XXIV.  Family Described


In America, we are losing our God-given family model to variations based loosely on personal choices and gender misunderstandings.


For most Americans today, family includes a wide range of loved ones – from children, parents and grandparents to spouses, significant others, siblings and close friends.


Policymakers in the 1950s defined family narrowly – based on a nuclear family’ model of a married husband and wife and their biological children.


However, according to a recent U.S. Census, nearly 80 percent of households in the U.S. depart from the nuclear family model of a married husband and wife and their children.


For example, approximately 57 million individuals in the U.S. live in multigenerational households, double the 1980 figure, and about 20 percent of households with children include non-relatives or extended family.


The country’s second and third most populous cities have taken big steps forward in recognizing that families come in all shapes and sizes.  No longer is there the standard set of values as stated in Scripture.


In our attempt using the new found family definitions; we have weakened the very fabric of our society – the family.  There must be a defining line that includes both the secular and the sacred.


Genesis 2:24 states, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”


In seminary, they teach a concept of Scripture study that relates to anthropomorphic terminology.  It means that God in His infinite wisdom knew that we as human beings would not understand His teaching in His holy language unless He applied it to everyday life where we live.


Thus – ‘father’ means dad and the male gender.  ‘Mother’ means mom and the female gender.  Not only that, verse 24 in Genesis 2 identifies the creation of the man, Adam, and the female, Eve.


Now would God explain the origin of man and woman and not spell out the other variations man has derived from his unwillingness to accept a Holy God?  Does God not have the anthropomorphilogical ability to do so and if He does – had He wanted that, would He not have done it?


If God has the ability through His language that is clear to us and explains the origin of man and woman for our understanding – He has the ability to use words that would have allowed man to interpret the origin of an all-gender creation of human beings instead of the specific-gender creation of man and woman.


No – He intended man and woman to be the very essence of family period.  Not Adam and Steve.  Not Eve and Eloise.  He created Adam and Eve period.


Scripture addresses many of the negative relationships that today are accepted as norm – ‘significant others’ and ‘close friends’ for example.

God Defines the Family


      Genesis 2:18, “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.”


Genesis 2:24, stated here and above, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”    


The concept of marriage is referred to immediately through His Word, ‘united to his wife’ i.e. marriage of man to a woman.  This occurred after the Genesis 1 account of man needing a help mate for the man.


Check out the terminology one flesh’.  ‘One flesh’ is the meaning that we become one as a family to complement each other through unity and in purpose.

What Family Means To Us


I have found that words carry a significant meaning in Scripture.  They do not just appear but instead are of noteworthy importance.


Therefore family must have both a sacred and a secular meaning for family.  You can not define family secularly and neglect the sacred meaning at the same time.


Early in Genesis 1:28, God states, “God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it …”


The intended plan of marriage for God was unity and purpose through husband and wife. He saw that man being alone was not good and gave him a help mate. Together their purpose was to be fruitful, increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.


That folks to God is family.  Man marries woman – they increase in number, and work together to fulfill God’s purpose.


God’s Purpose for the Family


If a family legacy has any meaning at all it starts with the forbearance of one member with another member.  There will always be a difference of opinions when more than one person is involved.


Was the Johnson family always in agreement with each other?  NO!  Was the family perfect?  NO!  Was their discord?  YES!


Did they fall apart when Walter and Dessie lost their life?  NO!  They came together to help each other. 


Did trouble develop when Sam sold out to Steve?  YES!  But Steve was willing to look beyond the differences with Sam to strengthen the family.


Was there a disruption when Junior left the family banking institution?  YES!  But Steve was willing to again seek restitution through the natural course of events and not strike out with his emotional attributes that would create conflict within the family.


Did the family abandon Junior when he pulled out?  NO!  They recognized that he was young and ambitious.  He had to be given the opportunity to spread his  wings.


Was the family torn apart over Junior leaving the bank especially as a competitor?  YES!  But they were able to overcome his leaving through a renewed desire to succeed.


Did it destroy the family?  NO!  The family grew from the experience as they allowed Junior to pursue his goals.


Therein rests the family legacy.  The family was the family in the midst of LIFE.


Life does not always serve up roses and violets.  There are times of dissent.  But the family must always overpower all circumstances that are thrown against it.


Yes, there are times of hurt.  But under careful evaluation – who best to fall back on than the family?  Who best understands what you are going through than the family?


If we have lost one thing in our American society today it is family.  Many reasons account for this travesty.


We have the ability to live 1,000s of miles apart.  Jobs; careers; opportunities in other areas of the country or the world all take their toll on the family.


In the 1800s few ever traveled a 1,000 miles in their lifetime.  There were very few ways to do travel period.  Grandmother and grandfather were always just down the road around the bend.


Children worked with Mom and Dad everyday in the fields.  They got married and were given a piece of land on the family farm.


I know times change and we need to change with them.  But regardless of change – if we leave the concept of the family behind in the dust – look at what we lose.  The very character of who we are.


But not just distance separates us.  Technology; our hand held devices (smart phones); the social media – as much as we like to think these devices bring us together, it is only because we are separated that we need them.


When was the last time you went into a restaurant for dinner and see a family of four who were sitting together?  Not talking to each other, but working their smart phones.  Today we are more addicted to our devices than our families.


Also yet sad to say – some families who live in metropolitan areas within minutes of each other seldom see each other.  These families find time only on holidays and special occasions to get together.


We do not have the privilege of just sitting around on a Sunday afternoon after a great family meal and talk to each other.  Our busy-ness creates our busy-lessness as a family.


In the beginning, the Johnson family pulled together after the death of Walter and Dessie.  The importance of family as taught by Walter and Dessie started the ball rolling and it kept the family together.


In the end, through Junior’s death, the family pulled together as one – to stay afloat again – both as a family and as a banking institution.  Too often, today, our families will divide over the best of intentions and never speak for decades.


We need to take a lesson from this fictional narrative and see that a family that is determined to stay together by the very thread of love for God and each other WILL stay together.  They will be stronger in the end than the beginning.


Any other definition for the family is just wrong.  Please pray that our nation will return to the model of the Scriptural “family” within our society.

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