I remember being in college and dreading one type of assignment over any other. It was the group project. The first time as a freshman that I was assigned a group project I thought, “This is great!” I and 3 other students were assigned a topic there were four aspects to this topic that we had to cover and we were given 20 minutes of class time to choose which aspect of the topic we each wanted to cover and we were each to write 3 pages of material that we would have 20 minutes to put together into a 12-page paper and then we would have to give an oral presentation of our findings. Well, the day came to put the paper together, I had my 3 pages carefully put together. I had thoroughly researched my material and carefully crafted each sentence. I was frustrated and dismayed to find that one of our members had failed to do his job! Instead of 3 pages of material he had only a link to a Wikipedia article and that was it! Needless to say, all of our grades suffered.
After that experience, whenever I was assigned to be in group projects, I would make it my responsibility to check on everyone and make sure that they were accomplishing the work they were supposed to accomplish! I had learned a lesson, sometimes, people do not do what they are supposed to do. Sometimes they do not perfectly fulfill their responsibilities.
Now, a few months ago, I met with some area pastors to watch a session from a counseling conference that had gone virtual this year and the session from the conference was about the family. In the session I watched with them, the speaker talked about the importance of having a God-centered family. As I was driving home from that meeting, I believe God put the concept into my head and on my heart that a family is the ultimate group project! Everyone has God-given responsibilities in the family and everyone has to do their part. When someone doesn’t do their part, everyone suffers, and when family members fulfill their God-given responsibilities, everyone benefits.
After Heather and I got married it didn’t take us long to realize that when one of us was in a bad mood, or just woke up grumpy, or on “the wrong side of the bed” it was all too easy for us to make the other one grumpy! And that is usually exactly how it goes isn’t it? The joyful one soon becomes grumpy because of the attitude of the grumpy one! My point is that the decisions we make and the actions we take don’t just affect us, they affect everyone in the family.
It is important that your family be on the same page with having a desire to honor God as a family. I believe that the most important ingredient to a healthy God honoring family is a desire to honor God as a family. You have to all be on the same page and desiring to move in the same direction. I realize there are instances where family members are not on the same page, and if you find yourself in a situation like this then make sure that as much as it depends on you, your desire is to honor God as a family. God’s Word has a lot to say about the family and it contains many guidelines that God has given for family members to follow.
I recently preached a series on the family and in it I shared four principles that I believe make the home a sweeter place when they are lived out in daily life. In fact, these principles can apply to any relationship even beyond the family.
THREE VERSES AND FOUR PRINCIPLES FOR YOUR FAMILY TO PURSUE:
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” ~ 1 Peter 4:8
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Love, Kindness, Forgiveness, and Encouragement. Those are the four principles to make your home a sweeter place. The family that ignores these things will suffer for it! The family that intentionally focuses on these things and pursues them will be much more likely to thrive. Love, Kindness, Forgiveness, and Encouragement are key ingredients to a God-centered family. What can you do to improve in living these things out?