Families That Flourish

MC910217021[1] Our homes can be havens of blessing and places of peace. Instead, many families struggle to stay together, as relationships grow distant, and the ties that bind are strained.

MP900422733[1]I am certainly not a pessimist, but I am a realist. I recognize many families are in trouble. The divorce rate in our country for first marriages is trending to 50%, 60% for second marriages and over 70% for third marriages. That tells me the problems that plague our most intimate relationships are not fixed by changing partners. If we want to save our marriages, and build homes that are healthy and nurturing, we have to change ourselves!

Jesus’ command to love one another as we love ourselves is key to having the kinds of relationships and family ties God created us to have. But what does it mean to love another as ourselves? I want to make a few suggestions of how we might start applying Jesus’ words to our homes and family relationships.

First, we must move from a me-focused to a we-focused life. As much as I care about what I want, how I feel and what is going on in my life, I should be equally concerned about my family’s wants and needs, feelings and challenges, dreams and goals.MP900289346[1]

Second, we must put our faith into practice in our homes. In James 2:26 we are told that faith without works is dead. What good does it do for me to claim that I am a follower of Jesus Christ, if I refuse to put Jesus’ teachings into practice in my most important relationships?

A home that is built on a dead faith is going to be in big trouble when the wind starts blowing and the waves begin rolling. Relationships that lean on the joy of the Lord for strength, that cultivate the peace of Christ, and practice sacrificial love are more likely to stand strong in good times and in bad.

Third, we must put Jesus Christ in charge. He must be the Lord in our relationships and the Master in our households. His truth must be the law we live by. His Spirit must be the guide we follow. His will must define the direction our lives take.

Happy family of five together at homeOf course you probably knew all this. But I hope this is a gentle reminder of how important it is to guard and nurture the precious relationships and families ties we have. Relationship require work. As we do the kind of work Christ calls us to do, our homes will become havens of blessing and places of peace, and our family relationships will flourish!

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