“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” — Exodus 20:12 (ESV)
One of the most direct examples of the Kingdom of God on the earth is the family unit. God longs to use the love between family members to tell the world of His love as the Creator and Father of all. As believers, we must choose to continually love, forgive, help and pursue strong relationships with those God has given us as our family.
You are not a member of your family by mistake. Psalm 139:13 (ESV) says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” God formed you perfectly for your family. He had plans for you and your family before the formation of the heavens and the earth. And He has placed your family on the earth intentionally and purposefully. He has incredible plans for a family that will pursue love for each other and walk in His eternal purposes.
Your Heavenly Father knows the follies of your family. He knows their weaknesses, trials and temptations. But He also longs to empower you with grace to love them. He longs to use you to restore your family to Him so that you might experience the wonders of God-filled family relationships.
Scripture is filled with commandments about the family unit. Exodus 20:12 (ESV) says, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Ephesians 5:22 (ESV) says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” And later Ephesians 5:25 (ESV) says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Proverbs 17:6 (ESV) says, “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.” First Timothy 5:8 (ESV) says, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” And Leviticus 25:35 (ESV) says, “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you.” God clearly values the family unit.
The commands of Scripture are not suggestions based on how your family has treated you in the past. They are loving commands from your Lord who has the absolute best plan in store for you behind every word. God knows that there are wounds from your family. He knows that loving them can be difficult, especially when your love isn’t reciprocated. But He is calling you to a lifestyle of grace-filled love for those He has specifically given to you. He will provide for you all the courage, strength, power and grace you need. He longs to help you love your family into restoration. Have patience with them. Pray constantly for them. And love them as your Lord Jesus has loved you: passionately, faithfully and gracefully.
— Craig Denison, First 15
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