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Sat Mar 08, 2014
Resurgence Roundup, 3/7/14
Fri Mar 07, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
Broken Homes in the Bible
Unless you live in complete isolation, you have seen a broken home. Maybe it’s the family of a friend or relative, maybe it’s your own home.
Families fall apart in ways that are short-lived and lifelong, hidden from view and out there for everyone to see. Whatever the case, hardly anything perplexes and discourages us more than broken homes.
The Scriptures teach us that the pandemic of damaged families we see today is nothing new. Many of us attribute the problem to recent cultural shifts away from church and the gospel, but the Scriptures point in a different direction. Broken homes actually appear very early in the Bible. They come into view when God pronounced judgment against our first parents, Adam and Eve.
The First Broken Home
When God made humanity, he blessed us with the privilege of being his royal and priestly images. God first ordained that we should “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” to prepare the earth for the fullness of his glory and eternal praise. God also established the family as the main social unit by which this multi-generational mission would be fulfilled (2:19–24). This is why, in most circumstances when family works well, we move forward in the purposes for which God created us. When it does not, we are severely hindered in our service to him.
Of course, it was not long before Adam and Eve sinned and fell under the judgment of God. When most of us think about the consequences of humanity’s fall into sin, our minds turn toward the physical and spiritual death that came to our first parents and to all of their descendants (Romans 5:12). We also recall God’s curse on nature and how it makes human life difficult until Christ returns in glory (8:18–25).
As important as these features of our fallen condition may be, the opening chapters of Genesis emphasize something else. The Scriptures stress how God’s judgment against our first parents was directed toward the family. God indicated as much when he said to Eve: “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing” (Genesis 3:16). Eve’s reaction to Abel’s death indicated that her maternal pain not only included physical childbirth but also the emotional grief caused by the waywardness of her children (4:25).
The familial focus of God’s judgment also becomes evident in the disharmony that grew between Adam and Eve: “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (3:16). Moreover, God warned Adam “in pain you shall eat” (v. 17), indicating that providing for the physical needs of his family would be riddled with hardship. The early chapters of Genesis explain that the brokenness of nearly every facet of family life stems from God’s judgment against our first parents.
Every Home Is Broken
Unfortunately, very few people acknowledge how long and how deeply the human family has been broken. When troubles come to our homes, we almost always pin the blame on someone’s personal failures.
“My family was fine,” one mother told me, “until my son became a teenager.”
“We were without problems,” a husband once commented, “and suddenly my wife was unfaithful to me.”
“We were a great family,” a child confided in me, “but then Dad just got up and left.”
Of course, we all have personal failures, and there is plenty of blame to go around for the problems our families suffer. But statements like these reveal how much we need to look more carefully at the root of our problems. No family is “fine,” “without problems,” or “great” until someone destroys it.
Every home is broken from the day it begins.
If you and I were to believe what the Bible says about the origins of our family problems, our attitudes and actions would be very different. We would be more sympathetic with others going through hard times, more vigilant about keeping our own families on track, and more devoted to pursuing help from God rather than simply assigning blame. Wouldn’t that be a welcome change?
But Hasn’t God Promised?
But hasn’t God promised that Christian families can overcome their brokenness? It is true that followers of Christ will receive full relief in the future. The New Testament teaches that at Christ’s return, “the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption” (Romans 8:20–21). Although “in the resurrection [we] neither marry nor are given in marriage” (Matthew 22:30), when Christ appears he will reverse every harm sin has caused, including the breakdown of our families.
But what about now? Can we overcome the brokenness of our homes in the present age?
Check back Saturday for a response to these questions in part 2 of this post. This post adapted from Ligonier Ministries.