Category Archives: Family

FAMILY CONFLICT:

4

 Family conflict is almost as old as humanity. Sibling rivalry existed in the very first family and culminated with Cain killing his brother Abel (Genesis 4:3–8). While other examples may not be that extreme, family conflict is a recurring theme in the Bible. From Athaliah killing all her children and grandchildren so she could seize the throne (2 Kings 11:1) to Jesus’ own mother and brothers becoming embarrassed by His preaching (Mark 3:21), examples of family conflict illustrate what happens when family members treat their flesh and blood as liabilities instead of blessings.

Some family conflicts are inevitable. In our world of sin, some will reject Christ while others accept Him as Lord, and this happens within families. Jesus, the Prince of Peace Himself, warned us of this type of family conflict: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household’” (Matthew 10:34–36; cf. Micah 7:6). We see evidence of this everywhere: when one family member embraces Christ and another rejects the way of holiness, the result is often family conflict and domestic imbroglios.

Because family relationships have an even greater potential for conflict than other relationships, God gave some clear commands for each family member. When we defy those commands, family conflict will erupt. For husbands and wives, the Bible details specific instructions. Husbands are to love their wives as they love their own bodies (Ephesians 5:25–29). Wives are to respect the leadership position of their husbands (Ephesians 5:22–24). Children are to obey their parents in everything (Ephesians 6:1), and those parents are to bring up their children in the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Grandparents are to delight in grandchildren and share their wisdom with them (Proverbs 17:6). There is to be no sexual contact of any kind between immediate family members (Leviticus 18:6–181 Timothy 5:2). When families align their home and practices with Scripture, the occasions of family conflict diminish.

God compares His church to a family, so the rules to the church on interpersonal relationships also apply to individual families. Every child of God is to respond to other Christians as brothers and sisters (Romans 12:101 Peter 3:8). The church is to avoid “discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder” (2 Corinthians 12:20), and so should families. James 4:11 says, “Brothers, do not slander one another.” A rule of thumb is that if we would not treat a highly respected friend a certain way, then don’t treat family members that way.

Healthy families provide a safe place for every member to express his or her feelings, thoughts, opinions, and desires. Families don’t have to agree on everything in order to maintain harmony. The absence of family conflict is not necessarily the sign of a healthy family. Some families are ruled by authoritarian strictness; others refuse to allow any type of discussion. God designed the family to be a place where every member feels loved and valued, where differences can be acknowledged and respected, and where inevitable conflicts are peacefully resolved. Through dealing with family conflict, we can learn humility, kindness, patience, and selfless love (Galatians 5:22), traits that will benefit us as we interact with our brothers and sisters in the family of God.

Prophet Nathan Emol

RESPECTING PARENTS:

3.jpg

 Respect is the act of giving particular attention to someone or something, especially when that attention is accompanied by a high regard. The Bible does not directly command us to respect our parents; however, the idea of respect is included in the command to honor and obey them (Exodus 20:12Ephesians 6:1).

To honor is to assign value. Regardless of the character of the people who brought us into the world, they are our parents and we are to honor them. They have value because of their part in our creation. We can honor their roles even if we cannot always honor their behavior. When we couple the idea of honor with that of respect, we have a formula for the treatment of our parents. Because of their assigned value as our mother and father, we give them particular attention and special esteem.

In childhood, honor and respect are demonstrated by obedience. Children are commanded to obey their mother and father (Ephesians 6:1Colossians 3:20). Whether they like the instruction or not, children need to learn to obey their parents with an attitude of respect. Parents who tolerate disrespectful behavior in their children are merely grooming them for an adulthood of rebellion and lack of honor. It is the parents’ responsibility to train their children to be respectful. Parents can model the behavior they want their children to imitate by showing respect toward their own parents and authority figures.

The teenage and young adult years often set the stage for the future relationship with the parents. Despite the cold wars and stormy scenes, wise parents will remain firm in requiring respectful behavior from their hormone-driven future adults. When still living at home, they need to obey the house rules and show respect for their parents’ values, even when they disagree. One skill young adults should develop is that of listening to counsel. Listening is one way of showing respect. Proverbs 23:22 says, “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” Parents can model this skill by also listening to a child who speaks respectfully to them.

Once children are grown and out of the house, they can show honor and respect by keeping in touch with their parents when at all possible. As parents age, their needs increase. Adult offspring should stay aware of those needs and be ready to help meet them. Even a parent who was not a good parent still deserves respect because of the role he or she played in bringing a child into the world. God used that parent, flaws and all, to accomplish His good plan. We show respect for the position because it is healthy for us to do so. Refusing to demonstrate respect leaves us with bitterness and anger (see Hebrews 12:15). Even when speaking boldly and confronting wicked behavior, we can maintain an attitude of respect.

Godly people show respect to all other people, regardless of their behavior or position. We may need to distance ourselves from dangerous people, but we can do so with an attitude of humility and kindness because they, too, are created in the image of God (James 3:9). Parents and grandparents are especially worthy of this respect because of the roles they played in God’s plan for us. While we do not need to obey parents once we’ve reached adulthood, we should still consider their wishes and advice as a way of respecting them. Showing respect to one’s parents is also a way to model for the next generation the way we’d like them to treat us.

Prophet Nathan Emol