Next to my salvation and my relationship with God, nothing is more important to me than my relationship with my family. I am very blessed to have grown up in a healthy, spiritual family. My parents were saved before my birth, and early in my infancy they started attending a Bible preaching church. That Bible preaching and teaching helped them in their marriage and certainly helped them raise their children.
I was a young Bible college student when I met and married my wife. We had only been married about six months when we found out that Denise was going to have our first son. Kevin was born as I was entering my final year of Bible college. It was a challenge to work, go to school, be a husband and father, and be involved in ministry. Yet God enabled me. I wish I could tell you that I was a perfect parent, but the truth is, I made a lot of mistakes as a young father. However, God is good and blessed us with three fine sons. Our sons all married good, godly women, and they have given us ten grandchildren. It is a wonderful time when our entire family is together, and we get to laugh and tease and just thank God together for His blessings.
As a pastor, I do a lot of counseling, and I realize that many families are what we would call dysfunctional. Many times people who are saved later in life have already made significant mistakes that carry over to family relationships. In spite of their salvation, long-term damage has been done, and some things are not easily repaired overnight. But God is always gracious and delights in intervening and bringing restoration to these types of circumstances.
No matter what your family situation is, I would like to share five thoughts that will help you guide your family in the ways of the Lord.
1. We should live for the future in our families. Every decision we make as believers ought to be made with the thought of how that choice will impact the future of our family. The reason many families are in a mess is because they make decisions based on the moment and not on the long term.
2. Live with a short memory toward mistakes of the past. Forgiveness for past transgressions and mistakes is essential in every family. While we might be hurt and bear marks from the past, God forgives us, and we must forgive one another.
3. Love your children unconditionally. It doesn’t matter how old they are; your children are still your children and are to be loved. You might not like their choices, and you might not be able to approve of their lifestyle; however, they still need to know they are loved.
4. Continually pray for your family. The devil is very smart, and he is constantly looking for ways to divide. It is important that we pray a hedge of protection around our marriage and our children. I pray every day, and at times throughout the day, for my wife, children, and grandchildren.
5. Live in such a way that your children are never ashamed to say that you are their parent. My dad died a few years ago, and before he died I told him that I had never been ashamed to call him my dad. He lived a credible and very authentic Christian life. I want to leave my children and grandchildren the same legacy!
We need to get back to working on our homes and families. This is where the battle for the future is won or lost. Remember that God and children are worth fighting and living for!