Pastor Joe Miller IV
I apologize it took so long to address this issue; I hope it’s not too late. In the last couple of weeks, I have received a number of phone calls from parents about some conflicts they were having in their families. The age of the children does not matter. Whether 5, 15, or 25, we all run into family issues between parents and children, especially in this season. We find ourselves being forced to spend all of our time together. [Side note: this is an answer to a lot of prayers - that families would learn to spend more time together and stop worshiping money, sports, and entertainment. Just saying, so quit complaining and embrace the opportunity, in love.]
Family conflict is an age-old problem even amongst Christians. At Harvest a few months back, we started a small groups ministry for the purpose of biblical instruction, accountability, and community. Let me remind you that God, in the beginning, was the originator of small groups - the family unit! A group consisting of a dad and mom and children living together in a household. It is important to note that the family was created by God (before sin) in that perfect scenario, not out of a consequence of sin. And remember what God loves, Satan hates, and with all his tactics, he is out to destroy.
We can all agree that addiction, greed, and pride are goals of Satan in our lives, but these are just avenues that he uses to cause discord in the family. Generally, the health of nations, societies, and even churches depends on the functionality of God-fearing families. So you say, “Okay Joe, I know all of that and the importance of family, but we are going to kill each other, help!” The Scriptures always have the answers.
2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
First of all, the children.
Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
The sole duty of children, according to God’s Word, is to obey their parents, not to judge the worthiness of their words. Obey them and not to ask and choose what is pleasing to themselves, but to obey in all things which is pleasing to God.
Hear ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
In Proverbs, I see two principles to help families. Again to the children - listen to your parents. They are the number one avenue that God uses to reveal instruction and understanding. In verse 3, it reminds the child of the experience and wisdom of the parents. “I was in your shoes.” Also in verse 3, I see a valuable principle to remind the parents. “I was my father’s son.” Parenthood is not a bully platform to lord over your children and say, “I was your age, so do what I tell you to do!” I say to the parents - because you were that age why don’t you look in a mirror and reflect on when you were that age? In other words, identify with them.
In a way, God did through Jesus. In Hebrews 2, we see that God’s desire, driven by love, was to put on flesh to become a man and suffer through temptations to help us when we are tempted. He experienced all of our weaknesses.
Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Like a perfect, loving parent to a helpless child. Also, to become a merciful and faithful high priest. We, as parents, should put on the heart of Jesus and look in the mirror and remember being ‘their age.’ It should cause us to become a more merciful and faithful parent. Generally, attitude reflects leadership, so let us reflect the love of God to our families. Let the peace of God rule. Let us all hold up our families in prayer.