By Pastora Monique Lopez Ong
The family is the idea of God. It is not good for man to be alone, He said. He made man to have dominion over all of creation. He also asked Adam and Eve to go forth and multiply. You were never meant to be alone. The basic unit of society is the family. And the basic unit of the church is not the building: it is the people. The real church is not a building: it is the family.
God wants a relationship with you. The face of the kingdom of God is families. Every kingdom subject has to do with the basic concept of family. If the church is not one family, you are missing out; because the church now becomes an organization or an institution. You are missing out because God wants a relationship with you. If you do not feel like you are a part of your church’s family, you are simply getting religion. How is your relationship with God? If you have a relationship with God, you will automatically want a relationship with others.
The family order is necessary for an abundant life. God first, husband and wife next, and children next. He is showing you a prophetic foretaste of what family should be. God uses this as an illustration of what it should look like when Jesus, the bridegroom loves His bride, the church (the wife) - and what does the wife do? She submits to God in everything.
If you want an abundant life, fix your relationship with your husband or wife. Pride is the downfall of all relationships. Jesus commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Wives should submit to their husbands as well. Children should honor their parents for their life to be abundant as well. You know this already - the problem is in the application. Will you do it? God wants you to enjoy this life. But it will require that your family is in order. Ephesians 5 lists everything you need to do. Just do it. Obedience is key.
God has a heart for the broken. If you made a mistake and your family is broken, Psalm 68:5-6 says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” The church is your family. God places the lonely is families, in church. No one is alone in this church. Everyone is part of God’s family. Are you willing to be a part of it? God is drawn to places and situations of hurt and brokenness and He comes in. If you open the door, God will feast with you. If your family is broken, God will be your family and will give you an abundant life.
Ephesians 1:5 says, “He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—.” No one is an orphan. The key is Jesus Christ. Everyone has a family in church and this family is for eternity. An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go with each other.”
You are called to intentionally create family and community wherever you go.
Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Welcome people into your family. Healthy families are attractive because you have something that they do not have. You have Jesus. So whenever you have the opportunity, you should do good to everyone especially to those in the family of faith.
Think, choose and act like healthy family members.
Romans 12:9-12 says “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” The kingdom of God talks about unconditional love. Unhealthy family dynamics are of the world. Do not focus on them. God gives everyone gifts accordingly. Use your gifts for the kingdom of God. Love one another and help each other out.
In a healthy family, you are willing to grow your capacity to trust and be trusted. Do not feel that you are constantly being watched. Trust and learn to be trusted.
Matthew 18:15 says, ““If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” Talk about your issues amongst yourselves. Do not bring an army right away. Most issues can be fixed right away without bringing the entire congregation.
Luke 17:3-4 says, “So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
Forgiveness is a kingdom lifestyle. If somebody apologizes to you, forgive. Do not withhold a grudge from anybody lest the blessings stop flowing for you.
You are loyal. You show this when people fail. You do not punish or abandon them. You commit to restore them. You should have each others’ backs.
Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” Help each other to the best of your ability. And do not fall into the same temptation. The goal is to finish the race all at the same time. Try not to leave anyone behind. Psalm 141:5 says, “Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness; let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.” Help those who fail.
You are a child of God. He loves you. He wants a genuine relationship with you. Enough with being a dysfunctional family. When one is hurt, everyone should be hurt. When one’s name is tarnished, all is not well. Be a healthy family. Extend forgiveness. Make church a safe place for everyone. God is your Father and you are His children.