Do you have a family member who you haven’t talked to in a long time? Perhaps a brother, sister, aunt or uncle that you just can’t seem to get along with or that long standing grudge you don’t even recall the cause of? How do we as fathers find the opportunity to reach out and show love for the people around us who make up our family?
Family is more than just your wife and children. You began with your parents and perhaps some siblings. Along the way you became close or at least associated with grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. Then you marry and pick up an even wider circle of family members. This ever expanding circle of family we gather along life’s path can be difficult to manage, conflicts along the way are inevitable.
· How do we as fathers become role models for our children, and perhaps our extended family?
· Is there a damaged relationship you can try, AGAIN, to reach out to mend?
· Has someone moved away for work or school that might need a friendly contact?
· Are you able to be a voice of reason at family gatherings if conflict arises?
· When’s the last time your family had a reunion besides just attending a funeral?
· As Christians how do we set a Christ-like example of how to deal with loved ones around us?
1. 1 Timothy 5:1-8 (Pay attention to 8 the most
5:1 Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. 3 Honor widows who are truly widows. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. 5 She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, 6 but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. 7 Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
2. Isaiah 49 15-16
15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. 16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.
3. Luke 12:13-21
13 6 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” 14 He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” 15 Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. 17 He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ 18 And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods 19 and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!” 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ 21 Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” 7
1. Paragraph 2214
The divine fatherhood is the source of human fatherhood; this is the foundation of the honor owed to parents. The respect of children, whether minors or adults, for their father and mother is nourished by the natural affection born of the bond uniting them. It is required by God’s commandment.
2. Paragraph 2215
Respect for parents (filial piety) derives from gratitude toward those who, by the gift of life, their love and their work, have brought their children into the world and enabled them to grow in stature, wisdom, and grace. “With all your heart honor your father, and do not forget the birth pangs of your mother. Remember that through your parents you were born; what can you give back to them that equals their gift to you?”
3. Paragraph 2206
The relationships within the family bring an affinity of feelings, affections and interests, arising above all from the members’ respect for one another. The family is a privileged community called to achieve a “sharing of thought and common deliberation by the spouses as well as their eager cooperation as parents in the children’s upbringing.”
4. Paragraph 2208
The family should live in such a way that its members learn to care and take responsibility for the young, the old, the sick, the handicapped, and the poor. There are many families who are at times incapable of providing this help. It devolves then on other persons, other families, and, in a subsidiary way, society to provide for their needs: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
Small Group Questions
1. Do you have family relationships that are in need of repair?
2. Do you have a family member that you have lost touch with because our lives are just too busy?
3. Who in your family, perhaps your wife, your sister or brother, sets the example of how to maintain a large and healthy family circle? What can you learn from them and how can you help or foster that example?
4. How many conflicts in the family are over money or possessions? See the reading above from Luke and discuss how possessions effect our relationships.
5. Is it possible that you treat your family members worse than you treat your friends?
6. Do you have family reunions? How large? How often? Who arranges that?
1. Family Feuds: Fixing the rift
2. Repairing relationships: Family relationship challenge:
3. No One’s Family Is Normal
1. What family relationship can you set a goal to repair?
2. How can you begin to set the example of how keep family relationships and traditions core to your families core values?