All in the Family
By Karen Treharne
Todayís families have become "extended," growing to include half-, step- and ex-relations. This has come about due to second, third or more marriages which have resulted in his, hers, ours and theirs being embraced as part of the family circle.
At first glance, this arrangement might seem to be unmanageable as well as unconventional, but it is becoming the "norm" and, believe it or not, it actually works pretty well, as some of you might already know.
We also have a new generation of families called the "sandwich generation" in which children are caring for one or more parents in their home, while their own children are still living there.
Another relatively recent but familiar family phenomenon involves grandparents who are raising their grandchildren; sometimes because of chemical abuse or child abuse by the parent(s), or for financial circumstances that lead to homelessness.
There are many who might refer to these situations as been a boondoggle (a mess!). However, boondoggle or not, these circumstances represent the reality of the family in todayís world.
What does God say about this in the Bible? In 1 Timothy 5:8 (NLT), Paul writes that "those who wonít care for their own relatives, especially those living in the same household, have denied what we believe. Such people are worse than unbelievers."
Almost everyone has relatives; family of some kind. Family relationships are so important in Godís eyes, Paul says, that a person who neglects his or her family responsibilities has denied the faith.
The family of the early Israelites was what those who live in small family units would call an "extended family." It consisted of not just parents and children, but grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins Ė and servants too. We should use this example of responsibility and love to express our obedience to God and concern for all in our family.
Are we are doing our part to meet the needs of those included in our family circle? My prayer this month is for Godís intervention in families to reach such proportion that the world will experience an outpouring of loving expression to those forgotten or ignored family members. May we be good examples and role models for others as we honor Godís desire for us to live in this "world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God," (Titus 2:12 NLT), as demonstrated by our actions toward those who are nearest and dearest.
Karen lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Ken, and father-in-law, Ed. Karenís desire is to share Godís love and blessings with others through her writing. You may contact Karen through the Letters page of this magazine.
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