Family: Why it is so Important? – Part 3
Family is the first and the only divine institution established before the fall of Man. As its origin is in the heart of God and got initiated by Him in the garden of Eden, we should maintain the sanctity of Family. When families fail, it is God who gets hurt the most.
Family is the functional unit of a society and begins from the Holy matrimony. Usefulness of any individual to the society, by and large would depend upon what he learns at home from his parents. Healthy and peaceful families alone can create a peaceful and crime free society. Psalmist in Psalm 128 describes the characteristics of a model God fearing family and concludes with peace upon Israel. If a society has God fearing families, it will usher in peace upon the nation. Most of the inmates in our prisons are from broken families. Prime reason even for the fall of mighty Roman Empire was broken families.
Family is important because of its origin.
God exemplified the importance of family by sending His beloved Son in to a family. Jesus Christ was born in the family of Mary and Joseph. He grew there like any Jewish boy under the care and discipline of His parents. He grew along with His brothers and sisters as in any family, experiencing sibling rivalry. As the eldest son in the family He worked as a Carpenter to support the family. For thirty years He remained with His family showing the importance of family relationship without joining any Jewish sect like Qumran or Essenes.
Family is important as it displays Agape Love
Secondly, families are to reflect God’s image: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.… So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
Each individual (as a male and as a female) is created in the image of God. However, a married Christian couple, as husband and wife has a unique capacity to reflect God’s image. When we recognize our purpose is to reflect the image of God, we see that we have an opportunity to be a witness to the lost world with our family life. World will know that we are His disciples if we manifest agape love in our relationship. (John 13:35)
God expects us to reflect the love relationship that exists within the God-head through our Christian family life. In God- head there exist three persons but in essence they are one and we call it Trinity. There is absolute harmony in their counsel and unity and love in their relationship. (Deut.6:4; Acts 2:23)
Jesus Christ is the beloved of the Father and the only begotten who is in His bosom (John1:18; Mat 3:17). God expects us to reflect that oneness and love in our marital relationship. Moreover He expects us to manifest the love of Jesus Christ for the Church through our family life. (Ep.5:25)
Marriages of Christian believers are only a shadow of the coming marriage of the Lamb of God. (Rev.19:7-9) Paul exhorts the saints to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. In short God expects families to display agape love or divine love; thus His image.
God designed families to carry out God’s eternal purposes.
Third reason for the importance of family: God designed the family to carry out his eternal plan and purposes in this world. So, it is important for us to transmit the spiritual heritage from one generation to another generation. Moses clearly instructed these things to the children of Israel. “These words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart and you shall teach them diligently to you children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deut.6:6-7)
Family prayer, in the morning and evening, is a regular feature of a God fearing Christian homes. In olden days they were considered as Bible teaching sessions. Father being the head of the family teaches the spiritual lessons to his children. Children get promotion without exams. Nowadays in many families these healthy practices are vanishing; divorces and family break ups are the external manifestations of this serious spiritual malady.
Four generation Strategy
Paul instructs Timothy, one of his spiritual sons to transmit the spiritual truths which he learned from him to the faithful ones who can teach others. Paul had a “four generation strategy” in communicating eternal plan and purposes of God.
Joel the prophet exhorts, to share God’s dealings with His people. “Tell you your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation”. Psalmist also narrates this “four generation strategy “. “I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come, the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he has done………which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children” Ps.78:2-7.
World renowned family counselor and author of many books on Family Dr. James Dobson in one of his books, *explains this four generation strategy from the history of his own family. Dr. James Dobson’s great grandfather constantly prayed for four generations and God answered his prayer. All his four generations inherited the spiritual heritage and James Dobson was belonging to that fourth generation. Dr. James Dobson and his wife Shirley similarly fasted and prayed for their Children one day in a week. God honored their prayer. Knowledge on parenting techniques is no guarantee that our Children will walk in the ways of God.The last exhortation of our Savior to the daughters of Jerusalem before the crucifixion,is to weep for their Children. With prayers and tears, let us pass on the spiritual baton from generation after generation; that is the ultimate purpose of Family.