Core Questions: How do we live well in our families?

Core Questions is a monthly dive into different topics that are a core part of our shared human experience. We want to seek and understand who we are in light of God’s revealed truth. This month we are looking at our human experience of family. 

Earlier, we looked at why we have families. But this is only really meaningful for us if we can live well within our families. God has placed us here, but how do we invest in our family relationships, grow and mature from these relationships, and when we are most frustrated, not give up on these relationships?

Know and embrace your role.

Each of us has a different role within our family. Husbands are not and should not act like children in the home. Children should not take on a leadership role wherein their parents submit to them. 

Many times, our roles are clearly identified: husband, wife, child. But it is not always so cut-and-dry. Blended families have a unique place for the mother and step-mother. Orphans and widows should be cared for even if their biological family is no longer physically able to care for them. For all of us, as we grow up, move out, and get married, we begin to balance the role of being an adult child, a spouse, and a parent. Family relationships can get complicated!

Whatever your “role” in the family is, take heart from God’s call to each of us to love, encourage, and care for our brothers and sisters. Now that we have been adopted into God’s family, we are all brothers and sisters, because we are identified as God’s children. If you’re a mom, then love and encourage your husband, your kids, and your parents. If you’re a dad, then love and encourage your wife, your kids, and your parents. And yep, that includes your in-laws and that whole extended family that you married into.

Throughout Scripture, husbands and wives are told to love and respect each other, and children are told to honor their parents. None of these directions include a place for abuse, excessive authority, or blind obedience. None of these roles include Scriptural directive for who does the laundry or who balances the checkbook. Our churches and families of origin may designate some of these “roles” and if they are healthy, follow God, and work for your family, that is great. But as 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us, all of this ultimately comes back to how we love each other. 

Commit to your family.

There is a lot about our family that we do not choose. We don’t decide where and when to be born. We don’t decide who gets to be our brother or sisters in Christ. God chooses and calls his people, and He places us right where He wants us.

However, we do get to choose how well we will follow God by loving our families. You will be blessed and encouraged as you invest in your family relationships – both your family of origin and your church family. The more that we love, encourage, and pour into our family, the more that we enjoy and benefit from those relationships.