Today is Father’s Day. While there are so many things I could talk about on Father’s Day, my heart keeps coming back to the family unit. I could talk about the great dad’s and granddads in my family and all of the support I have gotten from them over the years, but my heart is stirring for the younger generation. The kids in my life are so precious to me and it really saddens my heart to stop and think about the situations they are in. Even among my own family on all sides, there are very few family units still intact, and the ones that are, are hanging on by a thread.
This morning, Sunday school and Church were very similar in their message to fathers. One of the greatest things I heard this morning was, “The greatest thing you can do for your children is love their mother.” I almost cried when I heard that this morning. Life is hard and trials come, but we must do everything we can to hold our families together.
The main verse in both Sunday school and Church and even in Children’s Church today was Ephesians 6:1-4. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
How many times do we quote this verse to our kids in hopes that they will stop and listen and obey. But the end of Ephesians 5 talks about the husband and wife relationship. Condensed down to one sentence, wives respect your husbands and husbands love your wives.
Here is my plea today, especially if your marriage is struggling…
If you are still married to your child’s other parent, spend some time trying to cultivate this relationship. How about instead of quoting “Children obey your parents in the Lord, and Honor your Father and Mother” we start giving our children a reason to honor us. How about as parents, we model in our relationship with each other, what it means to honor another person. How about we show love and respect to our spouse, and see how far it takes our families.
Ephesians 521 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
For those of you wives who read these verses and immediately cringe at the thought of submitting to your husband, or the husbands who love these verses because they think it is telling their wives to submit to their every whim, let’s take a time out here for a minute. Bottom line, when the whole family is doing their part in these scriptures, then this works. This scriptural guidance for families is designed for each member of the family to do their part.
If you are married to a non-believer or even a believer who is not ready to work on the situation, all you can do is do your part and pray for your spouse. You can not make your spouse be who you want them to be, but the Lord can make them exactly who they were created to be. He can work in them to make them exactly who He has called them to be.
While I know that life is hard and sometimes it seems easier to just give up and get divorced or separated, stop and pray and seek God. Ask God to give you strength and guide your decisions. If you open your mouth too often and escalate situations, ask God to bridal your tongue (trust me He will do it). Ask God to help you try and resolve the issues and conflict in your marriage. I have seen relationships change (almost overnight) when even one person in the relationship, stops trying to make things be the way they want them to be, and just turns the entire situation over to the Lord. I have seen the Lord work miracles in families who just turn to Him instead of running to the Lawyers. I am not saying things will be perfect overnight, but things can start changing and moving in the right direction very quickly if you turn it all over to the Lord and let Him be the center of your family.
My prayer today is for families to be restored. For fathers to love their children’s mothers and for mother’s to respect their children’s fathers and for children to be raised in peaceful homes and grow up understanding what a Godly family dynamic looks like.