By Bufrey Dean
One of the most serious problems we face today is the breakdown of the American family. This problem not only affects our homes, but most assuredly affects our churches.
Many of today’s churches face seven habitual mysteries.
First is the mystery of the empty pew. Freedom to worship is apparently interpreted as freedom FROM worship.
Second is the mystery of the unaccompanied child. Many children are sent along with children of other families or dropped off by a parent who does not attend church. Then, some parents go to church without carrying their children with them.
Third is the mystery of the disappearing church member. Some move, disappear without a trace, and no one knows where they live.
Fourth is the mystery of the closed Bible. In many homes, the Bible merely gathers dust on a coffee table or book shelf.
Fifth is the mystery of buried talents. Many of God’s people have the ability to share and to serve, but hide their talents; refusing to use their God given talents either at church or in the community.
Sixth is the mystery of the grumbling child of God. With so much going for us, why do we develop a griping, complaining attitude?
The seventh mystery is the problem of the misused day. Some of God’s people use a beautiful Sabbath Day for almost everything else but the worship and praise of God.
If we could solve these seven mysteries of the churches, we could solve the problem of slow weakening and erosion of America’s greatest resource, the FAMILY. Just what is it that marks some homes as places where children feel they belong?
Colossians 2:2: “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love,” is the feeling that makes children far better prepared to develop a healthy indepen- dance later in their lives.
By looking at families that are knit together, we see five principles surfacing almost all the time.
1– Families are knit together by expressing appreciation and praise.
Romans 13:3: “Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.”
Proverbs 31:28: “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”
The influence of a loving mother is most important. “All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my mother, “ said Abraham Lincoln. Within a family, think how much of an effect the right praise can have on loved ones. Children who hear words of appreciation and praise often feel special and more a part of the family.
2– Families are knit together by listening and communicating.
Hebrews 13:16: “But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
We must keep an open-door policy for listening and communicating.
Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
We as parents must travel in the way also in order to communicate effectively.
3– Families are knit together by providing a well-defined purpose for life. Set up a plan that includes three basics: First, honoring God, second, honoring each other and third, honoring the Sabbath Day.
Isaiah 58:13-14: “Call the sabbath a delight and honour him.”
Exodus 20:12: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”
Psalms 29:2:“Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name.”
4– Families are knit together by causing each person to feel a shared burden for each other.
Galatians 6:2: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Love is the fulfilling of the law. One thing that does unify the family is a trial suffered together, while cut-throat competition and extreme individuality will certainly divide a family. Surviving trials together in love and much understanding will bond us together and build unity.
5– Families are knit together by building a sense of belonging. Early in life, children do not see flaws in their parents. Yet the day will come when they begin to notice our imperfections. And when they do, if we try to deny them, we lose ground in their eyes and teach them to deny problems in their lives. By humbling ourselves and seeking correction, we can reverse that trend.
Proverbs 15:33:“Before honour is humility.”
I Peter 5:5: “be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
James 5:16: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another.” I strongly believe that the family that prays together is the family that stays together.
With God’s help, may we apply these principles in our home for the bonding together of our family. I am convinced that as the family is strengthened and unified by seeking God’s help, then will more of our churches be found knit together in love.