Text: Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
In the first part of this series, we learn that God had called the Israelites to build their homes in a place where they were the exiles.
In yesterday’s post, we learn that we are the ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-20). In the post today, we will be looking at another thing God had told the Israelites to do:
God told these exiles were to do is to build their family. “Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease” (verse 6)
The Israelites were to start building families, to have children so that their numbers would grow (the increase in number also meant they were flourishing).
They were to build on their family lives because families are the building blocks of the society and subsequently the nation. The family unit is the core of society—a healthy family means a healthy nation.
The Theology of Family relationships has 4 elements. These elements are what God is to us, and how we should be to one another in our family:
(i)Covenant: to love and be loved
Our God loves us unconditionally. How should this be reflected in our family relationships? In our relationships with our family, loving one another includes willing to think of the needs of the other person, learn to serve one another, encourage one another through the good and the bad times and bless one another. It also means to listen to the other and respect his or her perspectives.
(ii) Grace: to forgive and be forgiven
While we were sinners, God sent Jesus Christ into this world to save us from our sins. God forgives our sins and mistakes if we genuinely repent of them. It is through God’s Grace that we are saved.
Grace is a relational word because it invites us into a relationship with God. God designs families to function on grace and forgiveness too. We need to give and receive grace and forgiveness from one another, so that we can move on as a family. The family should be the first place we learn to give and receive forgiveness.
(iii)Empowerment: to serve and be served
Jesus Christ the Son of God came from Heaven to earth to show us the example of servant leadership. Empowerment is the process of helping another person to recognise his or her potential by giving encouragement, affirmation and guidance. Empowerment is born out of God’s covenant love and the amazing grace we find in Christ Jesus. The Spirit of God empowers us to empower others, including our family members, so that we can live according to God’s intended purposes for us.
(iv)Intimacy: to know and be known
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were able to be transparent before God, they could be themselves without any pretense. That is intimacy.
When family members experience covenant love, grace and empowerment, they are able to feel that they can be vulnerable to one another, without the fear of rejection or ridiculed. To be truly intimate, there should be love, grace forgiveness and empowerment.
May God help Christian families to reflect these 4 elements in their family relationships because they come from God to us. They also exist among the Triune God.
When Christians are intentional about nurturing their families, they will be the agents of change in the society. The people in the society will experience selfless love, genuine care, help in times of trouble and need, friendship and blessings of Jesus Christ through us. Remember, we are ambassadors for Christ. And families are the building blocks of the society.
May God give us grace and wisdom in our family life. What are the ways that you can work on your family relationships so that your family carries the blessings and the love of Christ to your society?