Issue #57

It is sad to witness the demise of the family unit. There are so many dysfunctional families within society today. The struggles between husband and wife and parent and child, together with sibling rivalry, is in many ways a tragedy. Last week we investigated the counsel Paul gave to the married couples of the Ephesian church. He talked of the need for submission and love between husband and wife. We spent time unpacking what it means to be a wife as she submits herself to her husband as she does to the lord. We looked at the astounding requirement for the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church and were reminded that Jesus gave His life up for the church. We also realised that it was the husband’s duty to encourage his wife to walk with the Lord with enthusiasm and faithfulness. The first step in overcoming the tragedy of a dysfunctional family is for the husband and wife to be deeply in love with the Lord and one another and to live out Paul’s instruction!

But there are other players in the family – the children. They need great role models but they also must understand their place in the family. Paul gives very clear direction to children to obey and honour their parents. This is natural in all cultures. However God’s law also requires it and it is also one of the outcomes of the gospel taking root in the child’s heart. This is a great challenge for a child. When does a child no longer be a child? How has culture impacted the transforming of a child into an adult? Sadly, some parents never allow their children to grow and mature because they are always demanding and telling their children what to do.

Paul addresses this issue when he declares that parents, and in particular fathers, are not to exasperate their children. The parent’s role is in actual fact to prepare their child for adulthood. They are required to train up their child by instructing them in the ways of the Lord. They are to pass the baton of spiritual responsibility on to their children so that they can walk in maturity in all aspects of life! A parent should never irritate, infuriate or madden their child with irresponsible and excessive demands. They must remember the child’s age and help develop in them powers of reasoning so that they can make the important decisions of life themselves as they grow into their teenage years.

Paul concludes this section of his letter with a reminder of the importance of the worker and employer to work together by showing respect to one another. It is a sobering reminder that in the eyes of the Lord we are all equals regardless of who we are in society, what educational status we may have or what positions of importance we may occupy in the community.

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