Where Has the American Family Gone?

Family TreeAre you asking yourself these days where has the American family gone? Have you had it with your interfering mother? Sick and tired of your bratty sister, who always seems to get her way? Sometimes we would like to just write family off, especially when they are making poor decisions or their behavior impacts us in some way. But, what does God’s word say about family? Should we just walk away? Take someone else’s side? Give up on them?

MERCY

The Bible tells us to be merciful:

Show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. There are still others to whom you need to show mercy, but be careful that you aren’t contaminated by their sins. (Jude 22 & 23)
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else (1 Th. 5:15).

So, even if we are livid at someone in our family, we should do our best to show them mercy. Don’t just throw your hands up and ask where has the American family gone? Trust in the Lord to change that person’s heart for the better, but don’t expect it to happen instantaneously. However, vindictive, hateful acts from you will not improve the situation. Why would that person want more of Jesus when you represent him and act hateful?

Bad Companions and Poor Advice

No matter how well-meaning, some people give poor advice which can impact your life for the worse. Young people are particularly susceptible to this type of influence, which can come from friends, other family members and even the parents of friends at times.

He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm (Pr. 13:20).

The verse above says it all. If you are getting foolish advice, you are likely to make foolish choices. It becomes really important to understand discernment. Young people, you don’t have it yet in many areas. I’m sorry, but I didn’t have it at your age either. Experience teaches us who we can trust and who has good advice and we slowly gain this discernment. This is why the Lord has put people in your life who are older and act like they know more than you – they do about some things. The Bible clearly makes a statement about the importance of family in many places, particularly the importance of parents:

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you (Ex. 20:12).

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck (Pr. 1:8-9).

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”which is the first commandment with a promise “that it may go well with your and that you may enjoy long life on the earth (Eph. 6:1-3).

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord (Col. 3:20).

Does the Bible say if your parents are wrong in some areas that you don’t have to honor or obey them? No, it says obey them in everything. Obviously, you don’t want to go against the Lord’s word, so if your parent tells you to do something evil you should not do it. However, this is rarely the case with most parents. Parents are human and they make mistakes.

So, what happens when someone tells you that you shouldn’t have to listen to your parents for whatever reason? Is that person right in doing this? Of course not. I have a perfect example. I have a cousin. She went to live with a friend that was a very bad influence. She disobeyed her mother, went against everyone in her family to do this. That cousin’s life has spiraled out of control since that time, which is a direct result of being out of God’s will. She is now on drugs and we aren’t sure if she’s going to be okay or not. The mother of her friend was wrong. She spoke out against my cousin’s mother and she created a situation where my cousin had the choice to take sides and disobey. Because my cousin was living in disobedience, her life began to crumble slowly, a little at a time. It’s very sad and I see similar situations all the time.

Remember that most families are your family forever. Your mother is your mother when you are a small child, when you are that rebellious teen and when you are 80 years old. Anyone who tries in any way or enables you in any way to drive a wedge between you and your family is point blank wrong to do so. I would have to question whether this person was even saved and if they are saved where their walk with Christ is, because I don’t believe that someone who is filled with the Word would even offer such an option to a child. What could the possible motivation be, when the child is safe and loved? Just because the child disagrees with the parent’s choices for them, does not mean those choices are not valid.

Friends are for a season. Sometimes a long season of summer, with days of laughter and lemonade. And sometimes, friends are for a short, spring season with blooming flowers and the sweet fragrance of fuzzy memories. But, family… Ah, family. Family is there forever. With all its imperfections and heartache, family is always there. With all of its funny moments of hilarity and shared jokes from years of knowing one another, family is always there. With all of its embarrasing moments, sad moments and just being together moments, family is always there.

So, the next time you hear someone say, “Where has the American family gone?” Just smile and tell them the only answer they need is found between the chapters of Genesis and Revelation.

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