The Family’s influence touches everyone
“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”
“Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you – they are your life.”
Of all the domains in the Kingdom of God, family is probably the most discussed and studied by Christians. We base political platforms on “family values,” and yet the divorce rate continues to climb…50 percent, verging on 60 percent in some regions, with no significant difference between the Christian and non-Christian population. Why? Can the power of God save our souls but not restore our families?
Over this last decade of coloring the scriptures by domains in order to understand God’s thinking in every arena of life, nothing has more impacted my thinking than God’s view of family, its influence, and its role in community at large. I do not have one key scripture to study here, but thousands address marriage, children, in-laws, conflicts, sexual conduct, inheritance laws, family and finance, family and justice, education and much, much more.
We Learn 80 Percent Of What We Know In The Home
Like communication and education, the domain of family provides the warp to the government’s and church’s weave. Family’s influence touches everyone and everything. It is said that by the time we are four we will have learned/established 80 percent of our view of life. By the time we enter school we know whether we are good or bad, whether the world is safe or dangerous, whether we are bright or stupid and whether other people are to be feared or trusted. We have learned a life strategy of asking questions or building defenses. We already know whether challenges are exciting or dangerous. Uninterrupted, we will continue to evaluate all of life and the world we live in through that grid of reality. In our modern Christian terminology you could say that we have most of our worldview in place before we ever leave home for school. To say it another way, in our first four years of life, parents and the home environment will give us the definition of reality that we’ll use all our lives.
An impressive example of the power of that home influence is the cultural landscape of New Zealand. This small island nation’s population is divided between indigenous Maori peoples and immigrant Europeans. In many ways, New Zealand’s daily life is integrated in schools, shops, transportation, news and mass media and entertainment, dress, and sports. However, the worldview/culture of the Maori and European in New Zealand are as different as if they still lived nearly half a world apart. How can this be? Where are these values and views of reality learned? In the home! From the family! With almost no intentionality.
In an age when we focus on almost everything but the family – movies, T.V., music, school, friends – God puts His sights directly on the family as the most important influence in society. The biblical overview leaves you with an overwhelming sense that, for God, family is sacred and the most important building block of all He has created. The family is responsible for His most cherished of all attributes: Love! No wonder the distortion in this domain is so great.
Song Of Songs
Few topics get an entire book in scripture; love and the anticipation of marriage is one exception. When God highlights something with such attention we should do the same. Song of Songs celebrates the exhilarating highs and lows of emotional love and the anticipation of its physical expression in marriage. In a day when Christians are viewed as having a diminished view of sex, God clearly thinks it is a good idea. The Song of Songs is a celebration of the joy, comfort and pleasure of marriage. It is not only celebrated by the bride and groom, but by their friends and the community at large. The message could not be clearer on God’s side: Love is good. Marriage is good. Sex is good. And family is good.
Genesis chapters one and two set the stage for the importance of men and women working together. God says that it takes both the male and female to reveal the image of God and that He blessed “them” and family as His primary strategies for filling the earth with the revelation of Himself.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.
By chapter three we can see that the enemy of God has another plan which results, first of all, in a separation of God and man and, secondly, in hostility and distrust between man and woman. The devastating results can still be seen today as God’s sacred creation of family remains a primary battleground in every society in the world. Divorced men are eight times more likely to suffer mental illness. Broken homes produce greater numbers of sociopaths with little, if any, regard for community. Financial ruin and poverty follow divorce and the next generation is maimed before they ever have a chance at life. That’s the bad news about family. What’s the good news? What was God’s intent in creation?
As we move through Genesis, we see that God highlights the origins of the cosmos, the individual, family, tribes, and finally, the origins of nations. Our Western syncretism of the idol of individualism has nearly blinded our biblical scholarship to the importance of the family and community unit. Most of God’s attributes cannot be seen or taught in isolation. The idea that living completely alone would be paradise seems idyllic, but it is sterile. You cannot express love, justice, relationship, generosity, and wisdom alone on an island. God’s most wonderful ideas and characteristics are revealed in how we live together and we begin learning of all these attributes in our family.
Family: The Root Of All Culture
As we follow the development of man through the Genesis narrative we see that individual traits become multiplied and strengthened in families. Then, as families grow, those same traits become amplified into cultural, tribal, and finally, national traits. Take, for example, Abraham’s tendency to be manipulative, and sometimes actually dishonest, especially when it came to women in the family. In Genesis chapter 12, Abraham deceives the pharaoh about the nature of his relationship with Sarah in order to protect himself. In spite of God’s promises in chapter 15, Abraham allows himself to be talked into seeking an heir through a concubine and so begins the story of Ishmael and his descendants (Chapter 16). In chapter 20, Abraham is again faced with danger and lies to Abimelech about his wife. Isaac is born and marries Rebekah and carries on the family trait in chapter 26, again lying about the nature of his relationship with his wife in order to protect himself from danger. Jacob enters the picture and, with the help of his mother, deceives Isaac as to his identity in order to steal Esau’s blessing. Fleeing, Jacob goes to his family in Paddan Aram and meets his match in his uncle and future father-in-law, Laban. These two spend twenty-one years trying to get the better of each other over the issue of Rachel. Are you beginning to see the pattern and escalation? As Jacob flees Laban and resettles his small tribe in Shechem, personal character flaws, which have grown into destructive family patterns, explode into tribal disaster. In chapter 34 Jacob’s daughter is violated by the Prince of Shechem who is remorseful and actually loves and is loved by Dinah. Jacob’s sons, in the name of family honor and in order to obtain the wealth of the Schechemite tribe, deceived and then murdered every male in the Shechemite tribe.
A character trait has run its full course into cultural identity and ends in genocide. This trait of treachery turns in on the family and Joseph, taking Israel into Egypt and 400 years of exile and slavery. Joseph, on the other hand, is given opportunity to respond in deceit when he is unjustly abused by Potiphar and his wife, the cup bearer, the baker, and finally, with great temptation, his own brothers. But he refuses to deceive and is used of God to save his family, his tribe, and his host nation from great famine. Of course God is teaching us many things in Genesis, but certainly one of the major themes is the influence of individuals on families, families on communities, and finally, communities on tribes. Discipling nations begins in the home!
Family: First Line Of Defense – Values (Education)
One of the first things that struck me in the study of family was the emphasis given to time together with parents and children and how that time was to be used. Over and over again you will read phrases like: “when you walk, lie down, get up,”1 “when you sit”,2 “write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”3 These are instructions for parents in teaching their children God’s thoughts on all of life, and modeling how these principles are lived out in daily life. Not only is parental responsibility and authority reinforced in scripture, but government or church involvement in the primary discipleship of children is almost completely absent.
We hear great complaint about our schools, our churches, and our entertainment industry’s lack of responsibility to give children good values, but God puts the greatest weight of responsibility on the parents. I do not want to argue for immorality, violence, and drugs. However, when we blame the gun, the entertainment industry, the government, the schools, and the streets for children’s problems, we are not focusing on what God focuses on. In essence we are saying, “Make the world safe so that my child will be safe.” This is far from the biblical view of reality. God says, “In order for your children to be safe in an unsafe world, teach and model what they need to know and understand. Sin is real and we are surrounded by destruction. Teach your children to choose good over evil!”
Scripture assumes that this will take time and that parents and children are doing things together and using opportunities to discuss how God’s view of reality relates to our everyday living. Can we really expect children to take these values seriously if they do not see them modeled and revered in their parents’ lives? By the time they go to school, children know from the way their parents have lived whether honesty, justice, integrity, courage, and other character traits are important or not. Of course school, teachers, pastors, Sunday School, friends and culture can have a dramatic impact, but the home is still the formative influence and, in God’s eyes, clearly the most important. It is the grid of reality the child will use to interpret all other influences in life.
Family: First Line Of Defense – Morality
If we would just obey one of God’s ten commandments, “You shall not commit adultery”4 we would virtually eliminate:
- Incest: In some areas of South Africa incest accounts for 70 per cent of all sexual abuse cases.5
- Pedophilia: An estimated ten million are involved in exploitation for profit of children.6
- Abortion: 77 percent of abortions in England and Wales in 2004 of single women.7
- Sexually transmitted diseases: Syphilis is up 1500 percent in the UK and rising.8
- Rape: Over one quarter of all rapes in the UK are committed against children under 16 years of age.9
Overwhelming, isn’t it? Today we, Christians included, seem to be shocked by sexual immorality. In the Bible, God seems to take it for granted. Undeterred, scripture teaches that human beings will have sex with just about anyone and anything. How else do we explain the long lists in Deuteronomy and Leviticus on who (and what) not to have sex with? Somewhere we’ve picked up the idea that sexual morality is the norm and deviance is the exception. God seems to think otherwise in both the Old and New Testament.
Look at just this one chapter:
5 Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the LORD.
6 “No-one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations.
I am the LORD.
7 “Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.
8 “Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.
9 “Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.
10 “Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you.
11 “Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister.
12 “Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative.
13 “Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s close relative.
14 “Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.
15 “Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her.
16 “Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother.
17 “Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.
18 “Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.
19 “Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.
20 “Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her.
21 “Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD. “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
23 “Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.
24 “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled.”
God could have saved an enormous amount of time by just shortening this to “don’t have sex with anyone but your spouse.” But God is defining what He means by the word adultery and He is emphasizing the destruction of immorality, especially in the family. We must not think this means sexuality outside the family is not a sin, but God is stressing that sexual immorality within the family has multiple victims – the two engaged in sexual conduct, and the families that surround them.
Today, we in the religious community, seem to highlight the destructiveness of prostitution and homosexuality while virtually ignoring marital adultery, sexual abuse, and incest, which are all rampant. I have never heard a sermon on incest or rape and its impact on family and society. I am not arguing that we should condone any destructive sexual behavior. I am simply saying that we have ceased to view the severity of these issues from God’s perspective. We take adultery and divorce fairly lightly, even in the church.
How can we raise children who will be able to withstand the sexual onslaughts of the world if they do not see morality modeled in the home? How can we have bold, confident children when so many family secrets send a message that is contrary to what God says? How can we be shocked by what God takes for granted? And if we don’t teach our own children to love and respect their bodies and to view sex as a Godly and sacred act in the faithful covenant of marriage at home, then who will teach them? Please don’t think they won’t figure sex out until “it is time.” As we attack government and school programs that teach sexual behavior, let us remember that God has given parents the responsibility to model and teach that value to their children. If they don’t… someone will. God knows who should.
Family: First Line Of Defense – Provision
In both the Old and New Testament, family is the first line of protection against poverty and economic ruin. The definition of destitute and who should feed the destitute was one of the early debates in the Church. Paul makes it clear in 1 Timothy 5 that if the poor have family, the family is to take care of them. Only if they have no other alternative, i.e. work or family, is the church to give assistance. The custom of the Pharisees was to tithe everything, even the herbs in their kitchen. Jesus rebuked them for tithing mint and leaving their parents without financial help.10
The book of Ruth recounts the story of the widow Naomi and her widowed daughter-in-law, Ruth. Refugees, childless, and without recourse in a foreign land, they return to Israel and the town of their family origin. Here they find aid by gleaning in the fields of their closest relative, Boaz, who takes his right as “kindred redeemer,” marries Ruth,11 and brings her and Naomi into his home to care for them. What a wonderful concept, “kindred redeemer!” God’s first line of responsibility for those in financial need was the family, not the church, community or government.
Jewish culture, in general, still functions this way. I have traveled to nearly half of the world’s nations and it is very rare to find a poverty-stricken Jew, even in very poor countries. When they immigrate, a few from the family go first, get established, and then bring the next ones over and help them get established and so on. They may not be rich, but they are not in need and rarely dependent on anyone outside of the family. This is not just savvy business; it’s God’s principles of family responsibility being lived out.
In today’s independent world we focus on self-reliance. That is not entirely bad, but in scripture God clearly balances independence with family and community responsibility. The view of family today is contributing to the new poor and to economic ruin for the community and the individual.
Family: First Line Of Defense – Justice
Deuteronomy 21:15-21 can be disturbing if we are reading it for application and not principle:
15 If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love,
16 when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love.
17 He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father’s strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him.
18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him,
19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town.
20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard.”
21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.
This passage is not a teaching for polygamy or capital punishment of teenagers. At the time Moses is writing these passages the tribes are polygamous and violent. The guideline “an eye for and eye and tooth for a tooth” is already an attempt to curtail their vengeful justice system in which they take “a life for a slap.”12 God has never been oblivious to the realities of the peoples He is discipling and God is not unrealistic. Discipleship takes time and a step in the right direction is a good step. Monogamy is clearly God’s highest in an overview of scripture, but they are polygamous at this time in history and, within that less than desirable state of affairs, there must still be justice. The overwhelming importance of this passage and similar laws is that: “family members have rights, whether men, women or children” and that “family members have a responsibility to honor those rights and to carry out those responsibilities.”
No record in scripture tells of a rebellious teenager being stoned. And I don’t think that is surprising. The overwhelming message of this passage is parental responsibility. Parents must invest the time and be responsible to discipline. If that is not effective, they have to bring the child to the leaders. It is the community’s responsibility to weigh whether the parents have done all that is possible and if the child is truly incorrigible. Another passage tells us that the parents have to lead in applying the punishment. The principle is not that “rebellious teenagers are to be stoned;” the principle God is putting forward here is that “parents are responsible for the actions of their children.”
In the book of Esther, we see a wonderful example of family responsibilities being carried out. Esther is an orphan and a refugee. Her cousin, Mordecai, raises her as his daughter. He is instrumental in her becoming Queen of Persia. Mordecai modeled a passion for justice not only in his family but also in his community. When the pagan king, who holds the Jews in exile by force, is in danger of assassination, it is Mordecai who warns of the plot and saves the king’s life.13 Then Mordecai calls upon Esther to use her position as queen to save the Jewish people from a plot of genocide hatched by Haman, another political leader. Mordecai lived by the rule of “loving your neighbor as yourself” and modeled it in caring for his family, his host country, and, finally, for his own people. He understood that justice included “loving your neighbor.” His simple modeling of that to a family member, Esther, resulted in the saving of a nation.
Jesus says the whole of the law can be summed up by this sentence: “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” James calls this the royal law14 and goes on to say that showing favoritism in applying this law is sin. What happens when children observe discrimination in their own home? Parents speak of justice for strangers, but treat each other unjustly. A pastor preaches love on Sunday, but beats his wife. We talk of God loving the lost, but show intolerance for different ethnic groups or “types” of sinners. We constantly criticize our government, but don’t even vote. How can we raise children to believe and model justice if justice is not modeled in the home? How can we hope to influence our communities if we do not model community concern and action at home? The answer? We can’t. The family is God’s first line of defence for individual and community justice.
Family: First Line Of Defense – Love
God summarizes the whole of His thinking about life in one word: love. God’s definition of love means the presence of justice, provision, integrity, truth. The authority behind government as God created it to function is the people. The authority of science is the unchangeable, Godcreated laws of nature. The authority of the church is its right handling of the Word of God. Authority is expressed in the family domain through love – love that is defined by the way Christ loved the church.
The younger leaders I work with in ministry have a hard time with the fact that I still teach structure in the family. I am open and listening, but until I see their view in the Word I have to withhold changing my thinking. As I look at the whole of the Bible, I see structure in every institution God has created. It seems to me that He has designed us to live that way and the universe to function that way. I see family structure in scripture. The parents have authority over the children until they leave home, and the husband over the wife. I know some hate to see those words; we have a knee jerk reaction because the concept has been abused and made to mean things God could never condone. Many in history have abused scripture in order to make themselves more powerful. But, what does God mean by these texts?
22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the
27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church –
30 for we are members of his body.
31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
32 is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church.
33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2 “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise –
3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
If we move this discussion of structure and authority in the family away from “who takes out the garbage” and “who does the laundry” and move it to who is responsible and when are they responsible, then I think God’s view becomes clearer. For instance, if a spouse is unconscious in the hospital and needs surgery, who should be able to give consent? If a family member borrows money and fails to pay, who should be responsible? If a parent dies in an accident, who should get the children? Who should take financial responsibility for children until they are old enough to take care of themselves? Governments have to make laws to guide decisions like those that communities make every day and our “world – view” of family will determine those decisions. The emphasis of God’s word is clear: A great deal of responsibility belongs in the family domain.
The Authority Of Family Is Love
So there is structure and authority in the family. Now, how is that authority to be carried out? When is the authority of family being abused and to be forfeited? When should a child be taken from a home? When must a spouse flee a marriage? When should the government take authority away from parents? How do we determine the difference between parental discipline and abuse of a child? Difficult questions! Really, the essence of these questions is, “When does family have authority and when does the community or the government step in?”
How do we define love? The Word says love is demonstrated in the way Jesus works with the church and the way a person takes care of his or her own body. Love says, “You are as important to me as me.” In fact, this kind of love says, “You are more important to me than me.” Because Christ gave up His life and his right to authority in order to serve the church. He gave up his body and life that we might have life.
Wow! This is radical stuff. Husbands, this means that, if you are to have authority with your wives, you must be “chief lover.” Your authority in your home is based on the quality of your love! Parents, in order to have authority over your children you will need to love them. The less faithful your love, the less authority you will have with them. In fact, if you act in a way that is actually destructive to your spouse or children, you have no authority and they can and should be taken from you.
Should a spouse or child endure life-threatening abuse because God gives authority to that family structure? Absolutely not. God never gives all authority over all things at all times to anyone! He is the only one He would trust with that kind of authority and He even limits Himself. In creating you and me in His image, He limited His control over our lives by giving us free will. That freedom has rights and responsibilities for each of us, but when anyone tries to remove that freedom entirely in the name of any authority it is called tyranny.
To understand what Paul means when he teaches us to submit to the authority of government, look at how he lived that submission out. When the Roman government ordered him to stop preaching he disobeyed their authority and willingly went to prison for it. There was a higher law over his faith and actions: God Himself. When the government exercised authority not given to it by the people or by God, Paul entered into civil disobedience. This subject is a book within itself, but my point here is that no one, including family, has all authority over anyone; to honor, submit, and obey in scripture does not always mean doing what you are told. This concept is probably most abused in the arena of family.
Destructive Myths Floating Around Christian Families Men are over women:
Sorry, no such principle in scripture. In fact, Barak lost his military honors for not following the orders of his Commandress in Chief, Deborah. There is no overall mandate in scripture of men in authority over women. There is a structure to family and the authority for that structure is love.
We will only want sex with one lifetime partner:
Sorry again! The Bible seems to assume that we will have sex with just about anyone or anything unless we are taught differently. In the Old Testament God teaches sexual conduct in great detail and in the New Testament Jesus teaches that all temptations are common and, furthermore, that He experienced them all!
Love means never having to say I’m sorry:
No! Love means the presence of justice, provision, protection, and harmony. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I need sex to be happy and fulfilled:
If that were true, surely we would be one of the happiest and most fulfilled generations in history. No, scripture does say we need intimacy in relationships to be happy and fulfilled, but we can have that with or without sex. There is nothing more lonely than sex without intimacy and nothing more fulfilling than intimacy with or without sex. We must marry for the right reasons or we will continue to have marriages that fail.
Staying together is the key:
Staying married is less financially damaging and often better for everyone, especially the children. But when we move the discussion to “why marry in the first place” and God’s purpose for marriage, we can work on staying together for the right reason. Until then, our cures are all bandages on a hemorrhage.
A good marriage will always feel good:
Wrong! In God’s design, a good marriage will rub against both spouses’ rough edges until you are smoothed more into the image of Christ. Part of the purpose of marriage is to help deliver us from ourselves by bringing us face to face with ourselves in a loving environment.
Themes to consider when studying and coloring the subject of family in scripture: wives, husbands, sons, daughters, children, widows, orphans, principles and ethics of relationships, sexual conduct.
The domain of family reveals: The Father
The primary attribute of God revealed in the family: Love/Nurture
God governs this domain through: The laws of love
The color I used: Orange
WORKING VOCATIONAL MISSION STATEMENT:
The purpose of family is to provide a safe, nurturing environment for growth, values, and development of the next generation. It is the smallest building block of human society. Great issues include: Love, discipline, modeling God’s thinking, preparation for vocation of the children and the husband’s love setting the tone of the home.
A NOTE TO ALL BELIEVERS:
We all live in families and our first witness is how we live there. We can accomplish nothing greater in our community or in nations than what we accomplish in the microcosm of our own home and family. We will reproduce who we are, and who we are is most revealed in our home where we are known on a daily basis. This is not a trap; this is God’s design. Our close relationships give us a mirror in which to see how much we are reflecting His glory. In our family we see what God wants to work on in our lives to make us more loving, more like Himself. This is an ongoing lifelong process of growth. Each stage of life gives us opportunity to grow in new areas. He is there to help us. Marriage, children, adolescence, empty nest, death, middle age, grandchildren, old age, illness all give us opportunity to grow with each other in the family. This is called living and with Christ it is called abundant living, being made more like Him on a daily basis. Family is a sacred covenant meant to produce God-likeness in us all. When you grow here you will take more of Jesus into everything you do and you will reproduce His likeness.
A NOTE TO FAMILY PROFESSIONALS:
Whether you are a family counselor, family lawyer, social worker, or any other family-oriented professional, yours is one of the most important arenas in society. If the family is healthy, we will have healthy communities and, then, healthy nations. It is so important that you see your work and the role of family from God’s perspective. We must touch family structures very lightly and invade only in the direst of circumstances. However, we must not allow abusive injustice to rule in any family. When and how to step into a family unit to save the individual is a vital and delicate balance. Only God’s perspective and His wisdom can help us in individual cases and in making policies, guidelines and laws that bridle our profession’s authority so that it does not destroy the very institution it is there to protect. You have a wonderful and sacred call; fulfill it in the wisdom and power of His Spirit.
1. Deuteronomy 6:7
2. Deuteronomy 11:19
3. Deuteronomy 6:9
4. Exodus 20:14
5. “Jabu’s Long Walk to Comfort” by Neville Josie on http://www.unicef.org/southafrica/reallives2145.html; “Blammed For A Crime Committed Against Me” by James Hall http://www.UNICEF/southafrica/resources_1846.html
6. End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT – www.ecpat.org)
7. CARE, UK
9. End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT – www.ecpat.org)
10. 1 Timothy 5:8; Matthew 23:23
11. Ruth 4
12. Genesis 4:23-24
13. Esther 2:19
14. James 2:8