In Support of the Family

Have you ever thought about the significance of the number three? When ordering spicy food at a restaurant the choices are mild, medium, or hot! Water comes in a solid, a liquid or a gas. Eggs have a yolk, a white, and a shell. The Triune God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I see the number three as an important building block in the nature of things. This is not an accident. God’s imprint, His very nature shows up everywhere in creation.

The design of the family is no different. In Genesis we read that God created man and women in His own image and instructed them to multiply, filling the earth and subduing it (Gen. 1:27, 28). In chapter 4 (after the fall) Adam and Eve did what most married couples do and they began a family with two boys. There it is, the number three, reflecting the image of God, a family – father, mother, and children (the dog is not included in the family unit, sorry).

Something terrible happened, however. The breakdown of the family unit begins. An argument, jealousy or anger quickly escalated to murder. Cain tried to hide what he had done but God confronted him with the question, “Where is Abel, your bother?” Cain’s response was “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The implication is that Cain is indeed his brother’s keeper. In families, individual members were to find strength, support and a safe environment to thrive.

Today the family unit is still experiencing the kinds of breakdowns that began in the very beginning. The problem is so real, and seemingly impossible to fix, that Stats Canada discontinued their record keeping of divorce rates in Canada back in 2011. There are a large number of publications noting that broken families cost society billions of dollars a year. For example, one report coming out of the UK suggests that children from broken homes are nine times more likely to commit crimes than those from stable families!

Marianne E. Neifert (Dr. Mom’s Parenting Guide) said “The family is both the fundamental unit of society as well as the root of culture. It ... is a perpetual source of encouragement, advocacy, assurance, and emotional refueling that empowers a child to venture with confidence into the greater world and to become all that he can be.”

How should we respond to these ongoing challenges to God’s created institution, the family?

First, admit that this is a problem in our society. This is not to condemn. We live in a broken world and we are reaping the harvest consistent with our sin nature. When we admit that there are problems then we can respond in appropriate ways.

Second, pray! It was D. L. Moody that said “the Christian on his knees sees more than the philosopher on tiptoe.” Pray on behalf of those who are experiencing relational difficulties in their families. It is a battle. Let them know that you are praying for them.

Finally, do something. Pay attention to your own family first. Hug your kids and tell them that you love them. Do this often. Then, look around. Find ways to serve others who could use some encouragement. Jesus taught that we should respond to evil by doing good. Use your imagination. Take a fatherless child fishing. Spend time with those that are hurting.

Families are important and need is great. So go ahead. Get involved. You can make a difference in our broken world.