by Alan Bailey
If the family is society's basic unit and is as old as the human race, why is it such a mixed blessing? Why haven't we mastered the art of living together, of relating well? Is the family just another instance of something that is hard to live with and hard to live without?
Probably the main cause of all our relationship problems is our own nature – our hearts. All of us struggle against selfishness, covetousness, anger and undisciplined use of our tongues. Of course, we will all claim that we were provoked, that circumstances or other people caused us to do what we did. Whatever the reason for our lapse into aggressive and hurtful behaviour, the result is the same.
The down side of love
Love is attractive and desirable. We all know that. Loving and being loved is what successful marriage and family life is mainly about. (And let us not forget that there are many people right now who are happily enjoying their family life.)
But loving is dangerous. There is a side to love which cannot be avoided. When we love someone deeply we are bound to get hurt sooner or later. Quite apart from the injuries we can sustain by the hurtful behaviour already mentioned, life and death will see to it that we feel pain. The pain of parting, of sickness, of eventual bereavement. Some people recognise this problem about love and so determine never to lose their hearts to anyone. But this will not help in the long run. We were meant to love and be loved. Life is harder without love than it is with it.
The family that lasts
There is a family that fulfils the dream of all families.
It is the family of God. He is Father; all his children are brothers and sisters who will enjoy untainted, unending love together for eternity. He has planned it that way. Our families on earth are just a pale picture of what He has in mind.
The way in
Many have already gone to their eternal home. Others here in this life experience what it is like to be in the family of God. Who are they? A particular denomination? People of unusual goodness?
No. People who have put their trust in Jesus as their Saviour and Lord. They come from every continent on earth. They have different coloured skins and speak different languages. There are hundreds of millions of them. And God knows everyone of them.
The way into the family is through faith in Christ. To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God (John chapter 1, verse 12).•