“I want my home to be what God wants it to be,” he said to his pastor. “Angie and I want to start a family soon. We both come from homes that are not very happy. Angie’s parents divorced when she was in her teens. My parents have stayed together, but things are not very happy there either. I know there are no perfect homes, but I surely want my home to be better than either Angie’s or my home. I have not known the Lord for a very long time and, well, Pastor, could you give me some suggestions what a Biblical home looks like?” Paul sincerely quizzed Pastor Ahrens.
Wisely, the pastor assured Paul that there are no sinless or perfect homes. Placing his hand on Paul’s shoulder, the pastor said, “The sinless, innocent home of Adam and Eve did not last very long. Sin entered that home, and ever since, families have struggled with the effects of sin. In spite of this, families can really seek the Lord and apply the Scriptures to daily living. When they do, several characteristics will be true.” Here are a few things the pastor gave Paul to be thinking about. When talking about a Biblical home it will look like this.
1. It will be a place of safety. No one will be intentionally wounded physically, emotionally, or sexually. While sibling rivalry is very typical in most homes, it must always be checked and kept to being playful and enjoyable for each child. Parents must guard and constantly check the tone of words, type of words, and volume of words because emotional wounds come from the use of words.
2. It will be a place of security. Each member of the family senses the security that comes from the sense of belonging. This security is fostered in the following ways.
A. All are wanted and told so.
B. No one is an inconvenience and treated that way.
C. All are a vital part of the family and consistently reminded of this fact.
D. All are part of God’s plan by being placed into this family and told this.
3. It will be a place of individuality. No two siblings are alike. Each person has individual strengths as well as weaknesses. Each will find fulfillment in doing things that fit his or her personality. Parents help their children to discover who they are and how God has made them. Parents encourage their children to discover what interests them and how they learn. Interests may be very different between the siblings; however, all are encouraged to pursue the things that fit them and to which they are suited. The greatest challenge seems to be most often found when Dad is very sports-minded, but his son wants to play the piano and read books. Wise dads do not force their children into things not suited to them.
4. It will be a place of encouraging worth. No one is ever made to feel stupid or worthless. Playing and fooling never moves toward being demeaning or hurtful. Our sense of worth is found in discovering God’s plan for our lives. The Apostle Paul reminded us, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Wise parents encourage their children to seek the will of God and then help their child do it. There is no greater sense of worth than understanding that we are His workmanship. Good works should flow that glorifies God, not just in seeking the approval of man.
5. It will be a place of forgiveness. A Biblical home and family provide a wonderful place to learn how to repent or to have a change of mind for a wrong action taken. It provides a great place to learn how to be sorry for one’s actions and how to seek forgiveness. It is much more than simply muttering a few words which include a lame apology. It is also a great place to learn how to accept the apology and extend forgiveness.
The Apostle John explains, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The idea of confessing is to agree with God as to what one has done. There are no excuses offered, only genuine confession or agreement with God that one’s sinful action was indeed sinful. What a great model for every member of the family. Isn’t it interesting? Because of our sinfulness, one often tries to deny the action. Or one often tries to diminish the seriousness of the situation. When the genuine apology is sought, wonderful forgiveness can be extended. The fractured fellowship can be restored and the offense is not brought up again.
6. It will be a place of working together. Here responsibility is learned as chores are shared. Family living is not a “right.” It is a privilege. When family members who work together are appreciated and affirmed, even the mundane chores can be times of character building. Strong characters know that God must be first, that work must be done in a way that pleases Him, that wholesome and enjoyable fun follows when work is finished. Strong characters understand that the government and others do not owe them, and they shun free hand-outs. Biblical families provide a wonderful place to learn about honoring God, working hard, appreciating each other, and having fun together along the way.
7. It will be a place of worship. Wise parents do not allow the excuse of being too busy to rob them of the great joy of worshipping as a family. It is saddening to see what is happening in the typical American home today. Sports, gymnastics, dance lessons, swimming, and a dozen other opportunities clamor for the attention of the American family. The family worship time and the blessings that come from this often are lost in all the craziness of an overbooked schedule.
A surprise birthday party for the mother of the family took place. Even though most of the children were grown with families of their own, they still loved to come home. What greater joy could there be than to celebrate the special birthday of their mom! After a great catered meal, the family spontaneously gathered in a circle and just started reminiscing. The best memory, many stated, was the family devotion times. They reveled in sharing how the family would gather before bedtime. Some of the older siblings would hold the younger, and Dad would read from the Bible, and the family would pray together. Several remembered specific things for which the family had prayed. They remembered how God had answered. Even though this took place over twenty years ago, it was a highlight of their reminiscing. Family worship is so important.
The pastor and Paul would meet together regularly over the course of several months as they discussed these and many other principles. “These seven life principles will be important for you to do. I don’t mean to make them sound like a list to be checked off,” the pastor laughed with Paul, “but it will be important to make sure that you are doing them. It’s just like James 1:22 reminds you. ‘Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves,’ Paul. Do the things you know to be true,” the pastor concluded.
These are great principles for every home and family where each member knows the Lord Jesus as Savior.