God’s Purpose for the Family

 

“In thee [Abraham] shall all families of the earth be blessed…” (Genesis 12:3).

 “For I have known (chosen, acknowledged) him [Abraham] [as My own] so that he may teach and command his children and the sons of his house after him to keep the way of the LORD and to do what is just and righteous, so the LORD may bring Abraham what He has promised him” (Genesis 18:19 Amp).

“And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).

 

            As people pursuing holiness, living under a covenant of complete consecration to the will of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ, everything in life takes on a purpose. Everything is eternally significant. Absolutely nothing is done without the fulfillment of God’s purpose and desire being the ultimate objective. We were created for that reason—to fulfill God’s purpose and thus glorify His name forever. That is our only reason for being here. There is nothing in this world more important than loving God and dedicating ourselves to His cause—no job, no financial opportunity, no educational attainment, no romantic endeavor, and no social achievement.

This grand, overarching purpose for life also applies to marriage, including the reason for getting married. Why do people get married in the first place? Usually, because they love each other. They want to enjoy each other emotionally and physically. They seek happiness and security. They like the wonderful feeling of having someone they can call their own for life. Or they marry for other similar reasons. 

But none of these motivations represent the real purpose for marriage. The purpose of marriage is not just to be in love and enjoy each other. That’s Hollywood’s idea; that’s why they stay together only as long as they feel love and enjoyment with each other. But from a holiness perspective, God has a greater purpose and plan for marriage, one that every couple professing holiness should fit themselves into. What is that greater purpose? This is the question we will discuss in this article.

Some young couples get married and immediately proceed to fill up their lives with selfish purposes and endeavors. They become a business partnership to gain as much financial security as possible, helping each other to develop their individual careers and combining their energies and income to accumulate big houses, expensive cars, great 401K plans, and other assets. Or they become a social partnership to help each other achieve their social goals. They become each other’s emotional “security blanket.” (Of course, God does give you to one another to provide some emotional security, but by no means does God ever intend for you to get more security from any other person in the world than you get from Him. He is to be your ultimate “security blanket,” with or without a spouse.)

Or they become mostly a physical entity, becoming obsessed with each other sexually until the newness rubs off and they split up. Some decide that they do not want to have children because it would interfere with what they want to do with their lives or with their relationship with each other. Others decide to socially withdraw from the rest of the world to concentrate only on each other. Obviously, marriage can have a way of distracting people from the main purpose of life.

But the ultimate purpose of marriage is spiritual—not physical, emotional, or social. Each new marriage forms a new spiritual entity or partnership—a family—that has spiritual responsibilities to God and to society. This is true with or without children in the family. God has designed the family as the first source of spiritual training and preparation for life, spiritual inspiration and motivation, and spiritual productivity for the cause of God. The family is to serve as the first channel of God’s blessings and revelations, a place where He can establish a direct contact and relationship with each of the members, including the children.

In other words, the family is supposed to provide the physical, emotional, social, economic, and spiritual needs of its members so that they can become productive and useful for God and His work in the earth. Merely paying the bills and surviving is not God’s plan for any family. Spending all of its resources and strength on itself is not God’s plan for any family. Maintaining a relationship—merely for the sake of having the comfort of a relationship—is not God’s plan for any family. Just keeping life going is not God’s chief plan for any family.

 

Every Christian Family Has A Special Call From God

Unfortunately, many families get bogged down in these ways, but God has a higher purpose for each family. It is not merely to have fun and enjoy each other’s company for a lifetime. His desire is for the family to produce spiritually and emotionally mature human beings who in turn get the work of God done in the earth. This is the ultimate reason for getting married. This is the ultimate reason for forming a family. From a holiness perspective, anything less is missing the mark.

Every Christian family should realize early after its formation—or even before—that it has a special calling from God to fulfill the prophecy as children of Abraham through Christ to “bless all the other families of the earth.” God promised Abraham, “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed…” (Genesis 12:3), a direct prophecy that Abraham’s chief contribution to the world would come through the Person of Jesus Christ. The Bible clearly teaches that believers are the children of Abraham today through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 2:29; 4:13; Galatians 3:29), so this prophecy and responsibility to “bless” the world applies to us today.

Christian couples have this calling upon their lives first as individuals but also as a family unit. The whole family—both parents and all the children God wants them to produce—must find out and fulfill their specific calling together, purposefully living every moment of their lives with this calling in mind, always aware that they have no other reason for their existence.

Thus, in a family professing holiness, both partners must make God’s program their family program and pursue it diligently and exclusively. Their motto should be, “Ain’t no business but God’s business,” and they must live their lives accordingly. As the children grow, they are included in the family ministry and calling, and should remain in that calling until they receive their own call directly from God. The idea of being outside a God-given calling, free to concentrate on secular pursuits and ambitions, should be foreign to a family operating from a holiness perspective.

One Christian leader, Dr. Dave Simmons of the “Dad the Family Shepherd” seminars, summarizes: “God established the family as His smallest battle formation in His conflict with Satan.”

Therefore, any battle concerning the family is literally a battle “in the trenches.” If Satan can get the family to fail in its responsibility to prepare humans to live in this world and to live for the next world as God intended—if he can instead get them to produce millions of worldly-thinking, emotionally-wounded, spiritually ignorant souls that do not love or even know God—then he will succeed in damaging and possibly destroying every human institution that depends on the family. He will have won the battle at the grassroots level (although, of course, he will ultimately lose the overall war). But think how many souls he will have dragged down to hell with him.

It does not make sense for Jesus Christ to suffer and die on the cross, to save us from our sins, to provide everything we will ever need for the “more abundant” life—but leave us Christians unable to avoid having rotten, soul-damaging families that are plagued with divorce and separation, afflicted with alienation and unhappiness, incapable of achieving anything for God because of a worldly mentality and worldly ambitions, and unable to prevent losing most of our children to the world. Therefore, we must win this “battle of the trenches.”

According to Dr. Simmons, there are at least four major purposes for the family, all of which are referred to in principle in Genesis 1:26-28: 

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule (‘have dominion’) over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule (‘have dominion’) over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”

Thus, these four purposes for the family emerge from this passage: (1) To Reflect the image of God; (2) To Conduct Government For God; (3) To Produce and Raise A Godly Heritage; and (4) To Nurture God's People. We will further discuss these four purposes below.

(1) To Reflect the Image of God (“…in Our image”).

            After God created the universe, the earth, plant life, and all animal life, He then created a new creation, one different from all the rest in one very important point. He created human beings. Humans have fleshly bodies like animals, made from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:19), but God Himself breathed the “breath of life” into man’s nostrils and he became a “living soul” (Genesis 2:7). By this act, God imparted to humans a little piece of Himself, thereby lifting man from the condition of being a mere, transient animal into the state of being a permanent, part-physical, part-spiritual creation.

Thus, human beings belong both to the physical or natural realm and the spiritual or heavenly realm. They possess a soul and a spirit that come directly from God and that exist, like God, eternally. This spiritual body also feels, thinks, and relates to the world as God does.  This is what God meant by His statement, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26-27; 5:1).

As a spiritual being, man is thus able to communicate with and relate to God. In fact, he is required to. In essence, man is like an animal that has been given the capability to connect to the heavenly realm. But if he does not relate to God in the spiritual realm, if he lives his life merely in the physical realm, then he has failed to live up to his full potential with which God created him. He is then living only as an animal, falling far “short of the glory of God”  (Romans 3:23).

The Psalmist asks the question, “What is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You visit him? For You made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet…” (Psalm 8:4-6). Man, because of his physical body, is a “little lower than the angels,” who are only spiritual. But he is not as low as the animals, which are only physical. Thus, man is a one-of-a-kind, in-between creature, a sort of spiritualized animal.

Included in the image of God is the ability to possess the attributes of God. This includes emotions like love, joy, peace, security, kindness, and other positive, God-like qualities. It also includes the possession of superior intelligence, curiosity, complex desires, the need for companionship and relationships, the need to find meaning in life, to worship something somewhere, etc.

It was God’s intention for these positive attributes to be nurtured and perpetuated through the relationships and interconnectedness of the human family. He designed into human beings a need and craving for positive, loving relationships. We suffer untold damage without these interconnections. God Himself is a God of love and light, and He wants us to reflect His love and light in this world. This is especially true now that sin has broken the spiritual connection man had with God, and the world is now filled with darkness.

The family also reflects the image of God in its structure. Just as the Trinity is made up of three Persons in One—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—so marriage as God designed it is three persons in one: God, Who is over the husband, who is over the wife. The Apostle Paul reviews this set up in 1 Corinthians 11:3: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

Thus, the idea and practice of starting families without all of the necessary components is contrary to God’s design for the family to reflect His image. A proper family is not just a motley group of people who love each other and decide to live together, as some people define it today. A proper family is not a couple of men or a couple of women who decide to make themselves into a “family.”  Nor is it just a male and a female who cohabitate for a while without the permanent commitment of marriage. A properly-formed family is not just a woman who chooses to have a baby and raise it on her own. A proper family consists of three necessary ingredients: a husband, a wife, and God as the ultimate Head.

We know that unfortunate circumstances arise all the time, often beyond a person’s control, that prevent the proper formation and functioning of a family, and in such cases the single parent should learn to lean very heavily on God and the church family for support. Still, everyone involved, including society, is greatly damaged when any of these three basic ingredients of a proper family are missing.

 

(2) To Conduct Government For God (“…rule, have dominion, subdue”).

            Now the purpose of being made in God’s image is so that we can operate on earth in God’s stead. The second purpose of the family is to conduct government for God. It is God’s intention for humans to have dominion over all of the rest of His earthly creation in order to bring everything into harmony with Him and His will. This concept is repeated throughout the Bible—in Genesis, in Psalm 8:6 and Hebrews 2:7-8 (“You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet”), and elsewhere.

Because human beings possess the image of God and many of the abilities of God, they are the only creation on earth capable of having dominion. It was therefore incumbent upon man to set in order all of God’s creation: to build government and maintain order, to develop civilization, to organize earthly efforts, to harness the power and abilities of the rest of creation, etc. The ultimate object of all of this ruling and having dominion, however, was not to make man himself into a god, but to maintain the worship, service, and glorifying of the one true God, the one true Sovereign King, throughout the whole of creation. (How horribly we have failed!)

In Genesis 2, Adam in the Garden began fulfilling his commission to “have dominion.” However, it soon became apparent that the tools he had been given were not adequate. He needed a “helper fitting or suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). Thus, woman was created, and the concept of marriage and family was begun. He needed her, of course, in order fulfill God’s order to “be fruitful,” but also to provide support, domestication and harnessing of male aggression, relationship-building skills, and a new perspective in his endeavor to build civilization.

This tells us that the family as God defined it is essential if human beings are truly to have dominion over creation. It serves as further proof that every family has a specific God-given calling and purpose to fulfill. This also tells us that the family alone must evidently impart some special qualities that enable people to rise to their full potential, and without which they cannot have dominion. This is especially true since sin entered the world and everything is now corrupted from God’s original state.

What exactly are some of those special qualities that are to come through the family? These qualities include the concepts of love, acceptance of others, placing a high value on life, self-esteem, security, morality, peace, justice, mercy, liberty, self-denial for the good of others, and protection of the rights of the individual. These things are learned best within the structure of a strong family, which explains why so many of these qualities are missing from our society today: Our families are very weak.

But most of all, the family is to impart and perpetuate the experiential knowledge of God. Only by possessing these special qualities are people, and governments made of people, fit to rule.

Thus, if the family, for any reason, is prevented from producing people who possess these special qualities, the whole society suffers. The society, the government, and the average person will be motivated by selfishness, and selfishness is always self-destructive. History has shown that any society ruled by selfishness eventually collapses upon itself. Such societies do not contain the internal motivating forces that enable it to maintain law and order, respect for others and life in general, self-sacrifice for the good of the whole, and the morality that prevents it from sowing to the flesh and reaping corruption that eventually becomes too much for it to deal with.

 

(3) To Produce and Raise A Godly Heritage (“…multiply and fill the earth”).

            One of the most important purposes of the family is to raise a godly heritage—to fill the earth with God-fearing, morally-mature, emotionally-sound, Spirit-filled, righteousness-working, God-worshiping young people who, in turn, will do the same after they become parents. God’s desire is that parents would concentrate on building character and a godly spirit into their children. His desire is that His people would extend a godly heritage throughout the present world and down through the coming generations.

Notice the following scripture passages regarding children:

 “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed…”(Genesis 12:3).

“Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.” (Malachi 2:15 New Living Translation).

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them…”(Psalm 127:3-5).

“I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments…”(Psalm 78:2-7).

“For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39).

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house…”(1 Timothy 5:14).

“But women will be saved through childbearing or will be saved by accepting their roles as mothers [marginal reading],and by continuing to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty” (1 Timothy 2:15 NLT).

    

From these passages we get God’s perspective on the family in regards to children. The first scripture, Genesis 12:3, clearly introduces the concept that the ultimate purpose of a righteous family is to “bless” all of the other families in the earth. There is no way that God will be pleased with His “chosen” families getting bogged down with the mundane tasks of mere survival or distracted by the temptations of material prosperity or worldly ambition. He has a grand eternal purpose and a life-giving ministry for every family, because His intention is that every godly family should in some way “bless” all the other families of the earth.

Malachi 2:15 (NLT) contains another very interesting concept. It is also a very challenging concept in our world of today, where marriage and having children are increasingly disassociated from each other. More and more marriages are childless for a variety of reasons, and more and more children exist outside of wedlock. The prophet asks: “Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does He want? Godly children from your union.”

A similar reading comes from the Contemporary English Version (CEV): “Didn’t God create you to become like one person with your wife? And why did he do this? It was so you would have children, and then lead them to become God’s people. Don’t ever be unfaithful to your wife.” And many other translations give exactly the same message.

Here is God’s meaning in plain English: “Your spirit is Mine, and your body is Mine because I made you. I also created marriage, where you could find love and happiness and physical pleasure with another human being and still be in My will. But I’ll let you have the exciting privilege of being one and having sex with your wife because I want you to have children from your union—for Me.” Although this does not mean that sex is only for procreation, it clearly reveals that God is making a deal here: I give you the privilege to have and enjoy sex; you give Me godly children.

In other words, under holiness and the Lordship of Jesus Christ, God Himself claims to be the ruler over our “reproductive rights and powers.” When we completely consecrate our lives and everything we are and ever will be to God, this includes our fertility: the ability to create a new human being. He gives us the right to use good, sanctified judgment and common sense in the matter, but He does not give us the right to be selfish.

Nor does He give us the privilege to allow secular humanism and worldly philosophies to dictate our practices regarding family planning, attitudes towards abortion, and other issues involving human sexuality and reproduction. If today’s Christians were to research this matter, they would probably be surprised to find that “until 1930, Christian churches—without exception—condemned contraception in the strongest terms. The Protestant reformers, whom we revere, went as far as to call it ‘murder.’”1

These words are quoted from Presbyterian-turned-Catholic theologian Scott Hahn in “A Lie in the Language of Love,” a phrase coined by the late Pope John Paul II. His premise is that sex in marriage is the total gift of self, an oath in action, an embrace in which a man and a woman hold nothing back from one another. This rules out the possibility of divorce, adultery, premarital sex—and artificial contraception.

“For contracepting couples do hold something back, and it's perhaps the single greatest power two human beings can possess: their fertility, the ability to co-create with God a new life, body and soul, destined for eternity… [To reflect God’s] love, [i]t must be faithful, monogamous, indissoluble, and fruitful”2

This view was at one time the overriding consensus in the Christian community. So obviously, teaching against artificial contraception was not just a Catholic peculiarity as it is today, but a widespread Christian belief that has succumbed to humanistic philosophies only in the last few decades.

Another argument for tying the producing of children to marriage is what could be called a natural argument: Sometimes certain aspects of God’s will are revealed in and through nature, i.e., by what is natural. For example, it is natural for males to mate with females. The two are complementary. It is not natural for males to mate with other males or females with other females. The equipment simply does not match up quite right. This is why Paul speaks of homosexuality as being “against nature:”  “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly… (Romans 1:26-27). So Mother Nature herself teaches that homosexuality is against God’s intentions.

Similarly, it is also natural for females to have babies through the process of mating. Fruitless mating is not natural. Prevention of conception and birth is an unnatural capability made possible by birth control pills, abortion, and the like. All of these preventative measures are man-made, and have only become effective and widespread enough to affect society in the last couple of generations.

Before the 1960’s, the idea that a woman could prevent herself from ever having children so that she could concentrate on her career or other pursuits was hardly realistic. If she got married and became sexually active, inevitably she was going to conceive and give birth. There was hardly any way to avoid it.

But man has always “sought out many inventions” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) to get around what God through nature has ordained. The development of the birth control pill and other effective birth control methods, not to mention the legalization of abortion, is what has enabled recent generations of women to have the choice of whether to concentrate on a career or concentrate on a family. Women now have a choice, but that choice is entirely artificial, not natural or God-given, and as such, ethically questionable.

Christian couples practicing holiness and complete dedication to God must be extremely careful about accepting and utilizing choices made by a world that is constantly bent on avoiding God’s will.

Birth control, if used at all, is not supposed to prevent or eliminate having children but, at most, to help a couple regulate the timing of their children. Of course, even the timing of when to have a baby must be prayerfully considered because what we might consider to be good timing is not always God’s timing. It is an indisputable fact that having a baby every year is not the healthiest or wisest choice for either the mother or her babies. So birth control can help couples regulate the frequency of births.

But Christian couples should never use it to eliminate births altogether in order for the wife to dedicate her life to her career or personal development, or because they just don’t like or want children, or because they want to travel and enjoy life, or because they think the world is too evil, or because “I’m just not good at mothering and homemaking,” or because “we just can’t afford it,” or the like.

If birth control is used, we recommend that natural family planning (e.g., fertility awareness methods, rhythm, breastfeeding, abstinence, etc.) be the preferable method used, as opposed to artificial birth control (e.g., barrier methods like condoms, caps, and spermicides; abortive methods like IUDs and Plan B; hormonal manipulators like pills, patches, and injections, some of which are associated with higher risks of heart attack, stroke, higher blood pressure, bone density loss, bleeding, and blood clots;3 or surgical methods). For more information on Natural Family Planning (NFP), do an internet search on “Natural Family Planning” to find several good sites, e.g., natural birth control, natural family planning, et.al.

The misdirected use of birth control to completely prevent childbearing is based on the assumption that the woman’s most valuable and primary responsibility is to do everything and anything but concentrate on producing and raising a godly heritage for God. Such an assumption is false. Because raising a godly heritage is one of the chief purposes of the Christian family, having children should be viewed, not merely as a privilege, but as a duty of Christian parents. All of the scriptures we have read so far indicate that it pleases God for His children to bear children to raise them for Him. Thus, one of the primary callings of a Christian wife is to bear and nurture a godly heritage for the Kingdom of God. Only she can do this.

This doesn’t mean that she cannot be involved in other tasks or endeavors, simply that her life is to be centered around the care of her family. The “Virtuous Woman of Proverbs 31” was very involved in many endeavors, even running a successful business from her home, but it all revolved around the nurturing of her family. This is actually the most important task in the world, and every wife and mother should feel proud that she has been chosen to play such a significant role. It is also essential for her to feel happy and fulfilled in this role, because the blessings to herself, her husband and children, and society in general cannot be measured. “Her children rise up and call her blessed, and her husband praises her” (Proverbs 31:28).

Of course, this teaching is greatly offensive in our world today, even to many Christian couples. Therefore, submission to the divine will is required here, as it is in every other area of a life of holiness. That is, the Christian life of discipleship is filled with many difficult areas that cut across the grain (our “crosses”), and this is just one of them.

Therefore, Christian couples must deliberately submit to God regarding this concept: (1) The wife must submit to God to conceive and bear the children; (2) the husband must submit to God to lead his family and actually give his life (i.e., his privilege to live selfishly for himself) for his wife and children; and (3) the couple must submit to God to concentrate on raising their children only for the Lord. By this we mean raising them to be untainted and unmarred with secular humanistic worldviews, crippling emotional insecurities, false, non-eternal values, etc.

Accordingly, the couple must submit to dedicating their lives to literally pouring themselves into their children: their knowledge of God, their eternal values, their strength of character, their self-discipline, their social skills—everything they have and are. Obviously, if the parents do not have these qualities, then they must submit and bring themselves under the discipline of the Lord to obtain them. Doing this right is obviously a full time responsibility.

Paul’s statement above to Timothy is that the “younger women should marry, bear children, and guide the home” [Strong’s Concordance: “be the head of (i.e., rule) a family”] (1 Tim. 5:14). This verse expresses the Biblical principle to support our assertion that making a home is the natural role for women. This is not merely a social custom for that time and that society: In 1 Timothy 2:15 he appears to make a connection between a woman “accepting her role as a mother”(LNT and numerous other translations) and her salvation.

According to New Testament Greek commentator Marvin R. Vincent, the common explanation is that this phrase is “referring to all Christian mothers, who will be saved in fulfilling their proper destiny and acquiescing in all the conditions of a Christian woman’s life…”3 Admittedly, this scripture is somewhat obscure and a little ambiguous: some commentators believe that it refers to being saved through “the Childbearing,” i.e., through Jesus.

But the principle of women having a natural, God-given homemaking role is still biblical. And, even if we don’t allow for God at all, mothering and homemaking is obviously the natural, physiological role given to women by Mother Nature or evolution, if we wanted to argue from those perspectives. 

Furthermore, for a female to refuse to have children is a form of rejecting her own identity. A woman’s identity and natural definition of femaleness is permanently and inherently tied to her ability to conceive, carry, give birth to, and nurture children. Everything about her— physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially, from the way she thinks to the way she moves—is a built-in, inseparable part of her ability to bear children. To refuse to allow this natural ability to be utilized is thus a negation of her own identity, a rejection of a dimension of her being that makes her who she is. Having and raising children fulfills her natural calling.

Child bearing and child raising also have the effect of expanding and enriching both parents. It develops and increases their ability to love. It provides a transcendent purpose in life as they concentrate on something beyond their own personal development and as they become responsible for someone completely dependent on them. And child raising grows and matures their characters with intangible qualities they can learn only by experiencing children. A huge realm of the human experience can be tapped into only by having children. To refuse to allow children into their lives cuts off both husbands and wives from this invaluable dimension and whole-being growth process. This is not something they should voluntarily deny themselves from experiencing.

Of course, our modern society has very successfully re-educated young women to believe the lies that marriage is unnecessary, children are unnecessary, and the two—marriage and children—are not necessarily connected at all. And our society is suffering greatly for this failure to encourage women to concentrate on nurturing properly-formed families and building a next generation that is emotionally, spiritually, morally, and socially healthy.

We find several more important concepts expressed in Psalm 127:3-5: “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Notice this verse is not necessarily saying that children are a heritage or reward we get from God, as it is often understood. Instead, it could be saying that children are a reward we give to God. God sees our children as the “heritage” He gets from us.

Although some may not like this metaphor, it is like a master in Bible times owning a pair of slaves, husband and wife. When his servants had babies, the babies also belonged to the master, thus increasing his number of servants for free. The more of these “freebies,” the better. Abraham, with his large household of hundreds of servants, was just such a master—and so is God. He is actually looking for us to produce godly offspring for Him. They are His “reward.” They are His “freebies.” If He owns us—godly servants—He expects us to have children.

And He expects us to make sure they serve Him. The idea that our children should be believers is made clear in the passages above, and also in Psalms 78:2-7, Ephesians 6:3, Acts 2:39, 1 Timothy 3:4, 12, and Titus 1:6. Christians, especially leaders, should have “faithful children,” meaning in the Greek and most English translations, “children who are believers.

            If we withhold from having children, we are withholding His reward. If we raise them for the devil—or allow the various influences and institutions of the world to raise them for the devil—we allow the devil to steal God’s reward. We should know that God feels even more cheated than we do: He created us, He owns us, He loves us, He sacrificed for us, and He gave us the privilege to reproduce, but the devil, who did not and could not create anything, reaps all the benefits. If we fully understand these concepts, we will be radical to love, train, protect, and keep our children on the Lord’s side. And if we have already lost some of them, we will do our utmost to reclaim them at any cost.

            Thus, Christian couples who voluntarily choose not to have any children when they are able to have children actually violate the concepts contained throughout the Bible and even in nature. There is really no way for a couple to deliberately avoid having children—as many as the Lord wants them to have—and still claim to be living under the principles of holiness, lordship, and entire consecration to God. Few of the various reasons given for why they do not want children are, in the light of these and other passages, valid or legitimate. Indeed, most such reasons are secular humanistic in nature, i.e., based on a secular, not a godly, worldview.

A Christian couple should choose not to have any children only in the extremely rare instance that God Himself reveals to them both that He has another calling and task for their lives that forbids children. Otherwise, they are, in essence, taking God’s sexual privileges and pleasures for themselves but refusing to give Him what He wants out of the agreement: godly children to increase His influence in the world. They make it a one-sided deal where God gets short-changed. It should be obvious that there is some selfishness involved here somewhere.

If God does not bless a couple to be physically able to have normal, healthy children of their own, then they should prayerfully consider adopting and raising other people’s children so that God will still receive the reward of godly young lives. Of course, it could be that God might want just the two of them to serve Him in some other capacity. But whatever they do, they must find out God’s will about the matter concerning them.

Another scenario, very common today, is that of grandparents stepping in to help raise—and rescue—their grandchildren. Whatever the case, it is all in agreement with this very important purpose of the family: To raise a godly heritage—to fill the earth with God-fearing, morally-mature, emotionally-sound, Spirit-filled, righteousness-working, God-worshiping young people who, in turn, will do the same after they become parents. This is the reward due God. And, we might add, it is a reward He does not get nearly enough of.

And one other thing: Children are a whole lot of unexpected, life-fulfilling fun! Having children is one way to share your life, with them and with the world, distributing your life into several smaller containers who will love you forever. You will never regret it. Children may be your biggest liabilities, but they are also your biggest assets. And when properly trained and prepared, they can bring loads of happiness, love, and pleasure into the family, the church, and the world. Children can bless the world immensely when they are properly trained to fulfill their family’s calling.

Just look at the major influence Susannah Wesley had and still has on the whole world through just two of her nineteen properly trained children—John and Charles Wesley. Christians can use this tool, just as they use evangelism, to help change society, all the while receiving lots of love in return. As a pastor once asked someone, “When was the last time a dollar bill hugged you around your neck?”

(For more on the topic of children, it would be invaluable to read Chapter Seven “About Children,” in Lies Women Believe—And the Truth That Sets Them Free, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

 

(4) To Nurture God’s People (“And God blessed them…”).

            The fourth critical purpose for the family is to serve as the nurturer of people. God designed human beings to live and thrive on love. Love is the power that energizes heaven and earth. Love is the greatest and most powerful motivator on earth. But it is not the most prevalent motivator. Because of sin and selfishness, fear—insecurity, pride, self-seeking, hatred, lack of self-esteem, and dozens of other forms of fear—is the most prevalent human motivator. But love should be. God made us dependent on and addicted to wholesome, positive, and loving relationships and interconnectedness. Our emotional, mental, social, physical, and spiritual health depends largely on the health of our relationships.

In all creation, humans appear to be the one creation that cannot thrive without loving relationships with others. Babies that do not receive love actually have a higher infant mortality rate. Psychologists have noticed that many of the toddlers adopted from sub-standard orphanages in Romania and other Balkan countries have been so neglected and unloved that it appears that many of them will never be able to sense or receive love again. They have tuned the world out and no longer respond to other people. Psychologists now have a name for such a condition: “disaffective syndrome.” Stories have even been told of three year olds committing suicide! The fact is that we were made to live on love, and when it is missing or replaced with rejection, the results can be literally devastating.

            Therefore, one of the most important purposes of the family is to provide love and nurture to people throughout their lives. But this nurturing is especially needed when people are in their development stages. God designed the family is to be a “safe zone,” a place of peace, safety, encouragement, acceptance, respect, and security. We need this kind of environment because God did not originally design humans to be able to deal with rejection and abuse. We were designed to love and to be loved.

Thus, we crave love and acceptance from other people, and when that fails, we are indelibly negatively affected. This is the very reason God sent Jesus Christ into the world: to bring us the love and acceptance that He made us crave but which we will never completely find from any source but Himself. “For God so loved the world,” John says in the most popular verse in the Bible, “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). This is the good news of the Gospel: He came to bring us love, and thereby bring us life.

Children victimized by families that are dysfunctional, abusive, neglective, collapsing, or just unknowledgeable usually spend the rest of their lives recovering. Depending on just how awful their family conditions may be, people adapt to and compensate for rejection and absence of love and nurture in various ways. They may substitute their need for love by seeking and piling on possessions, money, power, fame, etc. They may compensate by destroying themselves with negative behavior fueled by low self-esteem, e.g., delinquency.

Or they may lose themselves in non-productive romantic relationships, e.g., promiscuity, teen pregnancy, cohabitation, serial marriages, etc. They may try anesthetizing themselves and drowning out their pain with drugs, alcohol, sex, pleasures, and other addictions. Even at the best, people are affected in subtle ways that they may never even realize: fears, insecurities, mistrust, low self-esteem, pessimism, possessiveness, oversensitivity, and other emotional weaknesses.

Therefore, families must concentrate more on building and nurturing people—both within and without the family. However, nurturing people is not one of the top priorities in today’s world, not even in many Christian families. For some reason, many families seem to aim most of their thoughts and efforts on materialistic goals, and forget all about nurturing each other. Many parents seem to focus most of their efforts on their own desires, careers, comfort, and personal fulfillment, failing to make the nurturing of their children and spouses their chief duty in life.

Our entire society continues to reap the negative results of such selfish practices. As is increasingly evident, our failing families appear to be creating "monsters" who routinely go out and shoot up malls, schools, and theaters. We are almost no longer shocked by such appalling behaviors. Studies show that nearly half of young Americans 19 to 25 have a personality disorder or substance abuse problem that interferes with everyday life (1 in 5 young Americans has personality disorder). Also this might be of interest: The State of Mental Health on College Campuses: A Growing Crisis. Some day, our society will literally be overwhelmed by our maladjusted children, the unfortunate, innocent victims of our collapsing families.

 

Maintaining the Significance of the Family

            It should now be pretty obvious that the family is no small matter. It is eternally significant simply because families are the basis for the most important factor in human life—relationships. The world is only as good as the people who make up the world. But the people are only as good as the families from which they come. As Mother Teresa once said, “In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.” Godly families that are spiritually, emotionally, physically, and socially healthy, produce those kinds of people. The health of our relationships determines the health of our lives—and the health of our society and world.

This does not negate the wonderful miracle that God can and does make new creatures out of whoever comes to Him, no matter how much our families may have scarred us in the past. It merely acknowledges the fact that most human beings are marked and scarred for life by their original families—and most never completely heal. If human beings were only animals, that is, only physical beings, then it would not matter what kinds of families they came from.

But they are more than animals, possessing very complex spiritual, moral, emotional, and social needs that must be fulfilled. If these needs are not provided, then people become distracted, unproductive, and even destructive to society. But these needs are all impacted by the family, thus making the family the most important human institution on earth.

This being the case, the family should have the highest priority in human life. Anything damaging to the family is ultimately damaging to basic human life. From a holiness perspective, nothing is more important than the perpetuation of the knowledge, experience, and service of God from generation to generation. No human endeavor is more important than the nurturing and training of human beings to glorify God.

Therefore, everything in life should be viewed from the perspective of the effect it has on the family. We should spend time, money, and effort training and preparing people in the skills, abilities, and attitudes that help the family. We should teach people how to have and maintain healthy human relationships—within and without the family. We should teach children from the beginning that their most important function in life will be to prepare themselves and their families to live productively for God in this world and the next.

Most people get married; most people form families. So people should be trained to accept, submit to, and commit to the idea that fulfillment of their family role is the greatest thing they can do with their lives. If a man rises to become the President of the United States but fails to make his children productive for God, then, from a holiness perspective, he has failed in the greatest area of his life. We cannot emphasize this enough.

We should actually look forward to fulfilling our family roles. But the spirit of this age does not really value such roles. Instead, we emphasize and place great value on things—things such as jobs, houses, money, education, possessions, pleasures, comfort, freedom from negatives, personal fulfillment, etc. Most people live as if those things have the highest value in the world.

People want nice, pleasurable relationships without having to work to maintain them. They want low-maintenance marriages—the kind that allows them to have this great life together with someone else—a “soul mate”—while remaining mostly self-centered and independent. They want sex without the monumental consequences of having to raise children. They want more time—not for family, but to work for more money and things. (Of course, they say they want more time for family, but their actions speak louder than their words.) 

They want to receive love from someone without making the commitment to truly give love to someone. They want God’s blessings without concentrating on living only for God’s kingdom. They want a safe and secure world without living by God’s spiritual and moral requirements that produce individual and social peace. They want a great family without emphasizing and practicing the values that families consist of: unconditional love for each other, unlimited self-sacrifice, life-long commitment and fidelity through all the changes of life, the giving of time and attention to family instead of oneself, the pursuit of moral and spiritual excellence, and the development of character.

But none of these nice benefits occur accidentally. They are achieved only if somebody concentrates on them and dedicates their lives to make it happen. Therefore, our major focus should be on people and relationships, because the world really consists of people, not things. Things—money, physical possessions, power, etc.—are merely incidental, never goals within themselves. A house is significant only because it shelters a family. A job is significant only because it provides for a family or helps finance the kingdom of God. Money is not an end in itself, merely a means to an end.

Things are important and valuable only as tools to be used to help and support people. But our society values and worships material things, as if the things themselves have some kind of significance of their own. Accordingly, our society will continue to suffer as we continue to lose the values battle, where healthy human relationships, marriages, and families are devalued and sacrificed in our ever-increasing insistence for material prosperity and fulfillment of personal (selfish) agendas.

 

The Effectiveness of Family Training Programs

            Since we continue to talk about training people for relationships and marriage, let us give some statistics proving such training actually works. Now that more and more people, including the government, are realizing that the collapse of marriage and the family threatens the very survival of society, multitudes of organizations, research projects, government proposals, laws, and programs, and even a “family formation movement” have sprung up to address the issue. Here are some interesting summarizations:

  • The erosion of marriage has created enormous difficulties for children, parents, and society as a whole. A majority of children will see their parents divorce or separate because almost half of all marriages collapse. Only 45% of teenagers live with their married mother and father.4 Also today in America, one child in three is born out of wedlock. Compared to children born within marriage, children born outside of marriage or who suffer through family collapse are overwhelmingly more likely to live in poverty, depend on welfare, and have behavior problems. They are also more likely to suffer depression and physical abuse, to fail in school, abuse drugs, become teen parents, and end up in jail.5

  • A wide selection of well-respected social studies provide overwhelming evidence that marriage education and relationship-building programs can reduce family strife, improve communication, increase parenting skills, increase family stability, and enhance marital happiness. One analysis involving several thousand couples enrolled in more than twenty different marriage enrichment programs found that the average couple, after participating in a program, was better off than two-thirds of couples that did not participate.6

  • Separate studies of two other programs, Couple Communication and Relationship Enrichment, showed that the average couple participating in either program out performed 83 percent of couples who had not participated in the program. Dozens of other studies have shown that marriage and family counseling can significantly reduce family conflict and increase marital satisfaction. It is only a matter of being willing to concentrate on marriage and family relationships.7

 

A Concentrated, Collaborative Effort Is Required

            Seeing the eternal significance of what a family is supposed to do, it is obvious that the utmost cooperation between a man and his wife is required. It should also be obvious that no commitment-free, cohabiting relationship or voluntary single parenthood will ever be able to get the job fully done. The responsibilities are extremely daunting, and almost overwhelming. Too much is at stake; heaven and hell are involved.

There is absolutely no way either a father or a mother can do it all alone. Each parent has too many individual responsibilities that only they can fulfill. Each parent has too many gender-specific influences that only he or she can exert upon the children. Furthermore, it will be nearly impossible to fulfill all of these tasks if they cannot concentrate on their individual roles alone. Therefore, a division of labor into two separate, distinct, equal, but non-interchangeable gender roles is essential.

The father should then fulfill his traditional role of physically providing for the family while allowing his wife to concentrate on nurturing and maintaining the home. Of course, every father should realize that providing financially is not his only duty. He must provide spiritual and moral leadership. He must provide emotional support to his wife and children. He establishes the value and identity of everyone in the home.

Therefore, although he may work outside the home to provide financially, he must never let his outside work prevent him from doing his in-home duties and exercising his in-home influences. It is just as important for him as father to be greatly involved in the life of his family as it is for the mother to be. Any career or activity that takes him out of the picture should be seriously questioned, rearranged, or even eliminated if need be.

In addition, a mother will generally not be able to perform all of her spiritual, emotional, physical, and social duties toward her children and husband if she is also trying to work outside of the home to provide financially. The only way she can hold down a full-time outside job is if she neglects many of her inside-the-home responsibilities.

Parents must realize that there is absolutely no way to ignore or get around this fact: Something very important will have to be neglected. A mother simply cannot do it all. If she thinks she has figured out a way to successfully juggle homemaking and career-building at the same time without suffering any significant losses, it is only because she does not know how much she is really responsible for or how much she is neglecting. She obviously does not realize just how important character-building and full-time nurturing really are.

It is essential for every family to produce well-adjusted, morally upright, spiritually-attuned young people who possess a biblical worldview. This cannot be done on a part-time basis, but requires both parents to concentrate on this one purpose. To pursue multiple purposes, there must be trade-offs. Parents must prayerfully decide if these trade-offs are really worth it, because, in the light of eternity, most of them are not.

Distinction should be made between homemaking responsibilities and housekeeping duties. Homemaking is not just housekeeping. Anybody can do some housekeeping chores, but it takes a wise, diligent, and intelligent woman to “make” a home. Homemaking involves nurturing, training, creating a wholesome environment, simultaneously managing a host of competing but essential needs, and other duties necessary to maintain a family’s physical, spiritual, emotional, and social health. Housekeeping involves keeping the house clean. A wife and mother can hire any domestic to do housekeeping (and it would be good if some busy mothers did so), but she herself is the only woman who can “make” the home.

Because she alone “makes” the home, she is therefore utterly indispensable and irreplaceable. She should be called a “homemaker,” not a “housewife” or a “housekeeper.” As a homemaker, she should be able to hold her head up high and confidently, knowing that she has the most important and influential job in the world. It is a known social fact that the best way to improve the overall life conditions of children is to educate and improve the training of their mothers as girls. The old adage, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world,” is not just some old wives’ tale, but time-tested truth.

In Titus 2:5, the Apostle Paul instructed that wives should be “keepers at home” (KJV) Some translations say “domesticated,”  “home keepers,” or “homemakers.” The New Living Translation says, “to take care of their homes.” These can all be summarized by the phrase, “keepers of the home.” Therefore, distinction should be made between a “keeper of the home” and a “keeper at home.” It is possible to be a “keeper of the home” without being stuck every moment in the house. Paul’s message is not that mothers must always physically remain in the house, but that they must consistently maintain their homemaking duties.

In our early child-raising days, when our oldest son was starting first grade, our congregation started a private Christian school in the church. Philip was the principal, and Segatha was one of the teachers (pre-kindergarten, first grade, and other classes from year to year). At that time we had five boys, ranging in age from 1 to 6 years old. We took the whole family—the whole home—down to the church and worked for the Lord together! The children were with both parents most of the day. Eventually, we had two girls, and, for the first few years, we raised them at the church also. So in essence, Segatha was not a keeper at home, but she was definitely the keeper of the home.

Thus, this concept of a “keeper of the home” does not rule out situations like mothers operating businesses from the home, taking the children with them as they work, or other suitable arrangements. (See Proverbs 31.)  It does not rule out the possibility of her finding part-time work that pays well and offers a perfect family-friendly schedule. The key is for her to maintain the ability to fulfill all of her responsibilities as mother, wife, and nurturer. The problem arises when her employment or other activities (even ministry) take her away from the home, make her too tired or distracted, or otherwise prevent her from fulfilling all of her God-ordained responsibilities toward her family.

 

Should A Mother Work Outside the Home?

Although many Christian parents agree with the concept that mothers should stay home to care for and nurture their children, many doubt and challenge this notion.8 Many have unquestioningly swallowed the false assumption the world makes that “this is the 21st century and we’ve just got to live with the fact that both parents must work no matter what. The kids will survive. We just can’t afford not to both work.” Of course the kids will survive. But remember, just surviving is not the goal of families professing holiness.

The April, 2001 results from a still-ongoing, 15-year, ten-city, federally-financed study should cause all parents to carefully reevaluate their child-raising decisions. The study, from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (part of the National Institutes of Health—NIH), tracks from birth more than 1,364 children from all walks of life in all types and qualities of child care arrangements. The conclusions were as expected: The more time young children spend in child care, the more likely they are to display behavior problems by the time they reach kindergarten.

Specifically, researchers found that children spending more than 30 hours a week in any child care arrangements away from their mothers were almost three times as likely to exhibit aggression (hitting, screaming, attention-getting), disobedience, and defiance as those in day care less than 10 hours a week. This held true regardless of the size or quality of the day care centers, gender of the children, or the economic level of the family.

But what was very surprising was that this held true whether the children were looked after by child-care centers, relatives, nannies, or even the children’s own fathers! Apparently—and some women’s advocates hate to admit this fact—it is true that mothers (not “Mr. Moms) are the best caretakers and trainers of young children.

This NIH study, being ongoing, released its newest findings in March, 2007, after the children had reached the fifth and sixth grades. Once again, the results indicated that “the more time that kids spent in day care, the more likely their sixth-grade teachers were to report problem behaviors such as getting in fights, being disobedient in school and arguing a lot,” even five years after the kids’ actual day care experiences.9 And once again the general public reaction was to downplay and dismiss all negative findings so that America can continue to ignore how its secular value system is affecting its families. In the words of child development expert Barbara Bowman, president and co-founder of Chicago’s Erikson Institute graduate school, “It is interesting, but it is not a big, big deal.”10

The NIH Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) released more findings in 2010 when the original children were 15 years old: "Perhaps the most important findings ofthis report from SECCYD is that the effects of early child-care quality on cognitive-academic and early child-care hours on problem behaviors were evident in mid-adolescence, more than a decade after the children had transitioned from child care to elementary school" (VandelletalNICHD). In other words, the behavior problems and impulsivity experienced by children left in day care during their early years persisted throughout their teen years.

But children are not the only family members affected by the absence of the wife and mother in the home. Surveys suggest that the health of the husband is greatly affected by his wife’s employment. University of Chicago sociologist Ross Stolzenberg discovered that wives working long hours had a substantial negative effect on their husbands’ health:

“Husbands, beware: Your wife’s job may be dangerous to your health. At least that’s one way to interpret the results of a new study by University of Chicago sociologist Ross Stolzenberg. He found that the husbands of women who worked more than forty hours a week were significantly less healthy than other married men. At the same time, his research showed that long hours at work by husbands had no harmful effect on the health of their wives, employed or not.”11

Stolzenberg explains this phenomenon this way: “Women are trained from childhood to promote health in their families, to manage health, to be aware of health symptoms. They are also the ones who are more likely to organize social contact, and pleasant social contact tends to promote good health because it is one of the best stress relievers we know.”12

It would be best, he concluded, for everyone to pay more attention to their own health and well-being, but the fact is, they don’t. All of this makes one hypothecate: If wives working long hours negatively affects the health of their husbands, who are deemed to be independent adults, it must surely negatively affect the health of their children, who are even more dependent on their mothers.

 

Conditions For Working Outside the Home

Under what conditions might it be acceptable for a mother to work outside the home? 

(1)   Obviously, if she is a single mother (for any reason), she will have to do the overwhelming job of both parents, which will probably include providing for her family financially. One can see immediately why single mothers really need the prayer and support of their church, family, and friends. Actually, this is a very ripe field of ministry for the body of Christ: Financially, emotionally, and socially assisting the single mothers in the church to be able to stay home and raise their children for the Lord. The mission field is right there among the single-mom families in the church.

(2)   Another scenario is when a mother’s children are grown or nearly grown (e.g., 15+ years), and her home-making duties are not as demanding as before. Even then, however, she should carefully and prayerfully take the following things under consideration:

(a)  She realizes that her teenagers still need the security and stability of Mom “being there for them.” They are not completely independent of her emotionally. Furthermore, they still need supervision: thousands of “latch key” children get pregnant or get into trouble at home alone while their parents are at work. The Boys and Girls Clubs organization, located in many cities throughout the country, ran an ad that stated it succinctly: “When is the most critical time in a child’s life? …Between the hours of three and eight o’clock every evening,” i.e., after school.

Borrowing a quote from writer Margaret Heffernan found on a calendar, “Your children need you more as they grow older, not less. That’s the dirty little secret of motherhood. When they’re tiny, they need feeding, changing, dressing, and some fairly undemanding forms of engagement. Many people can provide this. As they get older, they need moral guidance, health guidance, social guidance—and help with trigonometry. No one but you can provide this;”

(b)  Her purpose for working outside the home is not merely to fulfill vain desires to gain more material stuff (i.e., “stuff that we never could afford”);

(c) Her job is not being used to compensate for any feelings of inadequacy and insecurity in other areas, because this problem involves spirituality and the condition of her relationship with God and her husband, i.e., she should not need a paycheck to feel her self-worth;

(d) Her spiritual, emotional, and social responsibilities to her husband, grown children, and even grandchildren are still being fulfilled (“teach [the law of the Lord to] thy sons and thy sons’ sons” (Deuteronomy 4:9); and

(e) She does not have something more eternally significant to do with her time for the church, for the community, for others that need help, etc. In other words, she must never forget that people are far more important than more money for more things. She must never forget her family calling or her personal ministry, which may not necessarily be finished just because her children are grown or nearly grown.

(3)   If a married mother does have dependent children, it is almost always more eternally significant for her to avoid working outside the home in order to concentrate on her homemaking responsibilities. She is working for eternity, and there is no substitute for a well-ordered home that fulfills the spiritual, emotional, and nurturing needs of its members. Such a home, remember, is “God’s smallest battlefield formation in His conflict with Satan.”

Thus, a mother in this situation should avoid working outside the home at almost any cost. This even includes many of the times when her husband, for some reason, is temporarily not working. However, common sense says that if the family is truly threatened with homelessness and starvation, and their very survival is at stake, the mother will be forced to do whatever she can to help provide for the family for that emergency condition. The critical task would be for her to find a work schedule that is very family-friendly.

But if she can at all avoid working outside the home, even if they have to put up with several inconveniences and forego many material advantages, it is best for her to do so. The responsibilities that only she can perform and the love that only she can provide are eternally weighty enough for the family to suffer those small material disadvantages. Truly, “better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble. Better is a dinner with herbs (vegetables) where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred…Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife” (Proverbs 15:16-17; 17:1).

 

Conclusion

            Whatever the situation may be, the fact remains that both parents are required to concentrate on their family responsibilities as their most important duties in life. In order to fulfill their family’s special calling, nothing in life is more important than the building of strong character, the development of noble social graces, the fulfillment of all emotional needs, and the successful spiritual connecting of every young heart to its Maker. All of this must be done within the family, by parents who concentrate on their individual primary purposes and roles.

Anything less will result in the gravely ill families and societies we have in the world today. Almost every social institution around us—marriage, family, the schools, the government, business, and every other entity that has anything to do with human beings—is increasingly dysfunctional, immoral, and in the throes of collapse, all because, as Mother Teresa said, “In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.”

May God bless every family and every parent with the strength and wisdom to do their part in building people and a society that glorify Him.

 

ENDNOTES

1 Hahn, Scott, “A Lie in the Language of Love,” excerpted from Swear to God: The Promise and Power of the Sacraments (Doubleday, 2004). Quoted at http://www.beliefnet.com/story/151/story_15172.html.

2 ibid.

3(a) Sternberg, Steve, “Study Links Birth Control Pill to Artery-clogging Plaque,” USA Today, November 7, 2007, page 1A; (b) “Birth Control Faq: Benefits, Risks, and Choices,” Women’s Health, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/birth-control-pill/WO00098; (c) http://www.birth-control-comparison.info/bcdepo.htm; (d) National Institutes of Health, September 6, 2002, http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/sep2002/nichd-06.htm.    

4 Vincent, Marvin R. Word Studies in the New Testament (Associated Publishers and Authors, 1972), page 1025.

5 McManus, Mike, “Why Sign a Community Marriage Policy?” from www.MarriageSavers.org.

6 Fagan, Patrick F., Robert W. Patterson, and Robert E. Rector, Executive Summary #1606, The Heritage Foundation. Quoted at www.smartmarriages.com, October 31, 2002. For the full text of the report go to http://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/bg1606es.cfm.

7ibid.

8 ibid.

9Actually, most American parents agree with the idea that mothers with young children should stay home. A report by the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, “Caring for Infants and Toddlers,” quoted a 1999 poll that found 68% of fathers and 69% of mothers agreed with the comment, “It is much better for the family if the father works outside the home and the mother takes care of the children.” However, in spite of these opinions, two-thirds (67%) of women with preschool children and 56% of those with kids under one-year-old are working (New York Times, September 10, 2001).

10_____, “Study Ties Day Care to Behavior Problems,” MSNBC News Service, March 27, 2007. www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17795821/.

11ibid.    

12Richard Morin, “Workaholic Wives and Their Sick Husbands,” The Washington Post, December 9, 2001.

13ibid.