“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” (Ephesians 4:2–3, NLT)
It takes only one person to bring pain and division to an entire family, but it also takes just one person to initiate healing and unity. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this way too often in families. Nonetheless, if we were to absorb Jesus’s nature in our daily lives, our families would be healthier and happier. Family was not created by accident; God never creates anything accidentally. There is always a divine purpose for everything that has been created, especially the Family.
Family is a reflection of God’s nature and the fundamental building block of society.
Let me give you six main reasons why God created the family nucleus?
1. To Reflect God’s Nature: God is inherently relational – God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Families, in their diverse and interdependent relationships, reflect this aspect of God's nature. The interactions and relationships within a family – parents caring for children, spouses supporting each other, siblings growing together – mirror the relational and loving nature of God.
2. For Companionship and Love: In the Genesis account of creation, God noted, "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). This means that companionship is very important to God and for our well-being. Families provide a network of support, love, and companionship, reflecting God's own love and relational nature. In families, individuals experience various forms of love – spousal, parental, filial, fraternal – which mirror the diverse aspects of God's love for humanity. God Himself desires our companionship as you can see in Genesis 3:8–9 “When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”” God made us to walk and be with Him always in companionship. In Exodus 25:8: "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them." And, Revelation 21:3, which reads: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.'”
3. For Spiritual/emotional Growth and Character Development: Families are often the first place where individuals learn values, develop character, and grow both emotionally and spiritually. Proverbs 22:6 emphasizes the role of the family in early development: "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it." Families are intended to be a nurturing environment where members teach, learn, and embody godly principles such as love, patience, kindness, and forgiveness.
4. To Cultivate Community and Society: Families are the foundational units of society. Through families, social values and norms are passed down, and a sense of community and belonging is fostered. Healthy family relationships contribute to the stability and health of society at large. In a broader sense, families can be seen as a microcosm (a smaller unit or entity) of the church or the community of believers, where each member plays a vital role in the health and function of the whole.
5. To Fulfill God’s Mandate for Creation: In Genesis, God gives the mandate to "be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). This directive not only pertains to physical procreation but also to the spiritual and cultural mandate to fill the earth with people who reflect God’s values and character. Families are the means through which this mandate is fulfilled, as each generation passes on its knowledge, faith, and values to the next.
6. For Mutual Support and Provision: Families are designed to be units of mutual support – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. In 1 Timothy 5:8, it says, "Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." This highlights the responsibility family members have to care for and support one another.
So you see, God created families to reflect His nature, provide companionship, foster spiritual and emotional growth, character development, cultivate a godly society, fulfill His mandate for creation, and provide mutual support. Families are central to God’s plan for humanity, serving as a fundamental unit where love, faith, values, and community are nurtured and passed from one generation to the next. Just like the generations in the bible did such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Words and Actions can Hurt or Heal
In Proverbs 15:1, says: "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." When someone in a family act in a way that causes hurt, whether through words or actions, it can create a ripple effect, leading to fractures in relationships that were once solid. Misunderstandings and conflicts can escalate, much like the discord sown by a "harsh word."
Yet, the Bible also speaks to the power of one person to bring about positive change, as seen in the principle of peacemaking in Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."
A single family member, embodying this principle, can become a catalyst for healing in a family. Through acts of loving understanding, communication, and loving kindness, they can start the process of mending broken bonds. This approach is deeply rooted in the virtues described in 1 Corinthians 13, where love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. This chapter beautifully encapsulates the essence of true, selfless love, which does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs.
Incorporating the wisdom of Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another," this family member's actions can serve as a catalyst for personal and collective growth within the family. By embracing the qualities of love described in 1 Corinthians 13, they not only help heal existing wounds but also foster an environment where each member can grow and improve, much like iron sharpening iron. This process of mutual edification is crucial in building a family that is not only resilient in the face of conflict but also thriving in love and mutual respect.
The Peacemaker of the Family
This peacemaker in the family demonstrates that while pain and division may be easy to sow, the power of reconciliation and unity, rooted in God’s love and forgiveness, is far stronger. Their actions, reflecting the love described in 1 Corinthians 13 and the mutual edification encouraged in Proverbs 27:17, can inspire others to put aside differences and work towards a harmonious family life. The bible is filled with many strategies for this, and through the help of the Holy Spirit we can achieve this and so much more. The strength of a family doesn’t lie in never having conflicts, but in the ability to overcome them together, guided by principles of patience, godly understanding, and unconditional love, as emphasized throughout Scripture.
Nurturing or Hurting the Family
Building upon the foundational principles found in Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 27:17, and 1 Corinthians 13, we can further explore the virtues essential for nurturing healthy family relationships.
Ephesians 4:29 says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." This scripture underscores the importance of mindful communication within the family. Words have the power to heal or hurt, to build up or tear down. In a family setting, it becomes crucial to use words that are uplifting, that acknowledge and validate each other's feelings and experiences. This involves actively listening, showing empathy, and offering godly support. It's about creating a safe space where family members feel heard and respected, where godly constructive feedback is given with love, and where encouragement is the norm. This kind of wholesome communication fosters trust and strengthens the bonds between family members.
Mutual Growth and Accountability
In the other hand, Proverbs 27:17, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another," speaks to the value of mutual growth and accountability in family relationships. In a healthy family, members challenge and support each other to grow and improve. This involves honest, yet compassionate feedback, and a willingness to accept and work on constructive criticism. It's about recognizing that each family member has unique strengths and weaknesses, and that they can learn from each other. This proverb encourages families to engage in activities that promote collective learning and personal development, fostering an environment where everyone is motivated to be the best version of themselves, not just for their own sake, but for the betterment of the whole family.
God’s Love the Guiding Force
1 Corinthians 13, often referred to as the "Love Chapter," provides a profound description of what love looks like in practice. It talks about patience, kindness, not envying or boasting, not being proud or self-seeking, not being easily angered, and keeping no record of wrongs. These qualities are fundamental in maintaining healthy family relationships. Patience allows family members to bear with each other's faults and shortcomings. Kindness ensures that even in discipline or disagreement, God’s love remains the guiding force. Not keeping a record of wrongs is crucial in moving past conflicts and not allowing them to fester. For example, When someone holds onto an emotional grudge or resentment without addressing it, those negative feelings can fester and become even stronger over time, potentially damaging relationships in the family. Instead, in this scripture God invites families to embody a love that is enduring, a love that rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Such love is the bedrock of a strong, resilient family because it is based on the true love of God, and God is love eternally.
Humility Goes a Long way
Incorporating these virtues into family life is not always easy, but it is deeply rewarding. It requires a commitment to personal growth and a willingness to put the well-being of the family above individual desires or grievances with humility, just like Jesus did at the Cross. As Philippians 2:3-4 states "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."
It's about striving to embody these principles in daily interactions and making them the foundation of our family life. When families commit to these virtues, they create an environment of love, respect, and mutual support, where each member can thrive and where the family unit grows stronger and more cohesive. Of course, all that we have discussed until now cannot be done by your own strength or power but by the Spirit of God. (see Zechariah 4:6 and John 15:5,17)
This thanksgiving weekend is a great time to be thankful for your family and friends!
Become that ONE godly person that filled with the Holy Spirit starts to bring healing and unity to your family!
Here are some relevant scriptures about sowing discord between brothers or friends:
1. Proverbs 6:16-19: "There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community." This passage explicitly mentions sowing discord as something detestable to God.
2. Proverbs 16:28: "A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends." This verse highlights how certain behaviors, like gossip, can lead to discord and damage relationships especially family.
3. James 3:16: "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." This scripture suggests that discord often stems from negative emotions and attitudes like envy and selfishness.
4. Romans 16:17-18: "I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people." This passage warns against those who cause division and discord, advising believers to avoid them.
5. Ephesians 4:3: "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." This verse encourages active efforts to maintain unity and peace, which is the opposite of sowing discord.
6. Titus 3:10: "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them." This scripture advises dealing decisively with those who cause divisions, indicating the seriousness of sowing discord.
7. “Then we will no longer be immature like children… Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” (Ephesians 4:14–16, NLT). Emphasizes the importance of spiritual maturity and unity within His body, where speaking the truth in love and each member doing their part leads to collective growth and harmony, mirroring Christ's role in nurturing and perfecting the church. Family is a small unit that represents the bigger picture of the body of Christ.
Embracing a Deeper Journey … with the Almighty I AM