The family unit is the primary and most important social group in society. It is the first unit created by God, even before the church. (Genesis 4:1-2). “…Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table…” (Psalm 126:3).
Usually comprised of a father, mother, and children, or in some instances just a mother and children, or father and children, this unit is essential to productive living. Parents are the child’s first and most important teachers. We are the role models, the adults our children look up to and want to emulate.
The behaviors learned in the family unit have a bearing on how the children grow, how they will learn to interact with others, and how their behavior affects future relationships. This unit is the basis for which the child learns the foundation of building self-esteem, character, values, and good morals.
The parental role requires that we teach our children self-discipline and what their purpose is in life. Parental management of a household is reflected in children’s behaviors and self-control, or lack thereof. “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect” (1 Timothy 3:4).
Our responsibilities as parents are not only to teach our children self-respect, respect for others, and self-discipline, but also about salvation. Training our children in the way they should go extends to every aspect of their lives, but most importantly in building a relationship with Christ. If they atone for their sins and receive the baptism in Jesus’ name, they are guaranteed forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is promised to us and our children and our children’s children (Acts 2:38-39).
In married families, it is vital for the wife to respect her husband and for him to love his wife as he loves himself (Ephesians 5:33). Children learn honor and respect by watching the way their parents interact with one another. As your son or daughter see the reverence mom has for dad, and the love dad shows to mom, he/she learns to honor you as his/her parents. They also learn what to expect and not to expect in their own adult relationships.
Young girls learn what it means to be submissive as a wife and how her husband is to care for her. Young boys learn the importance of being a protector and provider for his family, and how to express his love for his wife. For we know that the Bible reads, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22). Wives, don’t let your husbands regret the choice he made, and husbands don’t cause her to question her decision in choosing to take your life as her own.
Expressing love to your children goes beyond providing for their physical and material needs. It includes loving and nurturing their spirits and souls. The family unit should never be divided in the paths they are taking in life. It is impossible for the family to survive and stand when they are divisive.
Choosing to worship at the same church together is imperative to ensure everyone receives the same spiritual nourishment. Worshiping at different houses or not at all can leave other members of the family spiritually weak, out of tune with one another, or in constant strife. “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
Every family is not in a place of harmony. Sometimes life's challenges, past mistakes, or lack of forgiveness can create discord among family members. It may be difficult for spouses to be on the same page spiritually. This can result from one or the other having been hurt by the actions of the church or even their own spouse.
If you find yourself at this juncture, continue serving the Lord with your whole heart. Don’t judge your spouse’s actions or behaviors, or belittle them. Rather, continue to set the example for your children and your spouse. This will teach your children how to live a godly life in the face of adversity. God will use any situation to turn things around in your favor.
Build a godly family by allowing your testimony to speak through your faithfulness and your worship for God.
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