It is a reverent thing to see an ancient castle
or building not in decay: or to see a fair
timber tree sound and perfect.
How much more to behold an ancient and noble
family which hath stood against the waves and
weathers of time.Sir Francis Bacon: Essays
God's Agenda for the Family
In the author's book, Crisis Counselling the family is described as God's primary unit for socialization. It was created, not as an afterthought, but as a part of God's original plan. From the beginning, God created the family as the primary institution for the training and development of all human beings. We find this illustrated very clearly in Genesis 2 and 3, where the Bible discusses the development of family life.
The family is not just a collection of individuals, but a system of people who interact with one another. A family unit is just that. Each individual member, as they interact, impact the others in a very significant way. There is no greater or more significant relationship that developed in human terms than that of the family.
It is also true that the body of Christ is designed to be a family for the people of God. All of us who are raised within the family system, recognize that the best of all parents are far from perfect. Therefore, the needs that we have for significance, acceptance, and approval are not totally met within our family of origin. This is one of the reasons that we need salvation, which comes through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his provision for us. We also need the body of Christ. We become members of the Body of Christ and one another to help and assist each other essentially becoming a family unit.
When families are not functioning well, the balance of the system, the homeostatic balance, can be upset. At times an identified patient can emerge. Many times we observe, especially with families with teenage children, that one of the teenagers will begin to act out. They may run away, do drugs or alcohol, etc. Some of this is caused by peer temptations: the devil attempts to bring about disruption in family life. However, many times it can be a symptom of a family that is not functioning well together. It is important to realise that the whole family is in crisis, not just an individual member. Pastors must be willing to deal with the whole family system without judgement or condemnation.
Family and Violence.These two words do not seem to belong together, yet each day all around the world, wives are physically, emotionally and sexually battered and abused by their husbands. Husbands and wives are attacked by out of control adolescents, children are neglected, abused and sexually traumatised, leaving life-long scars on the victims. This kind of family situation was certainly not God's plan for mankind and the family unit.
God's intention, as seen in Genesis 1 and 2, Ephesians 5, Colossians 3 and 1 Peter 3 as well as many other passages in the Word (see the appendix for a fairly comprehensive review of scriptures on marriage and family), was for husbands and wives to love and nurture one another, and for children to be raised in a loving environment. The fall of man, due to disobedience, has so tainted the world that the ideal of scripture (or even television with families like the Waltons, Father Knows Best, Leave It To Beaver and The Brady Bunch) seems almost impossible. Yet, God's plan is to have families who fulfill their call to be living examples in a sin-stained and torn world. Regardless of past circumstances, cultural values, individual differences, or psychological deficits, God desires to bring the family to wholeness through the power of Jesus Christ.