Thursday, January 08, 2015

Two Families

By Rick Blumenberg / @RickBlumenberg
This blog was originally posted as "Functional and Dysfunctional Families" but I really didn't like the title, so I've changed it. If you read it previously all that has changed is the title.
Recently a TV host called Thanksgiving “the most dysfunctional family holiday”. I assume he meant his own family, and projected that to others. On the other hand, it does seem many non-church families are dysfunctional. I don’t suggest church families are perfect, but the Bible, the church and her various groups (children, youth, men, ladies, mother’s, marriage, etc.) all work individually and collectively to strengthen families. No other organization in the world does as much to enhance family life as God’s church.
Years ago an unchurched young man came to church with one of our youth. Musically inclined, he played guitar with the youth and soon accepted Christ as Savior. He was so excited about what he had found he inspired our entire congregation, writing Gospel songs and performing them with a band he created for youth events.
But his mom was worried. She thought our church too extreme and might be a cult. She made him stop coming to church. I didn’t hear from him for months, but heard he was in a band and into drugs. When I saw his mother at a mall I asked how he was doing. Tears came to her eyes as she replied,
“Not good at all. I so wish he was back in your church.”
Godly families are made strong and loving by God Himself, God’s Word, and God’s church. God really cares about us and our families. (God loves families so much he designed the church on the family model!)
Every family has a Heavenly Father who loves them supremely. Every child has an Elder Brother, Jesus, who looks out for them. Every family has God’s Spirit to lead, guide, encourage, teach, and love them unconditionally. And the church, the “Bride of Christ” is a loving mother. This spiritual family doesn’t compete with our earthly families but helps us be strong, functional families that bless each other and our various communities.
In spite of all the family help in the church, sometime we need extra help to be strong, healthy families. Psychological and counseling centers can really help in those situations, but even there most of the good ones are grounded in the Word of God and grow out of God’s church—either an extension of the church or a godly counselor who is part of a church.
It’s also a great family blessing when extended families are rooted in the church. I’m blessed to have that kind of family. My wife and I each came from multi-generational church-grounded families. Can you imagine what a blessing that is to us and our progeny? My Mom’s family, the Aringtons, have had family reunions since before 1869—we’re not sure when they began. This family has produced a multitude of minister’s and innumerable powerful lay leaders in the Church of God and several other churches. The Aringtons are about as “functional” as a family can be, not because they are all perfect people, but because they are rooted and grounded in God and his church. Whatever the name of the church they attend, they are usually highly involved and add to the richness and blessing of their congregation.
Do we have dysfunctional families in the church? Sure. (And we’re looking for more). All families have problems we don’t want—divorces, troubled children, alcoholics, recreational drugs—you name it, we probably have it or have had it in our families. But when we have problems we usually get our lives straightened out because our families and our churches love us and pray for us. God’s church impacts the family in powerful ways and I thank God for both—the church and the family—two of God’s greatest earthly blessings.
Of course, there are functional families outside the church, but percentage-wise there are fewer because it is so difficult without the help of God and his church.

The biggest difference between churched and unchurched families is that church families know God is on our side, not because we’re Christians—he loves us all. The difference is that we know He is pulling for us, we know he knows how to help, and we welcome his help.

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