The disintegration of the family unit is, doubtless, one of the greatest tragedies of modern times; a spiritual catastrophe so devastating that it is causing concern to almost all the governments of the world. Disinterested and irresponsible parents, sullen and rebellious children, battered wives and babies, adultery, incest, fornication, drug-abuse, alcoholism and a total lack of communication are evils which are commonplace these days in homes throughout the world. Even more distressing is the fact that most of these problems are escalating out of control, despite the valiant efforts being made to contain them.
Perhaps you live in a home where one or more of these problems exist: where genuine love is a fading memory and peace a total stranger: a home which has become a verbal battleground between husband and wife, father and son, mother and daughter, brother and sister: a home where ridicule has replaced respect and where physical or mental cruelty is the norm.
If you do, then take courage because all is not lost. For, incredible as this may sound, it is still possible even at a very late stage to reverse such a trend and to turn your home into a sanctuary of true love and peace; a place where every member of the family is welcomed and valued.
How can this seemingly impossible objective be achieved?
The answer is so simple that there is a real danger you may dismiss it with a shrug of unbelief. But don't do that, because this remedy really does work and multiplied millions of believers through the ages have applied it with success. Here is the remedy - a spiritual formula - in a single sentence.
Have Faith in YaHuWaH the Almighty, your Heavenly Father and prayerfully put into practice His advice concerning family life.
This basic instruction - so childishly simple though it sounds - really does work. So we respectfully urge all readers to give it a try: for who is better qualified to advise on family life than the Creator himself; the one who designed the family unit in the first place. To enable the reader to speedily understand the instructions of YaHuWaH this lesson has been arranged under the following headings:
- THE MARRIAGE INSTITUTION
- THE HUSBAND / FATHER
- THE WIFE / MOTHER
- COMMUNICATIONS IN THE HOME
To obtain the best results from this lesson the reader must aim at its personal application. This means that after reading these pages, and especially when studying the Scriptural passages quoted, you must resist the temptation of evaluating the performance of the other members of your family. To be sure it is an easy thing to find fault with others, and often there is ample cause for doing so: but criticizing others will never benefit you. And if you make a habit of it then this lesson will prove of little value to you. Much rather would we see you apply the lesson to yourself, no matter how much more you think it applies to somebody else.
Husbands should, therefore, dwell on the section headed The Husband/Father.
Wives should pay special attention to the section headed The Wife/Mother.
And children must beware of using these Scriptural guidelines to belittle their parents; an act which itself is a violation of the fifth commandment.
||"Honor your father and your mother."
Instead, be strict with yourself and forbearing with others. In this way each member of the family will benefit from the lesson and the remedy will begin to take effect in your life and home.
Here, then, are the scriptural guidelines for a happy and blessed home. Success will come in direct proportion to their application.
The Marriage Institution
Marriage is a divine institution designed by the Almighty for the happiness of mankind and, more importantly, to reflect His own spiritual relationship with His people.
(Genesis 1:27-28, Genesis 2:18-24, Isaiah 62:4-5, Hosea 2:19-20, Isaiah 54)
- Marriage is for life and can only be dissolved by the death of one of the parties. The Almighty abhors divorce, and though it is an extremely common practice these days, divorce is nevertheless totally distasteful to YaHuWaH.
(Matthew 19:3-9, Malachi 2:14-15)
- In view of these two facts, that marriage is a divine institution ordained by the Almighty to last till death, married couples ought never to toy with the idea that if all doesn't go well then they could, with YaHuWaH 's approval, obtain a divorce and marry new partners. Millions of potentially happy marriages have been wrecked by this insidious delusion and not a week passes when yet another marriage breakdown is reported. The first step in achieving success in marriage, is to determine that come what may your marriage is not going to fail, but succeed. And not only is it going to succeed, but with the Almighty's help it will be so happy that in time it will begin to reflect the beautiful relationship that He is to have with His people. The following scriptural passages make these points clear and show how sacred and enduring the marriage bond really is. Read them each time you are tempted to think otherwise.
(Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:3-9, Mark 10:11-12, Jeremiah 23:10)
The Husband / Father
- The husband is the divinely appointed head of the home; the one held most responsible by the Almighty for the physical and spiritual welfare of the whole family. He is required by the Most High to exercise his authority with the utmost care, taking as his example the Messiah himself.
- A husband's allegiance to his wife overrides his allegiance to all his friends and relatives, including his parents and children. This is because in the sight of the Almighty a married couple is "one flesh," one unit, one spiritual entity, not two. A husband should, therefore, love and cherish his wife above all earthly beings, treating her with the gentleness, respect and attention that is the wife's divine right. This means that in their relationship there should be NO place for:
- Physical violence and viciousness of any kind
- Mental cruelty or oppression
- Spite, hatred or ridicule. See the section on Communications in the home, for in this area millions of couples are woefully ignorant.
- Marital infidelity (adultery). This is by far the most destructive element in a marriage relationship, so much so that the Almighty devoted one of the ten commandments to it. In awesome tones He commanded: "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
Modern society has glamorized adultery to such an extent that it is no longer looked upon as a sin. But the Almighty's law cannot be broken with impunity: adulterers and fornicators invariably pay a heavy price for their sins. So do not deceive yourself because you will certainly suffer for it. Above all, do not treat your wife as a sex object.
(Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 22:22, Jeremiah 29:22-23, Proverbs 6:27-32)
The aim of every husband should be to love, cherish and honor his wife; finding in her the companion and friend she was designed by the Almighty to be. If a man does this, he will be a real blessing to his wife and pave the way to lasting happiness for his entire family.
(Proverbs 5:18-19, 1 Peter 3:7)
- Laziness is strongly condemned in the Scriptures. Therefore, so as far as possible, a man should work for his living and provide for his wife and family.
(Proverbs 6:6&9, Proverbs 20:4)
- It is the responsibility of both parents (particularly the father's) to train their children to be citizens of worth. Juvenile delinquency, a major cause for concern these days, would be a rare thing indeed if fathers followed YaHuWaH 's instructions concerning the rearing of their children. Listed below are some guidelines as to why and how this should be done:
- Train up your child to respect the Almighty YaHuWaH, the Creator of the universe! It is impossible to over emphasize the importance of this single instruction. One might say that it is the cornerstone of good character.
- Teach your children the commandments of YaHuWaH. You could hardly expect them to live upright lives if they do not know right from wrong. The commandments of the Most High define sin, they state in plain and simple terms what sin is and what righteousness is, and children must be taught to recognize the difference. The Ten Commandments are recorded in the Bible in Exodus chapter 20 and explained in great depth in Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7. Spend a few minutes each day reading these and other portions of Scripture to your family. Enormous benefits will be the result. Children must be taught the Ten Commandments.
- Without being cruel or too severe, chasten (smack) a naughty child. The Holy Scriptures come out strongly in favor of corporal punishment when it is deserved. If a child persists in doing what it has been told not to do, it should be physically punished. The family or society which rejects the Almighty's instructions in this vital matter of punishing a wayward child will certainly suffer the consequences when those same children grow up.
(Proverbs 3:12 and 13:2, Deuteronomy 8:5, Proverbs 19:18 & 22:15)
- Do not provoke, harass or discourage your children, but treat them with the respect that is their due.
- Set a good example, for after all is said and done "the glory of children is their father."
- Imitate the Most High, for is He not the Husband of the Church and the Father of us all?
The Wife / Mother
- A million words would not suffice to tell the worth of a good wife. She is the heart of the family just as surely as the husband is the head. The Scriptures abound with praises for the woman who reaches YaHuWaH 's standard, for, then does she becomes a blessing to the whole community and a lasting joy to her husband.
(Proverbs 18:22, 19:14)
- In Proverbs chapter 31 the manifold virtues of the perfect wife are listed and every woman would do well to study that chapter. At a first reading the standard called for may appear quite impossible to reach; but like all divine requirements it can be met with the Almighty's assistance. The original Hebrew word translated "virtuous" in Proverbs 31:10 is hayil. It means strong in all moral qualities. Listed below are a few of the moral qualities wives should aim to be strong in:
- She is virtuous and, therefore, priceless. (verses 10-11)
- She is not lazy but industrious. (verses 13-15, 19&24)
- She handles the family budget wisely. (verse 14&16)
- She is kind and generous to the poor. (verse 20)
- She is confident. (verse 21)
- She is a source of honor to her husband. (verse 23)
- She is not slovenly but well dressed. (verse 22)
- She is respected in the community. (verse 23&25)
- She is wise and well able to advise others in YaHuWaH 's Torah. (verse 26)
- She is careful of her family's needs. (verse 27)
- She is respected by her husband and family. (verse 28)
- She is not vain, but reverences the Most High. (verse 30)
- It is that last point, her recognition of vanity for what it is and her reverence of the Most High that is the secret of her worth. The wife who reveres the Almighty and seeks to live in accordance with His Torah will go on to become a crown of blessing to her husband and a priceless gem in the Eternal's sight.
(Proverbs 12:4, 31:10)
- In direct contrast to the above we find the unworthy women described in the Scriptures, in whom one or more of the following traits are found:
- The contentious and angry spirit. (Proverbs 21:9&19, also 27:15)
- Promiscuous, whorish behavior. (Proverbs 6:24-32)
- Dressing and posing as men. (Deuteronomy 22:5)
- The scheming, hateful spirit. (Ecclesiastes 7:26)
- Taking over men's duties in the church.
- According to YaHuWaH 's Word, a wife should be submissive to her husband; for the husband is the head of the wife even as Messiah is the head of the church. We will admit that this standard - and especially that word "submissive" - will rankle in the minds of many in this electronic age; but we are dealing here with the Word of YaHuWaH, the living Elohim, not with the fickle fashions of a confused and wayward generation.
- A wife's behavior, the way she ought to dress, how she should speak to her husband and her whole attitude and outlook towards life are perfectly described in 1 Peter 3:1-6. Women who seek to excel in everything that is truly worthwhile, should closely study those verses and practice the directions listed in that inspired instruction. The resulting benefits to the family and community at large will be incalculable.
- Modern ideas about the liberation of women are perfectly acceptable to a degree, for women have been treated as second class citizens for too long. Indeed, according to YaHuWaH 's Word they are man's equal and not to be treated as inferiors. But when the so-called liberator's theories clash with the plain teachings of the Bible regarding the various roles men and women have been authorized to fulfill, you can be sure that in the end those theories when implemented will bring sorrow to the very women they are intended to help. Much rather would we see women following the plain teachings of the Scriptures in this delicate matter of how to live, how to speak to their husbands and how to manage their households.
Holiness, purity of mind, gentleness, hospitality, kindness and all those other admirable qualities that the Scriptures tell of, are what the believing wife must aim for. If you are a wife and mother you must begin to practice those things, for in the doing of them you will bring great blessing to your entire family - whether they believe in the Most High or not.
- Everyone knows from the youngest member to the oldest that mother is the heart of the family. If you are a wife and mother, remember that you hold a sacred position; a position that is the symbol of YaHuWaH 's Church. Yes, a wife and mother's position in the home represents the role of the Church in this world. To you has been granted the inestimable privilege of not only bringing new life into the world (giving birth to physical children), but also of molding the character of future generations. You can be in your family circle what the Most High intended the church to be in the community:
Pause awhile and consider those three sacred responsibilities. If under YaHuWaH 's guidance you decide to do the best you can, using whatever talents and time you possess to maximum advantage, He will make you a greater blessing to your family, your friends and your community than you can remotely imagine. As the Scriptures so aptly put it:
- The heart (the emotional hub of the family and community)
- The nourisher (the provider of the physical and spiritual meals)
- The main channel of communication between all the members of the family - and the community.
||"Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands."
- When the world children is used, people normally think of young persons under the age of about 15 years; and of course that is true to a certain extent. In this lesson, however, and you will have noticed that it is directed mostly at adults, the word 'children' includes all those whose parents or grandparents are still alive. In other words this section could apply to you, whatever your age, so long as you have even one parent alive. With that thought in mind let us examine what the Scriptures have to say about the responsibilities of children.
- By far the most well known instruction to a child (of any age) is to "honor thy father and thy mother." This is one of the Ten Commandments and it was written by the Almighty himself on tablets of stone to indicate its eternal nature. To "honor" means to hold in high regard, to respect, to look up to, to think well of, to defer to and whenever their commands are in line with YaHuWaH 's Torah - to obey. Do you do that? Or are you guilty of breaking the divine commandment to "honor thy father and thy mother?" So highly does the Almighty regard this commandment that it is the first one with a built-in promise.
(Exodus 20:12, Leviticus 19:3)
- Children were intended by the Most High to be a great joy to their parents, and they certainly are when they do what the Almighty commands; they bring blessing not only to themselves and the family but to the whole community. To accomplish this they may have to make some sacrifices, and many may wonder if it is worth the effort, but He who weighs every motive and action will certainly reward those who keep His law. So set it as a goal to gladden the heart of your mother and father. Indeed, make it your aim to be as good a son or daughter to your earthly parents as you would like to be to your heavenly father. If you do this the Almighty Elohim will bless you out of all proportion to your actions.
(Proverbs 10:1, 15:5, 23:24, Psalm 127:3-4)
- Do not look upon discipline as a form of punishment: it is because your parents love you that they reprove and discipline you. Indeed, our Heavenly Father disciplines all his children because He loves us. Discipline is a means of training.
- Children who dishonor their parents sow to themselves a bitter crop of sorrow and tears. (Proverbs 15:5, 20:20, 30:17) Study these Scriptures for they contain warnings of great importance.
- Never mock your parents. Mockery is verbal violence. The Eternal is not pleased when He sees and hears children attempting to make fools of their elders, especially their parents. To physically strike a parent is also a grievous sin.
(Proverbs 30:17, Exodus 21:15-17)
- One of the last prophecies in the Bible to be fulfilled before the Messiah returns to this earth concerns the "reconciling of the hearts of children to their fathers". It is one of the most beautiful predictions in the whole of Scripture and it is coming true at this moment in the lives of millions of believers all over the globe. Make every effort to be a part of that prophecy by being reconciled with your parents.
Communications in the Home
Life's dearest moments, in spite of the sick jokes to the contrary, are mostly found in the home and within the circle of ones own family. Just think of how great an influence the family has on each individual; for it is mostly within that circle that real character is forged, developed and eventually exhibited.
Educational institutions may test ones memory and intelligence, employers may evaluate ones ability and output, governmental authorities may assess ones wealth, but it is only in the environment of the home that the true worth or worthlessness of an individual comes to light.
YaHuWaH intended the home to be the seedbed of truth, the place where children and their parents were to learn, appreciate and practice the real values of life; values which can only be learned in the company of others. And what are those values? They are:
- Love and affection
- Sacrifice - that greatest of spiritual investments
- A sense of responsibility towards others
- How to live under and how to exercise authority
- Good communications
These and many other values are best learned in the family circle; and the Almighty Creator has designed it so in order that we may know how to behave towards the whole Family of Mankind of which He is the Everlasting Father.
Here, then, in summary are two challenging facts:
- YaHuWaH designed the human family to reflect His special relationship with His people.
- And the family circle is the best environment for the development of character.
In view of this, let the reader endeavor to live in his/her home as though in the very presence of the Most High. It is an exceedingly high standard we will admit, and one that many may think quite impossible to attain. But it can be done. Indeed, with the Almighty's assistance it is already being done in believers homes all around the world, and yours could be one of them. That is the challenging point of this lesson; to bring happiness to you and your family. Are you courageous enough to give it a try?
If you are, then begin right away by placing your faith in the Most High. Your next move is to learn His will, as specified in the Bible, and then put into practice the things you know to be right. If you do these three things you will be on the pathway of Life.
A few closing thoughts about communications. The Bible has some invaluable advice about communications; about how we should talk to one another. Remember that people cannot see your motives; nor are they able to read your thoughts. All they can initially assess you by are the words you speak and how you speak them. It is no good blundering through life saying what you don't mean, and meaning what you don't say. You must learn how to communicate with others - especially your own family - if you want to be happy. In short, you must learn how to speak, with the right tone, without insinuations, sarcasm and back-bitings. Believe me your very happiness in coming years and possibly even your job depends upon it. Yes communications are that important. Here are a few Bible hints about verbal communications:
- Let your speech be always with grace - courteous, polite and with good taste.
- Let your speech always be sound - true, wholesome and clean.
- Answer gently. (Proverbs 15:1)
- Use your words to bring cheer. (Proverbs 12: 25)
- Remember that what comes out of your mouth is a clear indication to the Almighty and your companions of what is in your heart. (Matthew 15:18-19)
- Do not engage in obscene or foolish talk. (Matthew 12:36)
- And always bear in mind the value and power of spoken words, for they are like apples of gold in pictures of silver. (Proverbs 25:11)
And there you have it: the formula for family life. Does this formula work? We can assure you that it does. Multiplied millions of believers around the globe will join us in saying - it works!