Christian families have allowed themselves to be pulled in so many different directions with different activities and commitments that parents and children often pass each other coming and going. For single parents, the challenges of quality family time are even greater. Added to that are that many have aging parents who need special attention.
Often, the only moments family members have together is dinner time, and that’s even stretching it for many. Consequently, families often discover the only moments they are in the presence of one another or in close proximity for an extended period of time is usually when they are asleep under the same roof. So, by Saturday evening, many families are simply exhausted, and by the time Sunday morning rolls around, they may neglect to go to church and worship God.
This disarray of family is fueled by giving into the cultural lie that busyness equates to success. Opportunities for quality family time are often pushed aside in pursuit of more ‘things’ to do in order to be perceived as ‘successful.’ The result is family distractions and loss of the greater picture of what Christian family life is all about.
So, what is God’s plan for the family?
First of all, marriage – the covenantal relationship between the husband and wife before God – is a visible relationship for the lost world to observe. Christian marriage is a living example of the relationship between Christ and the believer. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Equally important, the wife is to submit to and respect her husband the same way the Church submits to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-33). In so doing, Christian spouses communicate the nature and person of God as they live out their commitment to Him.
The actions which take place in the marital relationship influence how the lost view God’s relationship with humanity. If Christian parents commit adultery or walk out on their spouse, then their children and a lost world are left with the impression that God is fickle and not trustworthy or true. Culture needs to see committed Christian marriages. Failed Christian marriages are a hindrance to the gospel message.
Marriage also represents a distinction between the sexes, male and female, for the purpose of indicating mankind’s distinction from God. Just as man is distinct from woman, so is mankind distinct from God. The male-female relationship is a picture of humanity’s quest for God who is uniquely distinct, or other than. The male-female marriage is complementary in nature. Both complement one another for God’s intended purposes—procreation included.
Same sex “marriage” is not authentic marriage as it perverts the distinction of the sexes and turns humanity toward itself as its own god. That is, homosexuality is essentially the sexual sin of self-seeking-self. This type of relational sin is the message of the politically correct pop culture that says you don’t need God; all you need is yourself. Christians are being unbiblical when they say they are personally opposed to homosexuality but think it’s morally permissible for others. These Christians are really saying they are OK with homosexuals denying God and seeking pleasure in self and going down a path of destruction. Homosexual “marriage” is a false view of marriage as it does not relay the picture of Christ and the church. Biblical marriage is a heterosexual, monogamous relationship for life.
Fathers need to be mindful of their daughters in how they treat their mother at home or in public. It is true that fathers greatly influence daughters in the type of husband they marry. Fathers should ask themselves, “Would I want my daughter to marry a man like me?” The same goes for the mother. She should ask herself, “Would I want my son to marry a woman like me?” How married couples carry themselves around their children influences future spousal expectations.
Parents also have a biblical mandate in how they are to relate to their children. Several passages speak to this, but Deut. 6:6-7 provides the foundation for all other principles in child rearing, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your 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.”
Parents are to biblically instruct their children, and they are also to be living examples of what it means to be a Christian (Rom 12:1). They are to let their actions speak for words as they “walk by the way” because believing one thing and doing another is useless (James 2:26).
Children not only learn from parents by how they treat each other but also from how they treat strangers and people they do business with. Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
Parents ought to be intentional in setting aside quality time together. This may look different for different families, but one thing is for sure – studying the Bible together, worshiping the Lord together, and praying together will create the proper biblical image of a family for a lost world to see.