A Voice in the
"..I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and earth is named.." (Eph3:14-15)
Today, we see everybody talks about "family." That family is the "most important thing" ...above all else. And family "VALUES". When it is chris'-MASS time, they say that "chris'-MASS is Faaaam'ly." There was a family who years ago received a rather substantial inheritance. The administrator of the will wrote a cover letter to all the recipients with the following suggestion; "When we all get to heaven, let's be sure to THANK [the donors] for this gift." Friend, when we get to heaven, the substance of heaven's "streets" (Rev21:21) will be the last item on our minds, as we realize the folly of earth's riches. The "friends by the mammon of unrighteousness" (Lk16:9) will have greater concerns when standing before Almighty God in judgment, as they face eternity!
Four years ago when I first started collecting these thoughts, Bonnie Blair had just won Olympic Gold in speed skating. During an interview she was asked, "what is the most important thing to you about these Olympics?" Response, "My family is here." And what of the sickness of Michael Faye's family. (In case you've forgotten, he was the young punk who was caned for committing vandalism in a foreign country.) On TV his father was sobbing, "I wish I could have taken his lashes!" Well, dad...if you had given him some of that when he was a child, maybe he wouldn't have had to be humiliated before the whole world! Or did you forget, "Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child; the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." (Pr22:15)
And then, there's the "family" expression..."Brother." Everybody and anybody, who might have the slightest common bonds or interests is a "brother." In Scripture this expression came about due to the nation Israel. All being descendants of Abraham, they, as a nation, are brothers (genetically) to each other. And as the early Church began, being Jewish initially, they continued calling one another "brothers." (Acts 2:29,37,3:17) However, today any ideologies that are in contradistinction to "the rest" call themselves "brothers." The Black community perpetuates its collective militancy by calling one another "brother." Groups like Promise Keepers call each other "brother." If a True Christian engages in debate with non-Christians on forums, and indicate that there is a Scriptural Distinction between them, the non- Christian will gloat in calling the Christian a "brother" (anyway) in an attempt to belittle the Christian and promote his own superiority in [supposed] "love and tolerance."
What does Scripture say?
Yes, children are to "obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother.." (Eph6:1-2) While parents provide for the children (2Cor12:14), children once grown up are to see to the welfare of their parents. (Mk7:10-12)(that's the "honor" part)
But what is the most important Scriptural human relationship? What takes precedence above all else? Is it "family?" In other words, when children grow up, do parents continue to command them? If a child takes a spouse, is this new marriage part of the old, overall extended family; governed by parents and in-laws?
God created Adam, and then said, "It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (Gen2:18) As Eve is brought to Adam, he says, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." (vs23) The first couple came from "one flesh." And God gives the command, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife; and they were not ashamed." (vs24-25) To "cleave" is "to stick to..to cling." Don't let anything or anyone get in between or pull it apart.
Furthermore, Paul writes, "When I was an infant [I did things as an infant does]. But when I became a man, I did away with the things of an infant." (1Cor13:11) When God tells a "man" to "leave" his father and mother, he is no longer subject to "obeying" them. He is no longer a "child." He has a new relationship...with his wife. A picture of the relationship of "oneness" between God and Christ; and of Christ and the Church. (Jn17,Eph5)
Parents, when your children grow up and leave, it is a most selfish, unconscionable act for you to meddle in their lives when they get married. For you to nag after your child, and criticize your child's spouse is to cut and rip against the very fabric of God's design. Don't do it!! I can assure you from personal experience, that it causes no end of heartache all the way around! It can even contribute to your child's marriage ending in divorce...something which God "hates" (Mal2:16)
Furthermore, when parents refuse to let their children go...or when children don't leave, often this situation makes following God either impossible or incomplete. We can "thank" Abraham for providing an example of this.
God had said, "Go out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house into a land that I will show you." (Gen12:1) But you notice "who" does the moving. Terah, Abram's father. "(Gen11:31) It wasn't until Terah died that Abram left Haran. (11:32) But Jesus would say, "Follow me and let the dead bury their dead."(Mt8:22) And it wasn't until there were further family squabbles and Lot was out of his life, that God was finally able to fully make His covenant with Abraham regarding the land and the "seed." (13:14-17) God's covenant was with Abraham and "his" descendants...only. Not his previous extended family.
One of the most difficult matters regarding following God, is to "forsake all" to do so.(Lk14:33) In most cultures the "family" is also the seat of "religion." We said, above, that marriage is the most important "human" relationship. But even above that is the relationship with God. What does God require? "..to walk..with your God." (Mic6:8) Enoch is praised because he "walked with God." (Gen5:24,Heb11:5)
Why is there such a push, again, for "family"? As wonderful as it sounds, it is one of the keys to the current apostasy, and future deception when the antichrist rules. After all, who can naysay "family"?! But, what an effective tool to bring people "in line" with the majority, in the most personal way possible, on the way to "destruction"!! (Mt7:13)
But Jesus explains, "I did not come to send peace, but a sword..a man's foes shall be those of his own household."(Mt10:34-36) And then He tells the price for salvation. If a person wants to be saved, he must "leave father and mother [family]" in order to be "one with Christ." (Eph5:31-32) If he does not do this, he is "not worthy of [Christ]" ..and will "lose [his ETERNAL life]." (Mt10:38-39) Such denial of Christ will result in "whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in Heaven" (vs33) ..to the individual person He will say in that day, "I never knew you! Depart from Me..! (7:23)