Modern families take many different forms. But whatever shape our family takes, whoever we count among the members of this caring and loving group of people, we all rely on them for many universal things – support both financial and emotional, advice, a shoulder to cry on and an ear ready to listen to our most confidential problems.
While we can't choose our families, we can choose how we treat them. Too often we take them for granted because in most cases we never had to make an effort to establish an initial connection with them. Plus, they usually have a higher threshold of dealing with our more difficult behaviour so we're less likely to moderate our emotions around them.
Throughout the Bible we're reminded of the importance of family and provided with instruction on how different family members should demonstrate their love, understanding and appreciation for one another.
The relationships that we have with members of our family are some of the most dynamic but also some of the most important ones that we'll ever have. Just like any of the other notable connections, they need to be nurtured and they benefit from having Christ at the centre. Not all of our loved ones will be Christians, but that shouldn't stop us acting with the principles of our faith in mind when we interact with them.
For many of us, our families are the first people we have an opportunity to show to that we are followers of Christ. Whether we're parents raising our children to know and love Jesus, or the the grandparent giving out biblical rooted guidance, the role that we take on in each other's lives is so significant. Because of this it makes perfect sense that we should seek out scripture to refresh our memories of the spiritual aspects of these particular interactions.
Here are some of the pieces of advice and instruction on family life from the Bible that we can employ as we make an effort to ensure that our family relationships are guided by God.
1 Timothy 5:8 -Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Exodus 20:12 - "Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you."
Proverbs 22:6 - Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Ephesians 5:33 - However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:28 - In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
1 Corinthians 13:8 - Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Acts 10:2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.