Why is Family Important?

I recently attended a family reunion. On Sunday morning, I was asked to bring a short message. This is what I shared.

A family is a place to belong. I am told that a major draw for young people, particularly middle school age children, to join gangs is that they are looking for a group in which to belong. With absentee fathers and single parents, with our culture’s obsession with self-absorption, families many times are lonely places where children are left to fend for themselves. In describing God’s view of the church as a family, the apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 2:19, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…” Being fellow citizens and members of God’s household provides a place to belong in relationship to God and other believers. This is what family was intended to be.

A family is a place of identity. Every family has a common name that designates that family as unique from others with a different name. To say that I am a Sharp designates me as being part of a group of people who have at least that one thing in common. There was a time many hundreds of years ago that people with a particular name would have all lived in a certain geographic area. They would have had similar physical characteristics. All people had to do is tell their names and everyone would have known what kind of persons they were. All of us get our identities from our families, genetically, socially, religiously, etc. Paul says in Ephesians 3:14-15 that “the whole family” of God “in heaven and earth” is named from “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” As believers, we get our identity from our heavenly Father and His family.

A family is a place of training. Hebrews 2:10 says that “It was appropriate for [the Father], in bringing many (children) to glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” Even the Son of God needed to be trained by His Father; and the sons and daughters were set apart or sanctified in the same way as the Son. Family is where discipline takes place. In the Bible, the word discipline does not refer to punishment; it refers to training. Pain is usually involved as the word “sufferings” implies. In our culture, training is largely missing from family life. Everything is built around the desires of the children. Vacations are planned around what the children want to do. Daily life and the weekly schedule revolve around the activities of the children. Children grow up in American families believing that the world revolves around them and their desires. Many children never grow up, never become truly adult, because they are not trained.

In the same Scripture passage, Hebrews 2:10-11, because of the training that believers receive from the Father, “the Author of their salvation…is not ashamed to call them brothers (and sisters).” A family is a place of acceptance. Paul says in Ephesians 1:6 that the Father has “made us accepted in the Beloved.” Families are the place where we are accepted no matter what we have done, no matter where we have been. We are accepted in the family simply because we are part of the family. It doesn’t matter if we have a disability or we don’t look like our siblings. We are accepted because we belong. We belong because we have the proper identity. I am a Sharp. My father is a Sharp. My siblings are Sharps. I am accepted because of who I am, not because of what I do.

None of us come from perfect families. Our parents made mistakes. As a parent, I have made mistakes; I have done things that were wrong, that I shouldn’t have done. I can look at the things that are wrong in my family; but if I choose to concentrate on those things, I become bitter and angry. Instead, if I look at the good things, at the benefits of my heritage, I can thank God that I have people around me who accept me and I am a part of a group of people where I belong.

Categories Pastors Blog | Tags: | Posted on July 30, 2013

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