The family is important because it is the initial learning place of right and wrong (Prov. 22:6). In it we are taught morality, or immorality. We are instructed in authority, for good or ill. It is the beginning of our religious training, whether reverence or blasphemy. We also learn a work ethic, or lack thereof.
History reveal the rise and fall of nations depends greatly on the family. The following is noted in Grant Caldwell’s The Home—God’s First Great Institution. In Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire, there was the problem of a rapid increase in divorce in ancient Rome. The “dignity and sanctity of the home” were being undermined. In the first five centuries of Rome there was no divorce, but at the end divorce took place for frivolous reasons. Seneca said there was no shame in divorce and you marry to be divorced.
Society breaks down when the home breaks down. Note these statistics.
- 1940: less than five percent.
- 1970: about 9 percent.
- 1999: more than 30 percent.
Children living with biological fathers & mothers.
- First marriage, intact two-parent family: 44.9 percent.
- Second marriage, two-parent stepfamily: 24.8 percent.
- Cohabiting couple: 6.7 percent.
- Single parent, divorced/separated: 16.3 percent.
- Single parent, widowed: 2.4 percent.
- Single parent, never married: 4.9 percent.
Criminality related to family background.
- Raised in intact married-parent family: 1.00 percent.
- Raised in a Mother-only home: 2.07 percent.
- Raised in a Mother & Stepfather home: 2.71 percent.
- Raised in a Father & Stepmother home: 3.70 percent.
- Intact married: 1.0 percent.
- Divorced families: 1.9 percent.
- Never married: 4.3 percent.
- Intact: 19.9 percent.
- Single/never-married: 29.0 percent.
- Divorced: 35.3 percent.
- Intact: 2.8 percent.
- Divorced: 5.2 percent.
- Single/never-married: 7.5 percent.
Sexual Activity (ages 14-18).
- Intact: 32.3 percent.
- Stepparent: 51.1 percent.
- Cohabiting: 51.7 percent.
- Divorce, single parent: 52.0 percent.
- Single/never-married mother: 54.1 percent.
There Is Hope
There is hope for your family. The Word of God guides us in all aspects of life (2 Pet. 1:3). Husbands and wives need to love and respect one another, following God’s will and honoring their respective roles (Eph. 5:22-33; Titus 2:4, 5). Parents must be parents to their children, raising them to respect God and His will (Eph. 6:1-4).
The Bible gives us many examples of godly families living in an ungodly world. Noah raised his sons right, led his wife in righteousness, so they were spared from the flood when God destroyed the rest of the world for wickedness (Gen. 6:5-11; 7:1). Abraham was one who loved God and was chosen by God to be separated from all of humanity; through his Seed the world would be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3; Gal. 3:16). Samuel turned out good in spite of the unruliness of Israel at the time, including the priest’s sons, in large part because of his godly mother (1 Sam. 1:28; 3:19). Zacharias and Elizabeth lived righteously before God were able to raise John to be a God-fearing man like no other (Lk. 1:5, 6; Matt. 11:11). These families were not perfect, but they did humble themselves before God and diligently sought His ways.
If we stick to the truth of the Word, we can have a family that is pleasing to God. This is so even though we live in such a wicked world. Our sons and daughters can be models of virtue. It is not a foregone conclusion that they will get into drugs or have sex before marriage. They do not have to go off into a journey of self-discovery that includes tattoos and body piercings. Let us teach them to dress right, speak right, and act right…And a lot of prayer won’t hurt.