A father wanted to bring his family closer together so one day, the father brought home a pet dog. His three boys were overjoyed but somehow each wanted the dog for himself.
Finally the father decided that he had to do something to prevent his sons from fighting over the dog. He thought for a while so he sat them down and announced.
“Okay, I will give the dog to the one who always listens to your Mother, never talks back at her, and always does whatever she tells him to do.”
The boys stared at their father. “It’s not fair: you just want to keep the dog for yourself!”
We laugh at the many humorous stories we often hear about in family life. Being in a family has its fair share of love and heartaches sometimes, but being in a family is also where we begin to learn how to love and be loved.
We have a God of relationships and we are made to be relational people. One of the blessings He give to us is the family we have – a family who love us and care for us.
This is what the Bible teaches us about being in a family relationship:
Ephesians 6:1-4 1 Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
In the verses, we see that our family relationship works both ways. Firstly, we see that God teaches us children to obey and honour our parents. To honour them means we always put our parents in high regard and treat them as people we really care about. We arealso taught to obey them for this is the right thing to do. God gives us parents who are there to love us and bring us up to the best of their abilities. They nurtured us, fed us when we were born and raised us up. God teaches us to obey them and look to them for wisdom and guidance as they too have gone through life’s journeys. Their life experiences with God as their guide makes them good teachers in our lives.
Secondly, for those of us who are parents, the Bible also teaches that we parents ought not to provoke our children to anger by how we treat them but we should always bring them up with right discipline and instruction (something that requires much wisdom) that comes from the Lord. This means we ought to listen to our children, exercise patience with them and guide them. We are to teach them about Jesus Christ – what He has done to save us from sin and help them build up their faith in the Lord.
God blesses us with family relationships so that we can support one another. But sometimes, we humans are prone to making mistakes in life, and the painful thing that can happen is a family that breaks up. And when that happens, innocent family members get hurt. I didn’t have the privilege of growing up in a loving family. I grew up in a family filled with broken relationships and I grew up envying friends with parents who really cared and loved their children. By God’s grace, I came to know the Lord Jesus.
Nowadays, one of the things I enjoy most being with my family is when we gather to eat and talk. I enjoy heading out with my wife, my brother in law and my mother in law for meals together. It gives me joy to see all of us sitting down and just having a meal together and talk about the things that happened when we were younger. With my siblings, my younger sister and I always have fun talking about the days when we were both young – how she used to ask me to play cooking toys with her and how I used to ask her to be the goalkeeper when I played soccer in my flat and broke all the ceiling lights.
The family we have is God’s gift to each of us! May His Spirit help us to love our family more each day – as we encourage, pray and love one another with His love.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for blessing us with family relationships where we can learn to love and be loved. We pray that you will teach us always to obey and honour our parents. For those of us who are parents, we pray that you will teach us to be patient with our children and that we might bring them up with discipline and careful instruction. For those who may be hurt by things happening in their families, may Your word in Psalm 27:10 encourage them for it tell us this “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.” Even when our friends or those closest to us fail us, May You take us into your loving care. In your name I pray, Amen.