Exodus 20 v 13 “Honour your father and your mother”


What Constitutes a Family?

According to the Bible the family is made up of father and mother and children – not father, mother, mistress and children, nor father, mother, lover and children. This command is obviously addressed to children because all of us are children. Sometimes the family circle is widened through grandparents or relatives living with us. The Bible encourages the notion of an extended family and places much importance upon a wide family circle. It is psychologically healthy to have a wide family group and equally a wide circle of close friends.


In the Bible great emphasis is placed upon having children. God blesses children. In the Psalms we read that sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him. (Psalm 127:3). They teach you lessons you can never learn any other way and they open up your whole heart, mind and soul to a new dimension of emotions, insights and reactions.


The only way in which the family circle may alter is by it being widened through marriage or adoption, or reduced through death. You may not break up the family through adultery or divorce. Any law that contributes to the breaking up of a family is a wrong law. Any job that contributes to the breaking up of the family is a wrong job. Any sport that contributes to the breaking up of the family or creates tension in the family, is a wrong sport. Any friend who contributes to the breaking up of a family is a wrong friend, and any activity that contributes to the breaking up of a family is a wrong activity. Your children, your wife or husband, are very important to God and must be your first consideration.


We are all aware, of course, of the present day attacks on the biblical definition of families. We are pressured in these days with all kinds of different formats and compositions of family life. We recognise that as sinful behaviour patterns and wrong-headed legislation, takes its toll on family living, there will be many casualties along the way. Today families indeed may be made up of people with which that particular family never started out. Divorce, remarriage, new children and additional extended families all are common place today. All of these factors present challenges to those who are members of such families, not to mention the new laws governing homosexual relationships.


As Christians we pass no judgement. Instead we lovingly welcome all people from all families, into the Christian faith. Still, we must insist that just because the norms have been discarded, that does not mean there is no norm. Rather we still point to God’s norms for family living and point people to these norms as the best way to enjoy happiness in family life. Even those whose families have been fragmented can find new hope and direction as they surrender to Christ as their Lord.



Your family may be very mixed up and may face lots of challenges. But still we need each other and if you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and live according to the new life He gives you, you may find your family changing in dramatic ways. Talk to God about it.