The Family As God Defines It

My iMac computer dictionary defines family as "a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household." This is fairly in line with the Bible when it states in Ephesians 5:31, "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." Normally, children will follow such a union resulting in a family unit and the continuation of an orderly society. The family is the basic building block of society and without its functional existence a society cannot long survive. Let us look at each member of the family; husband/father, wife/mother, children and how God defines their roles and responsibilities.

The husband/father is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23). He is to love his wife (Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 3:19). He is to give honor to his wife (1 Peter 3:7). The husband is the manager of the family (1 Timothy 3:4) and is responsible for bringing up the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This training is to be done in such a way as to not provoke their children to wrath (Ephesians 6:4). The husband/father is to lead and I do not see how that can be done from behind. Leading from behind is a better term for driving the herd. We are to be leaders not herders.

The wife/mother is to love her husband and children (Titus 2:4) and she is "To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." (Titus 2:5) As the mother she is the trainer (Proverbs 1:8-9) and is to serve as the foundation for the development of the children.

To appreciate children and their role in the family it is best to read Psalm 127. In that Psalm, we are told, "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: Except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." Our children are a heritage of the LORD (verse 3) and we must treat and train them that way. As we see in Ephesians 6:1-2, children are to "... obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother ... ." It does not come easy to have children that people enjoy having around. A friend once told me that he and his wife were approached by a stranger when they were out with their children. She told them that they were so lucky to have nice, behaved children. He responded to her that luck had nothing to do with it, but it took a lot of hard work by him and his wife working as a team. That is what a family is. A team that functions well, loves one another, looks out for each other, and puts each other before themselves.

In our society we have drifted far away from the family as described by God. As a result, a darkness is enveloping our social structure and diminishing our capabilities as a society. We look about us and see the desolation and try to convince ourselves that we are strong and vibrant while the cancer eats away at us. Yea verily, we see the desolation and try to convince ourselves that we are at peace.

Charles Royal, Decatur AL