Eight-year-old Danny Dutton’s teacher assigned her class to “explain God.” Danny wrote, “One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grown-ups, just babies, I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way, He doesn’t have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk; He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.” The innocence of a child highlights the importance of the family.
A recent Pew survey revealed that, while nearly 40 per cent of Americans think marriage is obsolete, more than three-quarters say it’s best that children be reared by parents who are married.
1. How did Jesus define marriage, its origin and permanence?
Matthew 19:4–6 “At the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ . . . So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.’ ”
In defining marriage from Eden as a union between a man and a woman, Jesus ruled out other sexual arrangements as legitimate or beneficial. Seth Eisenberg, president of the PAIRS Foundation (Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills), one of the biggest relationship-education organisations in America, says, “Marriage is like glue. You can build something with it. Living together is like Velcro. The commitment of marriage gives people the opportunity to grow and thrive in ways that other relationships do not.”
2. What is one of the purposes and privileges of marriage?
Genesis 1:28 “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth.’ ”
Research shows that children need quality care from both parents or with stable substitutes for parents. The most caring teacher cannot provide the loving attention of parents and other family members.
3. How did Paul explain the fifth commandment for children and parents?
Ephesians 6:1–4 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord . . . which is the first commandment with a promise—‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
4. What had Timothy known from a child?
2 Timothy 3:15 “From infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Sadly, children today often learn more from the TV than from their parents. On average, kids spend more than six hours each day with media, which is more than they spend with their parents or in school. Katherine Ramsland reports a 1999 study which showed that by age 18, the average child had been exposed to more than 200,000 violent acts and 40,000 dramatised murders. They will see nearly three-quarters of a million commercials and girls will get 250,000 messages about what they’re supposed to look like.
Dr Michael Rich of Harvard University says that “paediatricians across the country are now seeing rising levels of aggression, obesity, substance use, eating disorders and unsafe sexual behaviour where media plays a key causal role.” Dr Sarah Coyne, a professor in the Family Life Department of Brigham Young University, found a correlation between hearing profanity in the media and aggressive behaviour among adolescents.
5. What should be our motivation to put God first in our lives and honour Him?
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
When we accept Jesus as Saviour, God lavishes us with His love, calling us His children (1 John 3:1). In the busyness of life, let’s make sure we make time for God in our families. The rewards are out of this world.