5 “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” ~ 1 Timothy 5:1-2
Family is Everything
Family is everything. Family is so important that it is the overriding topic God concerned Himself with in every inspired religious text known to man. So if the creator of the universe viewed family as having such an important role in the lives of everyone of His creations and it plays such a heavy role to our salvation then why is there so many broken homes, broken children, broken marriages, and broken relationships? By contrast we all should be family oriented, protecting our relationships be them, friends, family, and with God. Our country if not the world is headed head-long into a relationship crisis, but more about that later. For now the question which underlines this reflection is extraordinarily simple, but never-the-less paramount to our role in this life as it was designed by God. Could modern man have forgotten that our relationships are inexplicably linked to loyalty, love, and trust?
Families: a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head :Household (as defined in the Merriam Webster Dictionary – Found online @ http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/family
According to the standard dictionary the first meaning of the word family or families concerns the household. This definition is loosely linked to individuals who live under the same roof, spending day and night together through thick and thin, through hardship and pleasant times alike. This idea of a household is defined by the head of that household, it is a reflection of the policies which are in place that all members adhere too. In this way the head of the household carry’s tremendous weight and influence with all the other members and to some degree they are subject to the rule of the head of the house for better or for worse. It is interesting that when breaking this word down under such a meaning we can see how stark our own families complex and in some regard dysfunction becomes clear, and the root of the problems or boon can be traced to a singular person within the family who wheal the most influence. Often times in our humanity we fight and cause strife with that one person in order to declare dominance or to prove ones worth or specific knowledge but by-in-large all families fight among themselves and in the family of God we are given some specific guidelines to help ease and end our inner struggles. Chief among all commands to people at large and to families is simply;
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~ John 13:34-35
Here we see Jesus, the head of God’s household here on earth commands everyone to love one another, this is a direct reflection upon the kind of rule Jesus wishes to impose, and the world surly would recognise a member of Jesus’s household by how they love others. Surely Jesus’s household then is one of peace and tranquility. In practice fighting would be shunned, so would bulling, manipulating, and divisive tactics because people who love others could not sink to such depths for love holds us automatically to a higher standard, true love holds us accountable to our actions. This also draws in a higher level of respect for each member of the family and all those out side the family unit or household. In this context morality rules, the fight between good and evil is revealed, and evil is concurred. So it goes without saying that when we submit to this command from Jesus and apply it to our lives it’s not surprising that our life is forever changed, as is our relationships within our family and household. But Jesus did not stop there, he also commanded;
12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” ~ Matthew 7:12
Jesus in His commands for the family used an all-inclusive word when he said, “In everything”, which no fancy expensive lawyer could argue the meaning whether implied, inferred, or stated boldly. Jesus commanded us to treat others the same way you wish to be treated in every action, word, deed, and dealings you have with other people. The awesome part of this command is simple physiology; no one wants to be treated badly. If every person adhered to this command there would be no fighting, no killing, no violence, no cussing, harassing, and there would be no person who would treat another human being rudely or with disrespect because no one wants those things to be done to them. Again we are lifted to a higher level of living and it again transforms every aspect of life. Together, these two commands are all we need to end wars and skirmishes alike. Not surprising these two commands also automatically endow loyalty, love, and trust. Therefore, a household ruled by these two commands found in John 13:34-35 and Matthew 7:12 is a household filled with God’s love and His divine blessing.
Above we have two extraordinary edicts that we as human-beings are to live by, they give us a way to build internal happiness and joy in our lives through the members of our household that can extend out to our external families and friends if we let it. Likewise in the first scripture of this post we see in 1 Timothy 5:1-2 that God clearly wanted us to treat others outside the family unit with the same level of respect, love, and forgiveness. This edict also overlaps how we are to treat those members of our family which we do not see as often or spend as much time with, but again Timothy extended the reach of this by including old men, old women, young men and young women. These people do not need to be part of your family at all therefore by logic we are to treat everyone as if they where part of your family. Because in reality we are all part of Gods family and therefore in the eyes of God we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.
Families: a group of persons of common ancestry : clan (as defined in the Merriam Webster Dictionary – Found online @ http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/family
In this second definition of family we find the main focus within small groups of people who identify themselves within a specific population. This meaning can also encompass words like tribe or kin. Most specifically the word clans deal with traditional kinship groups sharing a common surname and heritage and existing in a lineage based society prior to the 17th century, where as the word tribes are more indicative of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states. Many anthropologists used the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship. The common thread within this definition of family is found in the word “kinship”, which is a word that denotes a people who may or may not be members of the same family but cooperate for the benefit of all members of the group, tribe, or clan. In these organizations men and women intermingle with a set rule or law that resembles closely to the aforementioned commands of Jesus. The most striking aspect of this could be found within the one particular christian teaching that also finds it’s roots within the Jewish faith;
Q77 “Jesus Explained to His disciples, “If a companion does something wrong to you, go to the person and point this out. But do it privately. If your friend listens and says, ‘I’, sorry,’ forgive and your bond will be strengthened.” “But how often must I forgive the same person?” asked one of his disciples. “Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
Most clans and tribes had a means for two people within the tribe to settle their differences most often privately. Indeed this made the members of the specific tribes or clans grow closer and in the harshest of times the treads of unity ran so deep that it was not uncommon for all the members to support a single person or family within the group that faced difficulty from either internal or external forces, and all members of the clan or tribe took this struggle personally, rallying to the aid of the one standing united; not ever leaving the one family to their fate. Like bee’s you attack one then expect the whole hive to chase you down. However, the root cause of this closeness within the tribal culture is in how they dealt with internal conflict and forgiveness played a huge part of that internal bond. Thus, we see if applied properly deep strife can be overcome within the family unit, as it was within tribal societies, and or clans both of which viewed themselves as a larger family extended out beyond the immediate family. In this manner we all should protect our families, safeguard them from the outside world much like the tribes of the Americas or the Clans of Ireland. Find ways to forgive your family members in the exact manner Jesus described in Q77 and do this as instructed in Matthew 7:12, “In everything”, you do, linked to John 13:34-35, “love one another.” The family that loves reflects the blessing of God and the family that protects it’s members is a family that God loves greatly.
Strengthening Families Spiritually
I could never write the meaning of the goal our God endows us all with in the area of strengthening our families spiritually, the responsibilities God placed at every persons feet, especially fathers and mothers alike, than that of ROBERT D. HALES, Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who spoke on this topic so eloquently. See below;
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