Christian Family

The Homefront Is Crumbling

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When John Foster Dulles was secretary of state, he called General Douglas MacArthur’s home one day. Mistaking Dulles’s voice for that of an aide, Mrs. MacArthur snapped, “MacArthur is not here. MacArthur is where MacArthur always is—down at that office!” With this, she hung up abruptly. Within minutes the general received a call from John Foster Dulles saying, “Go home at once, boy. Your home front is crumbling.”1

As we look at society today, you get the impression that we have, for the most part, just lost our minds.  Husbands and wives are divorcing each other.  Children are rebelling against their parents.  Employers are looking for ways to keep workers happy to avoid another workplace incident…all the while keeping their companies profitable. We have tried all kinds of fixes to solve our problems.  We have tried tearing down and rebuilding our educational systems.  We have passed more and more legislation to allow more liberal behaviors.  A freer society surely will make for a happier society, right?  How is that working out so far? No matter how creative the approach, nothing seems to work. Wiersbe said, “Paul’s solution to the antagonisms in the home and in society was regeneration—a new heart from God and a new submission to Christ and to one another.” 2

Biblical Keys to Raising Your Children

“As for children, obey your parents in the Lord, because it is right. The commandment Honor your father and mother is the first one with a promise attached: so that things will go well for you, and you will live for a long time in the land.” Eph. 6:1–3

 

You may have heard parents say, “I want to be my children’s friend.”  My mom had a great counter-argument for that.  “You can find friends.  You need a parent.”  Today it seems we have turned this opening verse in Ephesians on its head.  A modern translation of this might be: “Parents, obey your children, for this will keep them happy and bring you peace.”  If we take this approach, I have one question for you to contemplate: “Who is laying the foundations of right and wrong in the hearts of your children?”

What Are the Foundations God Establishes for Children?

Paul laid out for children four reasons they should obey their parents. This instruction was shared by Paul with Children in the public assembly.

  1. Children are “in the Lord,”

When a person becomes a Christian, their faith in Christ should translate into being a better child at home and aboard. The Christian home should be one of harmony, but not in a utopian sort of way.  If the people in the home; husband, wife, and children are all seeking to live out their faith, there should be less chaos and rebellion. Imagine a household that aims to live their daily lives with Colossians 3:20 as its foundation, “…for this is well pleasing unto the Lord”.

  1. God Expects Obedience  

I used to live with the expectation that I would be obedient.  My grandmother told my adult father once when he was disrespectful, “I brought you into this world, and I will take you out.”  There is a divine order in nature.  At the heart of that divine order is that we are answerable for our actions.  God placed parents in this world to guide us.  We may think we know everything, but we don’t.

  1. Obedience is Instructed By God

Paul draws on the fifth commandment (Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16) and applies it to the New Testament believer. He points out that honoring our parents is deeper than blindly obeying.  It means showing parents love and respect. It means to care about and for them as long as they need it.

There’s another, selfish side of taking care of your parents when they’re old. If we put our parents away, our children watch and remember. The example we live out before them in treating our parents with love and regard is the example they will follow in treating us when we reach old age. If we mistreat our parents or ignore them in their time of need, our children notice that as well. The example we set may be our undoing. [3]

Honoring them is about bringing honor to them so long as God has given them to you. You get to be a blessing to them as they hopefully were a blessing to you. 

  1. Obedience brings blessing

Paul reminds us that there are promises attached to this fifth commandment. “That thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee” (Ex. 20:12).  This promise was given to the Jews as they entered Canaan.  Paul now brings it to us today as a reminder of the kingdom impact being faithful has in the life of the believer.

All this is about laying a good foundation.  I leave you with the wisdom of Proverbs, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  You have an opportunity be a blessing to your children don’t give that responsibility to someone else.

Other posts in this series on the Christian Family.
https://revheadpin.org/2016/08/11/is-the-apostle-paul-a-male-chauvinist

 

[1] Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 136). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[2] The Wiersbe Bible Commentary: New Testament

[3] Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 26). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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46 thoughts on “The Homefront Is Crumbling”

  1. Yes – parents first and friends later… I was lucky that I still lived close enough to my mum to be able to care for her in her own home and sadly this isn’t the case for many families who find themselves hundreds of miles apart… Thanks for this perfect reminder… xx

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  2. This is very encouraging. I agree we need to raise children in the way they should go. We need to dig in and raise them in the word, it’s the only hope we have in their future.

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    1. Hi Dawn. I am glad this provided encouragement for you. Yes and while the is a struggle to raise children in this culture the only way to give them truly what they need in life is to ground that learning in God’s word. Have a great day in the Lord.

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  3. We can’t keep countering the rules that we have just to make our lives easier, the rules are there for a reason and it’s because of that reason that we have improved so much. But it appears that we are going back to our old ways, the way that our ancestors used to live. We are not looking for freedom, we won’t get it this way.

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  4. I love the message. Everything starts at home, we have to make our children understand why we have a set of rules to follow, we have to explain that to them so that when they grow up to be adults, they won’t have to question the system that we so carefully built for their safety. We are losing the values that we learned, it’s disappointing.

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    1. Amanda. You are right about the importance of starting with the home. It is where we build that solid foundation that will last a lifetime. Thanks for reading the affirmation. Have a great day.

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  5. You need to be a parent first, then a friend – parents are the ones who teach children what’s good and bad and there have to be rules to follow.

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  6. Beautiful post! It’s something to remember as I look forward to the next chapter of my life. Now that I am older, I am forever grateful that my parents were parents…and not friends.

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  7. I agree. We are living in a scary world where we’re not sure what’s going to happen right now. But we have people around us that can make it easier. We just need to remember they are there and important.

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  8. What a great post, as a parent myself you got to make sure your child is brought up the right way to get them through life.

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  9. I have a theory that sometimes the problem is that people (parents) don’t value themselves. They don’t realize what an impact they have on their kids (negatively) or understand how much positive influence they are capable of.

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    1. Karla. That is an interesting theory. We have taken so much responsibility from parents and told them then have parented wrong, that I can see them having doubts about their ability. I will have to think about that one some more.

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  10. Children need structure and boundaries for sure. I learned this when I worked at a Montessori school. It helps when you set these boundaries from the start and not waiver from them. It also makes it easier to be an authority figure without having to yell or get angry. Whenever I have children one day, I aspire to lead them with authority but without having to get angry.

    Nina
    aworldofdresses.com

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  11. I love this post! I am not a parent yet nor a product of an unhealthy relationship nor irresponsible parenthood but I know a lot of friends who have been throuh such challenge and I know how much they suffer emotionally, mentally and spiritually… for me, the reason behind this is that they failed to put God in the center of their relationship … if there is no faith involves, everything can be brittle

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    1. I thank you for reading. Many parents do struggle because we don’t have good models. That is not always their fault. Society has devalued the importance of family. And many have turned child rearing over to schools or television

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  12. It’s not just that they’ve been told they’re doing parenting wrong (my opinion). People have gotten so far away from God – they don’t realize how precious they are to Him. I know, before I made Jesus my focus, I did a lot of self-destructive things, mostly because I didn’t value myself.

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  13. I agree with “I want to be my children’s friend” when parents say but they really need to work hard to become friends with children. It doesn’t work just by saying.

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    1. I think what parents really mean is they want a trusting and open relationship with their children. Where their children and come to them with any issue and know they will be loved and heard. Thanks for reading.

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  14. 100 percent – parents first and friends later, unfortunately, I’m only 20, not parents yet still in university lol but this very helpful article thank you for sharing this

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