Sunday, September 25, 2005

Your Family

If you were brought up in a Christian home, your family probably paid special attention to your spiritual growth, by watching for your soul. Mothers and fathers who really care about their children's souls will take the time correct bad attitudes, teach good habits, and guide them into worthwhile goals. Many children grow up and think that they are "self-made," but much of the credit belongs to the parents, and it is wise to honor them by living the values they tirelessly imparted to you.

What grown children are today, can be a reflection and continuation of their parent's ideals, especially if they were given the opportunity to have a Christian education and a rich home life.

If you, as a young adult, know your parents' hopes for you, and know what would make them happy regarding your conduct, then do not deliberately disappoint them. I'm not saying you have to become a doctor if they want you to become a doctor, but if you are kind to them concerning your relationships with others, and your respect toward them, it will be enough.

Family doesn't end just because a child has grown up. Adult children continue to give those who benefited their lives, a good reputation, by living up to the scriptural standards they were taught. Because time goes so fast, it is impossible to teach a child within the span of 20 years or so, what they need to know for life. Therefore, a parent tries to give the a set of values by which to measure their thoughts, decisions, plans and activities.

A list might look something like this:
1. Would this grieve my parents?
2. Would it give the church a good reputation?
3. Would it destroy my testimony about the Lord in my life?
4. Is it good, pure, honest humble or praise-worthy?
5. Will I be ashamed of it years later?
6. Can I use this situation to launch my profession as a Christian?
7. Will it influence others to honor their parents and those that care and protect them?
8. Does it inspire others to live a victorious life?
9. Would I want my son or daughter to do the same thing?

These are just a few, to give you an idea of how to develop a set of values. There are probably dozens more lists like this. If something doesn't quite balance or weigh-up, as good and positive, then it is best to set it aside and walk away from it. When unsure about something, we try to leave it alone until it can prove to be a valuable spiritual asset.

Their consciences should be ultra-sensitive to their parents and family's spiritual investment in them. How should they pay them back for the time and money that was sacrificed? By using these values in the choice of mates, and then reproducing these principles, laws, statutes, testimonies and examples they were taught from the scriptures, in their own children, in the churches they belong to, and in their own lives continually.

People worry about "getting somewhere" in their lives, but the most important thing to get, is the character that only a strong commitment to the laws and principles of the Lord, can produce. So, remember the time and the effort that was spent on you, and re-invest it back into your family and the church. If you haven't got a family yet, helping your parents achieve their goals in their lives (ministry, house, home, other family) is a tremendous blessing.

Inside the mind, there should be an imaginary little set of balance scales where you determine how to live. When you are presented with a problem or confronted for a decision about a belief or an action, your mind is trained to filter the problem through a set of questions or standards. These then help to eliminate anything that you should not do, and spur you on to the things you should.

I once heard that if you just taught a child to have a clear conscience (so that he does not do things which offend, and makes things right when he does), a feeling of personal responsibility (so that he does what needs to be done when he sees the need, and doesn't pass it off to someone else), a learner's attitude (he is willing to listen to wisdom, and seeks truth, and does not stop up his ears), and to be a minister's heart (that is, looking at all things--whether work, play, sympathizing, counselling, serving, etc. as a personal ministry) that they would be equipped for life.

A thorough knowledge of the contents of the Bible will develop the conscience so that it will be pricked when he does wrong, and prompted to do right. If it seems difficult to get into Bible study, just begin with Proverbs. Choose a chapter a day corresponding with the day of the month. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, and most people say it is amazing how each chapter applies to their lives that day.

Being from a family is more than just being related to them. It is a bond of values that you share and uphold. It is honoring each other by not breaking that bond. Parents especially know that just because their children are grown, their spiritual responsibilites must still be exercised. They continue to be examples, pray, and be available to give good counsel. They didn't invest all those years in their children only to throw all care to the wind and abandon their offspring and let the world take over. There is still much to be done.

This is the most recent picture of our family, taken this year. Our daughter is married with 3 children, and our two sons, 22 and 30, flank both sides of my husband. We try to pass on good things to our grandchildren, and be best friends with our children. As a family, we bear one another's sorrows, and rejoice heartily with one another's triumphs. We continue to pray for God to be gracious to our sons and send them wives who will help bear the responsibility of having a strong marriage, home, and family.

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