Family life is a splash of happy, sad, ecstatic, tumultuous, and lively occasions all rolled into a vibrant panorama of memories on earth. As social beings, we humans are bound to co-exist with people of varied culture, personality and temperament. This may not always be conducive to our overall mental and physical well being.
Therefore, living as a family definitely requires us to be skillful enough to thwart certain emotions and conflicts that can disrupt the dynamics of a peaceful life.
We must remember that any strife in a family, especially the ones between parents can directly affect the well being of the children. A non-peaceful atmosphere at home can lead to depression and heartache for children, which can in turn affect their liaison with others in the future.
Of Parents and bringing up children according to the Will of God
Proverbs 22:6-Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.
Children are the gifts of God and hence it is the duty of parents, to bring them up first in spirituality, and then, as the people of the world.
Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God surely knows the plans that He has for His children; plans for their welfare and not for their harm; plans to give them a future with tremendous hope and happiness.
Isn’t this a promise that should give us abundant hope and peace so that we do not have to impose our dreams and desires on them? We must not snuff their childhood innocence with comparisons and unnecessary pressure on performance.
Surrender your children to the Will of God. Train them to walk in the path of spirituality, and trust in the Lord at all times, and you will see the blessings being showered upon them and the future generations to come. Surrendering your child to the Will of God will ensure that he is led through the path that God has planned for him. This is what our focus must be on. We are only foster parents to our children on earth.
Aren’t we all God’s children first? Our father in heaven loves us much more than our foster parents on earth!
In today’s world, we see parents providing the best education, and lifestyle choices for their children. However, when it comes to spirituality, things invariably take a back seat and parents are very lackadaisical in their approach. Lack of spirituality can push our children into unethical practices and friendships, and in no time, they are led astray from the protective wings of the shepherd.
My dear parents, do you know the importance of introducing your children to their Father in Heaven? Isaiah 54:13 tells us, “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the prosperity of your children.”
Let’s listen to the story of this sweet little teenage girl who accompanied her friend to the retreat centre on a whim. She did not know Jesus, nor did her parents introduce her to the son of God, our savior Jesus Christ. The girl just followed her friend and happened to be touched by the spirit of God at the retreat centre. She repented, wept like a child, confessed her sins and went back completely changed and holy. At home, she ran to her mother, shook her fiercely, and asked her, “Mamma, why didn’t you introduce me to Jesus all these years?”
The mother, shocked and taken aback, visited the Priest to enquire as to what happened to her child. She was full of regret that she could not introduce her daughter to Jesus as she herself did not know who he was. Are we too such parents who could not introduce our children to Jesus because we ourselves did not know him?
The dangers of over possessiveness
In a relationship, possessiveness is taken as true or genuine love for your partner. However, it may not always be a positive emotion to associate yourself with. A possessive spouse could restrict you from doing even mundane things, and it can lead to discord and disharmony at home.
One must be able to trust and respect one’s spouse by giving them enough space and freedom to pursue their interests.
Have time to hear each other out, and resolve problems amicably. This will help in building trust in a relationship. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant.
It is important for a husband and wife to have a sacred and private space that they can share so that they are united in intimacy and trust for each other. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations?
Privacy, secrecy and transparency
Secret passions and affairs are not only detrimental to a marriage, but also terrible sins against God who solemnized the institution of marriage. One is not only answerable to one’s spouse, but also to the God who commanded you to become one in flesh with your better half. Cheating on your spouse can bring the terrible wrath of God and push you to the fire of hell. Irresponsibility towards your partner and not doing your duty towards protecting and securing the life and happiness of your children are unpardonable offences in the eyes of God.
One must aim towards transparency and openness in marital relationships. Unholy associations, extra marital affairs, going after sexual passions etc. can damage a marriage beyond repair. Equally important is to reduce your association with your extended family, and be joined with your partner in taking decisions as a single unit.
If you have an inclination towards such family associations and friendships, it is better to not get married and spoil the life of another.
My dear brothers and sisters, defiling your marriage bed can cause great heartache for all the people and families involved. The devil works through breaking families, and gains victory in pushing many a soul into hell fire. We must learn how to deal with temptations, and we must be able to surrender our weaknesses to the Lord so that we do not fall into sin.
The Institution of Marriage
We must all understand that a marriage consists of three unions- spiritual, emotional and physical; the third being the least important if the first two are not honoured. A physical union that does not have a spiritual or emotional connect is akin to prostitution. That is why sins of the flesh are wrong in the eyes of God. Many marriages today are just beds for prostitution.
There is no spiritual or emotional connection between the husband and wife. Partners are lusting after others, and there is no God between them.
When we are married in the altar, we are joined by the Spirit of God. This is why it is said that a marriage is a union of three people-man, woman and God in between them. This cements the base for a spiritual connection.
When Eve was created for Adam, he proclaimed, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” Emotion was put into him by God so that he had desire for Eve. This is the natural progression that should take part in a marriage – union of spirit, emotion, and body. A union without spirit and emotion serves only to quench bodily passions and hence does not come from God.
Of begetting children
The first command that God gave man is “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
Many families lose blessings and prosperity because they limit their offspring. We have countless excuses for not following the law of the Lord as we are worried and unsettled about how to bring up many children.
But dear parents, God wants to give you more children. The more children you have, the more prosperity you beget. The Lord will bless you abundantly for following His command and will make sure that all your children are taken care of well.Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. Psalm 127:3 states.”Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”
We read in 1 Chronicles 25:5, “All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer, according to the promise of God to exalt him.” God gave Heman more children to exalt him and to give him glory. God gives you more children so that you may be prosperous, exalted, and raised in stature.
Today, couples resist having children as they are reluctant to shoulder the responsibility of bringing them up. The Lord warns us in Malachi 4:5-6 that before a terrible tragedy strikes, children will turn against their parents and parents against their children. If there is no love, respect and care between husband, wife and children, families will be struck down and destroyed in the process. Terrible tragedies will befall the world. Pandemic, earthquakes, famine, calamities, poverty and destitution will be unleashed into the earth by the Lord’s fury. This is happening in the world today and these are signs that the world in moving in the wrong direction.
The Lord commands us , “ Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.”
Bear one another’s burdens
Be it finances, household chores, responsibility of children, or any kind of difficulty, a family is expected to support each other through thick and thin. By bearing one another’s burdens, we fulfillthe law of Christ. If you have the power to help people, do it for whom it is due first before doing it for others.
Philippians 2:4 reminds us to look not to our own interests, but to the interests of others.
Last, but the most important rule of thumb for success in family life is to never degrade your spouse in front of family members or friends. The Lord condemns such acts. You are insulting not only your spouse, but also Jesus when you do such things.
1 Peter 3:7- Husbands, in the same way, show consideration for your wives in your life together, paying honor to the woman as the weaker sex,since they too are also heirs of the gracious gift of life—so that nothing may hinder your prayers.
Let us all pledge to create wonderful families that bring up happy, healthy and a God centered generation to keep the river of life flowing in abundance.