We are now weeks deep into the year 2020. When setting your resolutions and plans for the year, did you take time to consider your family? The wellbeing of our family circle is vital. It is reflected in the wellbeing of society and the church. Now more than ever we need our family bonds and our relationship with God to be at their best, so that, as children of God our homes may be as God intends them to be: “a little Heaven on Earth”.
What is “home”?
As parents, we have an immense responsibility for the way we manage our home, which extends beyond our responsibility to our spouses and children. Our Christian homes have the power, and the duty, to produce upstanding members of society. Let us consider what “home” is from God’s perspective and understand what He wants for each home and each family to be:
“Look upon the family circle as a training school, where you are preparing your children for the performance of their duties at home, in society, and in the church.” (AH 182.3, emphasis added)
“Society is composed of families and is what the heads of families make it. Out of the heart are “the issues of life”; and the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation is the household.” (AH 15.1, emphasis added)
To what extent is the home a determining factor in society?
Mothers, fathers, and all in the position of caring for and educating our children are in positions of power to determine the future of our communities and societies. To a great extent, what happens in history is a result of either principled homes and parents or weak intemperate upbringings.
“The elevation or deterioration of the future of society will be determined by the manners and morals of the young growing up around us. As the youth are educated, and as their characters are molded in their childhood to virtuous habits, self-control, and temperance, so will their influence be upon society. If they are left unenlightened and uncontrolled, and as the result become self-willed, intemperate in appetite and passion, so will be their future influence in molding society. The company which the young now keep, the habits they now form, and the principles they now adopt are the index to the state of society for the years to come.” (AH 15.2, emphasis added)
Foundations for a happy home
With such solemn responsibilities, we must look to the Savior for an example of how to educate our children. Solemn responsibilities are not an excuse for any extremes. Authority and love must be combined when governing a home.
“While we are not to indulge blind affection, neither are we to manifest undue severity. Children cannot be brought to the Lord by force. They can be led, but not driven. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” Christ declares. He did not say, My sheep hear My voice and are forced into the path of obedience. In the government of children, love must be shown. Never should parents cause their children pain by harshness or unreasonable exactions. Harshness drives souls into Satan’s net.” (AH 307.3)
Tolerance, mutual respect, and self-control must be ever-present in the relationship between parents and in the actions of all who interact with our children and youth.
“Without mutual forbearance and love no earthly power can hold you and your husband in the bonds of Christian unity. Your companionship in the marriage relation should be close and tender, holy and elevated, breathing a spiritual power into your lives, that you may be everything to each other that God’s word requires.” (AH 112.2)
The home must have rules to be well-governed. Rules must be established that the entire house-hold strive to upkeep, including the parents who will lead by example.
“Every Christian home should have rules; and parents should, in their words and deportment toward each other, give to the children a precious, living example of what they desire them to be. […] Teach the children and the youth to respect themselves, to be true to God, true to the principle […] These principles will control their lives and will be carried out in their associations with others.” (AH 16.3)
We need Christ to dwell in our family. Morning and evening worship must be rescued. Set aside time, daily, to pray together, even if only briefly.
“Only where Christ reigns can there be deep, true, unselfish love. Then soul will be knit with soul, and the two lives will blend in harmony. Angels of God will be guests in the home, and their holy vigils will hallow the marriage chamber. Debasing sensuality will be banished. Upward to God will the thoughts be directed; to Him will the heart’s devotion ascend.” (AH 94.3)
Converted parents are crucial for proper family government. Rules can be set in place, activities planned, good schools procured, but if parents do not lead by example, all efforts will be of little effect.
“Parents should themselves be converted and know what is to be in submission to God’s will, as little children, bringing into captivity their thoughts to the will of Jesus Christ, before they can rightly represent the government that God designed should exist in the family.” (AH 306.2)
Steadiness, serenity, and a bond between the parents are necessary in family government. United parents who love one another and God above all can be powerful agents for good in the home, church, and modern society.
“Unsteadiness in family government is productive of great harm, in fact is nearly bad as no government at all. The question is often asked, Why are the children of religious parents so often headstrong? The reason is to be found in the home training. Too often the parents are not united in their family government.” (AH 310.2)
After considering that the family is a divine institution, we as a remnant church are called to restore the foundations of the home and make it “a little heaven on Earth”. Let us recommit ourselves and our families in the Lord’s hands so that He may be the One to lead every family in God’s church.