We are preparing for Thanksgiving this week and the start of the traditional holiday season. Many are traveling home from long distances and some short distances. The one thing you can count on for holidays is the strong emotions being with family can evoke – both good and bad.
The family is the most basic social structure for our civilization. Families teach us how to form relationships, how to handle conflict, establish our work ethic, and how we learn to express our feelings. What we learn from our families can be good and constructive or bad and destructive. By instilling societal norms, morals, and ethics, families contribute to societal stability. The values and discipline taught in families reflect in the behavior of individuals in society, maintaining social order. In essence, families are fundamental building blocks of society. The power of the family is very real.
According to the Pew Research Center, family life is changing. Two-parent households are on the decline in the United States as divorce, remarriage and cohabitation are on the rise. As a result of these changes, there is no longer one dominant family form in the U.S. By contrast, in 1960, the height of the post-World War II baby boom, there was one dominant family form. At that time 73% of all children were living in a family with two married parents in their first marriage. By 1980, 61% of children were living in this type of family, and today less than half (46%) are. The declining share of children living in what is often deemed a “traditional” family has been largely supplanted by the rising shares of children living with single or cohabiting parents. I am bringing this to your attention because I believe the decline of our family structure contributes to the rise in depression, domestic violence, as well as drug and alcohol abuse, which contributes to more crimes. While this sounds depressing enough, our “families,” no matter what they look like, are important to God.
Two essential elements of family — marriage and parenthood — reveal God’s character like nothing else in Creation. The love between a husband and wife provides a glimpse of Christ’s passionate devotion to us as His bride. In the same way, the ups and downs of parenthood offer a compelling picture of God’s tenderness and patience toward us as His children. And family does more than reflect God’s character. It should provide a safe place where children can experience God’s love (through their parents) and learn how to love other people. Unfortunately, in today’s world, that’s not always the case.
Christ himself was born within the context of a family. “God in the flesh” submitted to an earthly mom and dad to model what it means to honor parents and to benefit from their loving direction. It was within the nurturing care of His earthly family that “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).
Yes, the power of the family can make or break a person. As for me, I’m going to stand up and love each of my family members with the love of Christ.
What do you think?
Debby Efurd is co-founder of Cary John Efurd Ministries of Pittsburg, TX. She has been a contributor to Bound for Life and written numerous articles published in LifeNews, Christian Post and the Baptist Standard, and is the author of Go Tell It! available at Amazon.com Learn more about Cary John Efurd Ministries by liking our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CJEMinistries) and downloading our FREE mobile app (get.theapp.co) from App Store or Google Play. Once downloaded, allow notifications to keep you up to date on what’s happening in Cary John Efurd Ministries. Debby can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to comment on her blog, The Second Mile, at www.debbyefurd.com .