The last thirty years has seen a drastic amount of change in what we consider the family unit.
In 1981, there were 437,000 single parent households, representing 12.7% of all households with children. By 2006, that number has more than doubled, to 1,276,000, and 24.6%. Less people are getting married, while the same numbers of people are getting divorced.
This trend is not confined only to Canada, but rather is carried over to each major country included in a study completed by the United States Census Bureau in 2011. If we as Christians are going to affect our homes, communities, and countries for Christ, we must ask ourselves how exactly we are going to do so, and there are a few things I’d like to share with you as a way to work on reversing these trends in our homes and communities.
Like any disease that damages the body, causing pain and illness, there are certain symptoms that let us know that something is wrong. A lot of times, we are tempted to treat the symptoms of the disease rather than the actual problem.
For example, if you have a sinus infection, you will likely have a terrible headache that is in the area of your eyes and upper nasal cavity. Will taking Tylenol get rid of the infection, or make it hurt less? Will it actually fix the problem, which is a sinus infection? Another example is that of an infected cut. The symptoms will include swelling, and discomfort. Will a Band-Aid fix the problem, or just cover it up?
The same thing holds true with the symptoms listed above. We can preach all day and say that the world is getting worse, and that we need to address the problems in the family unit, but the preaching will not be treating the root cause, the actual illness, but rather be Tylenol or a Band-Aid.
So what is the root cause of this problem that is facing Canada and other countries? These symptoms tell us that something is wrong, but what is it?
The family unit is under attack because the enemy knows that the family unit is where the next generation is getting its ideas of what it is to be a Christian person. The disease is a need for fathers and mothers to point their children to The Father.
If the disease that needs to be treated is for fathers and mothers to show their children to The Father, then obviously the prescription to fix this problem would be simple: Let’s show our children God, who is our Father, and teach them what it means to follow Him. But what steps can we take to do this?
First, I challenge you to take several minutes to pray with your spouse, and let your children see it. Pray intentionally for your spouse, show him or her the love that we are commanded to show our spouses. A good time to pray is in the morning; it will set the right mood for the rest of the day.
When you are praying with him or her, do not just pray for him or her and the needs that he or she has, but take time to pray a blessing over him or her. Biblically, when someone prayed a blessing over someone, they were releasing peace into his or her life.
In Luke chapter ten, we see Jesus commissioning his seventy apostles, who were going to preach in his name before he himself went there. In verses 5-6, he tells them, “whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you.”
Praying a blessing over your spouse, and they over you, will release the peace of God in your lives. Let your children see you intentionally do this, and so set an example for them to emulate.
2. Eat a family meal
The second thing I would challenge you to do is to have one meal as a family, each week. During the course of that meal, take the time to look at your wife or husband and say, “kids, this woman is your mother/father, and I am pleased to be married with her/him.”
Then, turning to each of your children, tell them that you are proud of them, that you love them, and that it pleases you to be their mother or father.
Studies have shown that praising children can teach them to develop will power and self-confidence, as well as encouraging a positive self-image and behavior. How much more beneficial would it be if you as a parent prayed a blessing over your child?
Other studies have shown that when families eat meals together, the children become more self-sufficient, achieve better grades, and have better communication skills than children who do not eat with their family. By taking the time to eat one meal as a family, and blessing your children at that time, you will not only be encouraging these abilities, but also telling them who they are to you, and to God.
That book of wisdom by King Solomon, Proverbs, is full of maxims about how we as parents are supposed to raise our children before the Lord. Chapter 22, verse six says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Now, I must caution you: the steps that I have outlined here are not what cure the hearts of us as people. As Jesus said in John 5:24, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” The disease that we truly face in this world is that it is fallen. People in this world are dying, and they don’t know Jesus. It is our responsibility as believers to raise our children to know and love God. That, my friends, is the cure for a sick and dying world.
Listen to a 5 minute mini message on this topic: