“Home is where the heart is,” so they say. I have heard this phrase often, but it did not resonate until I had a family of my own. We have lived in several apartments and houses in two different states, but we grow closer together because we are able to stay together.
We have already discussed the importance of marriage, the role of the husband, the role of the wife, and principles of parenting. The goal of these is to better understand how the individual pieces fit together to have a Godly home.
A GODLY HOME
Is BUILT by the LORD (Psalm 127). A house built without the Lord is vanity (verse 1), and this includes children (verse 3). Not every couple is able to have biological children. However, there are over 400,000 children in the U.S. foster system at any given moment who are in need of a good Christian home.
Is BLESSED when we fear the LORD (Psalm 128). “Fear” in this context is to reverence, to respect, and to render due regard to God. The blessing includes and extends to wives and children and even children’s children, thus, demonstrating generational blessings.
Exhibits BEHAVIOR rooted in the LORD (Psalm 131). “Surely I have behaved” puts an emphasis on doing something, not just paying lip service to the Lord. Behavior is an action, not just a mindset. Proper behavior includes humility (not being “haughty” or arrogant), being quiet, honoring, listening, and obedience – this not just for children toward parents, but for all of us toward God.
Things to Put Out of Your Family (Ephesians 4:31)
ALL Bitterness – This is like holding a grudge against a spouse, sibling, parent, or child. Bitterness can linger for decades if left unchecked. It is completely toxic and should be dealt with and resolved immediately and conclusively. This verse does not just say “bitterness,” but “ALL bitterness.” Eliminate every bit of it.
Wrath and Anger – We often use these as synonyms, but they are not the same. Anger is an emotion, and wrath is its effect. Essentially, wrath is anger in practice. Bitterness often leads to anger which manifests as wrath.
Clamour – Webster’s 1928 dictionary (which is the only one I trust these days), defines clamour as “a loud noise or great outcry.” This often occurs during heated arguments with yelling and . . .
Evil Speaking – With great clamour comes saying terrible things to each other. Many times, especially between couples, slander erupts during a shouting match. It is an attempt at character assassination or to hurt one another by weaponizing past mistakes. In the heat of the moment, be careful and do NOT use the “d” word. When “divorce” is mentioned out of anger, a rift can emerge and fester that will end badly.
Malice – is “a disposition to injure others without cause” (Webster 1828). It is hatred of one another. Malice is the end result of all of the previous sins.
Notice how each of these builds upon one another. Bitterness leads to anger that manifests as wrath which turns into clamour that includes evil speaking resulting in malic or hatred. The wisdom of the Bible is unmatched. If we simply put out ALL bitterness at the start of this process, we can avoid a whole lot of hurt.
Things to Have in Your Family (Ephesians 4:32)
Kindness – Once again, the ol’ 1828 defines this as “delighting in contributing to the happiness of others.” Kindness is an act of good will or benevolence. In order to be kind, we must be . . .
Tenderhearted – This is similar to kindness and the two are obviously linked. Like wrath and anger, kindness is the manifestation of being tenderhearted.
Communication – This is vital to any relationship, especially in our daily walk with the Lord, but it is incredibly important within a home. 1 Cor. 15:33 tells us, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” We must have open, honest, and godly communication with one another. A family Bible study can really help with this, and it will familiarize the family with Bible terms for better understanding of the Bible to improve communication with each other and other Christians.
Forgiveness – Of course it is often easier to do with children than a spouse, but a spirit of forgiveness should absolutely be cultivated in a godly home. God forgives us, so we should forgive others (Matthew 6:14).
Should we “forgive and forget”? Many will say that it is okay to forgive, but not forget. Is that Biblical? Psalm 103:12 says that God forgives us “as far as the east is from the west.” Colossians 3:13 tells us, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Forgiving but not forgetting can lead to bitterness, anger, and all those things we want to put out of the home.
Should we forgive without being asked? This one is even more difficult to do. Luke 17:3–4 says, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.” We should rebuke someone who offends us, so that they can repent/correct behavior and reconcile. What if no rebuke takes place?
Luke 6:27 says, “Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,”
Luke 23:34 reads, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”
It seems to me that Jesus Christ wants us to love our enemies and forgive those who “know not what they do.” These are not situations in which the offending party asked for forgiveness. It seems to me that if you do not wish to rebuke and allow someone to repent, then forgive anyway
In matters of forgiveness toward a spouse, regardless of rebuke, we should reconcile if possible. However, both parties must want it.
There are occasions when the offense is so great, that it is impossible to fully reconcile:
Adultery (Matt. 5:32) and abandonment (1 Cor. 7:15) are two are clear Biblical grounds for divorce. The Bible is not specific about abuse (mental, emotional, verbal, and spiritual as well as physical), but one can make the case that abuse is a form of abandonment and they are violating all the laws and principles of marriage by harming, instead of loving and caring for their spouse. Women are just as capable as men in committing these acts.
Divorce should be the LAST resort, after counseling (go to your pastor before seeing a psychologist), repentance, and possibly an attempt at reconciliation (again, if both parties agree) or even a temporary separation. When all other recourse has been exhausted, it might be time to split up for good. The Bible does allow for divorce in the cases mentioned above, but it is clear that forgiveness is the ideal.
Many of the principles mentioned throughout these last few weeks are applicable to our extended family, including in-laws, as well. In many cases, we can easily avoid them, but we should still rebuke, repent, reconcile, and practice godly communication with them as well – especially because we should seek to lead the lost to the Lord and avoid a schism in the body of Christ if they are saved.
This concludes our series on The Family. I hope you were able to get something useful out of these lessons from the Bible, regardless of family dynamic. Some of these principles can be applied by non-Christians and they will still work. Because the Bible is Truth, behaving based on Biblical principles will have benefits. However, they will be limited.
To unlock the true power of the Bible, you must believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died, was buried, and resurrected as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for your sins. With the indwelling Holy Spirit that enters at the moment of salvation and the Scriptures at your fingertips, believe and follow every jot and tittle of the Bible and you and your family will be transformed forever.