Take a moment to think deeply about your family. Think about your children and their relationships with each other. What comes to mind? Are they loving, caring, and involved in each other’s lives? Or, does disharmony or distance characterize their lives together?
We all have good and bad days when it comes to family relationships. It is a valuable activity to make an honest appraisal of how well your children get along with each other. If there is disharmony or distance, you have a problem that needs to be addressed.
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. — James 3:16-17 (KJV)
Envy and strife can show themselves in different ways. One child may express it in a way that causes disharmony, while another may withdraw and become distant. This verse states that when you see envying and strife, you will find confusion and evil works. You may not be able to put your finger on it, but you know something is not right. As a parent, you need to seek God’s wisdom for this problem.
God uses strong language in the Bible. He calls it like it is. We tend to make excuses for what is going on by using weaker language when thinking about these issues. If you see glares flying from one child to another, do you pass it off as sibling rivalry, or, do you see it as envy manifesting itself? What about an on-going feud between a brother and sister? Are they learning Godly roles for men and women as they grow up, or, is this strife manifesting itself?
If your child withdraws and becomes distant, do you pass it off as a stage they are going through? It seems to be “normal behavior” in our society today, for teenagers to distance themselves from their parents and siblings. They begin to set their affections on someone or something else and you start to loose their heart. (This can even happen at an earlier age!) The teen years are a time when children should be a blessing and of great help. The family should grow closer together in love and caring.
What is it in your child’s life that is stealing their affections? It could be as simple as a gift your child received that now consumes that child’s time and attention. They like the gift a lot. In fact, they may even love that gift above their family. This sounds extreme, but think about it. If there is strife in your home, what is the cause of it? Is there something that one of your child loves so much that it is starting to divide your family?
Does God’s peace characterize your family? I think this is something that we have a hard time relating to, because our culture is so fast-paced and anything but quiet. If that affects us, just think of the influence it has on our children. When I think of peace, I think of deep contentment. I think of time to spend with your children, forming strong ties with their hearts. I see the love of God and family that lasts eternally. It is built on faith in God that lasts for generations.
When I tried to think of examples from Scripture, I immediately thought of Timothy, the young pastor, who was as a son to Paul. Who helped to produce this faith in Timothy?
When I call to rememberance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. — 2 Timothy 1:5 (KJV)
Paul gives credit to Timothy’s mother and grandmother. It was Timothy’s home life that produced unfeigned faith. Lois and Eunice were godly women who passed that faith on to Timothy. I believe that this was not common in that day and age. It is probably less common today to see multi-generational faith pouring into the life of a child. If you have that, you are blessed indeed! If you don’t have it, then it is time to start! You can set the foundation with Jesus as the cornerstone. On that foundation, your children and grandchildren will be built and can be used of God.
Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers. — Proverbs 17: (KJV)
Look over your children and think about what you see. Examine everything from an eternal perspective. Only faith in Jesus is lasting. There is no joy if any of your children gain the whole world, yet loose their soul. There is no glory in that. Use love as a measuring stick and faith in Jesus Christ as your point of reference. Build your family together with a common purpose and goal. Set your sights on the Savior and lead your children with you. Don’t let them go their own way and get lost.
God bless, Mike