experiences. Values are taught at an early age and are carried with us throughout our life.
A close family bond is like a safe harbor where we find refuge. From trusting that someone will pick us up when we fall, as a toddler, to someone being there for us as we experience the storms in life - family bonds help to instill trust and hope in the world around us and belief in ourselves. Rituals of bedtime stories, hugs, holidays and daily meals shared together, provide a sense of warmth, structure and safety. These rituals and traditions, not only create memories and leave a family legacy, but create our first path in life - one that is positive.
Our very spirit can either blossom or wither within the family unit. When we don't have the security and influence of strong family bonds early in life, the ground work is laid for an emptiness, that is often sought to be filled, through destructive venues. If one isn't loved as a child, they may later seek love and acceptance in a way that brings them harm. There is a deep yearning to fill that hollowness, residing in the heart and soul, from never knowing what it's like to be loved, accepted and appreciated for "being".
There can be long-term effects from living in a detached or dysfunctional family. The cycle is often repeated through generations. Children often grow up believing this dysfunctional unit is normal and they may gravitate toward people and situations that mimic the dysfunction they were accustomed to. A healthy relationship won't be easily recognized because it's foreign to someone who hasn't lived within a close and loving family. Often drug and alcohol abuse or domestic violence is repeated, whether by a learned behavior or an escape from behavior that was poured upon an innocent child.
A child may have poor self-image, isolating themselves from peers at school or holding anger and pain inside. This not only affects the emotional well-being, but also physical well-being. The poor self-image may be with them throughout life, causing an inability to make positive choices or be close to others. It's hard to succeed in life when the core of your being has never been nurtured. Healthy development begins before we are born by the choice parents make for the path their children will follow.
Strengthening the Family
An action formula for strengthening your family can be summarized in these five steps:
1. Develop the art of expressing sincere appreciation to your spouse and children. Concentrate on their individual strengths.
William James, one of the greatest psychologists America has ever produced, once wrote a book about human needs. Some years later, he commented that he failed to include the most important need of all - the need to be appreciated. We like to be around people who show us appreciation. Yet, how often we fail to express appreciation to our spouses and children. One study showed that only 20 percent of a family's time was spent in having fun or saying nice things to each other. To change this, a family must begin to look for each other's strengths. Try not to miss an opportunity to give each other a sincere compliment. It is important to let others know, "You are important to me I care about you . . . You have many contributions to offer to the world".
An outstanding example of the expression of appreciation is found in the Apostle Paul's letter to the Thessalonians. The first chapter of I Thessalonians is a hymn of praise and thanksgiving for the faith, love and. steadfastness of the Thessalonians. Paul certainly expressed his appreciation for these members of the family of God.
2. Arrange to spend more time with your family. Plan more family activities that all find enjoyable. Learn to say "no" to outside demands which aren't really that important anyway.
An outstanding characteristic of strong families is the great amount of time they spend together. They work and play together. They enjoy being together, even if they are not doing anything in particular. Life today has become very much a "rat race". Family living can be improved by not allowing our lives to become overly fragmented. Strong families intentionally cut down on the number of outside activities and involvement's in order to minimize fragmentation of their family life. When you find yourself becoming so busy that you are not spending time with your family, it is time to look at what you're doing that's taking you away from your family. You may find that some of those involvement's are not so important after all. Try to keep your family "number one" in terms of how you spend your time.
3. Open the communication channels. Take time to talk with each other often and be a good listener.
Strong families spend a lot of time in family discussion and in talking out problems as they come up. There are quarrels in every family, but by getting things out in the open and talking about them, the problem can usually be identified and the best alternative for resolving the conflict can be chosen. Successful marriage and family relationships are characterized by positive, open channels of communication. It is not just communication per se which contributes to the strength of a family, but communication of a positive nature, marked by a frequent expression of appreciation toward each other.
4. Explore ways that spiritual strength might be added to your family life. Participating in church activities as a family, reading religious materials and family devotionals are only a few of the ways this might be accomplished.
In addition to attending church as a family, the members pray together and read the Bible and other inspirational books together. The role that religion plays in strengthening families is much more than simply participating in religious activities. It is the knowledge that God is with you every day and is directing your life. Knowing God cares, is the greatest friend you have, and has a purpose for your life is a great comfort. The awareness of God's love makes the family more tolerant and forgiving.
5. Build a high degree of commitment toward your family. Make family life your number one priority. Invest your time and energy into the relationships with your spouse and children. The result can, and will be a stronger, more fulfilling family life.
Christianity emphasizes values such as commitment, respect, and responsibilities for the needs and welfare of others. These values contribute to good interpersonal and family relationships.
A strong family is committed to helping and making each other happy. Their actions are geared toward promoting each other's welfare. Time and energy are invested in the family. Individual goals are frequently sacrificed for the welfare of the family.
The Interactive Bible
Brethren Revival Fellowship