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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Family Issues

"In November 2005, the Internet strategies department of LifeWay, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, began soliciting participation in an online research project, the 'Top 10 Issues Facing Today’s Family.'" In order the top 10 issues facing American families found in the study are:

1. Anti-Christian culture
2. Divorce
3. Busyness
4. Absent father figure
5. Lack of discipline
6. Financial pressures
7. Lack of communication
8. Negative media influences
9. Balance of work and family
10. Materialism

I will only address what I think are three major problems for families in America. One can debate whether these are the top three, although I think we would all agree as Christians that point one is the major problem for non-Christian families.

1. No saving knowledge of Jesus Christ
In my estimation the #1 problem facing American families is the #1 issue facing the human race. It is the total depravity of the person. By in large American families are not Christian families. Therefore, the needed sanctification of the Holy Spirit to overcome sinful temptations is not present with the overwhelming number of families. So the remaining problems facing American families all stem from their lack of forgiveness in Jesus Christ and indwelling Holy Spirit who conforms our desires to God's and not to the desires of the flesh.

2. Individualism
Satan told Adam and Eve that if they ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would become like God. Ever since this episode of disobedience, commonly called 'the fall,' men, women, and children have desired to be like God. This desire expresses itself negatively in our rabid pursuit of individualism. Many of the original issues which are listed in this article really come from the desire to fulfill self at all costs.

Divorce is the result of one or both spouses desiring to be fulfilled first rather than seeking first to please each other.

The absent father syndrome is often the product of self-centeredness. The male figure desires the pleasures of sex, but when a baby comes into the picture, he knows this will severely limit the time he has for himself, so he leaves.

Lack of discipline can also be caused by a preoccupation with oneself. Discipline is hard and it takes oversight, repetition, and time. So many parents pass over discipline altogether after a few attempts.

Financial pressures may be the result of individualism when a family has all it needs yet one or both spouses choose to work longer at the expense of the family to get more, which relates this issue with materialism.

Lack of communication often is the result of individualism because we only want to talk after all our other desires have been satisfied.

A balance between work and family can also be an issue related to self-interests when one or both spouses choose to spend time on their hobbies rather than being with their families.

3. Biblical Ignorance
This category is more for Christian families, but we can all see this issue effecting non-Christians as well. Biblical ignorance can be the result of many things. It is always, for the Christian, an issue of priority. Christians often task their lives so that personal Bible reading and reflection are activities which only occur if everything else is finished, when it really should be a "first priority' of the day along with prayer. I am not saying it has to be accomplished first thing in the morning, because if you do it at night, what you have reflected over should be with you in the morning and will be helpful.

All of the "Top 10" issues will influence us more dramatically if our knowledge of Scripture is minimal. And our lust after materialistic things and the pursuit of self-fulfillment through individualism come because we wrongly think they can satisfy, but only the work of the Triune God can fulfill completely the yearnings of the soul.

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