My second semester of college I took a sociology class which the professor simply called “The Family.” It was a study of relationships, of marriage, of love, of families. The prof didn’t give us much homework beyond reading the text so maybe that’s why this assignment has stayed with me in the years since – or it could be possible that I was chewed out by this particular prof for not starting the paper until the night before it was due over dinner.
I had the rare opportunity to learn about something so important from my father in a public setting. His big assignment was for the students to write a paper describing our family of origin followed by how we wanted our future families to be. My plan was to be ordinary. I wanted my future life to be utterly boring to onlookers. I wanted us to live our lives and go to soccer or ballet or school or church or wherever we happened to be headed without concern for much more.
Part of me still likes a lot of what I wrote, but my direction was wrong. I didn’t want my family to be bothered by crazies or to be the crazies. The thing about family, though, is it cannot be boring.
Family reflects God’s love.
To its members and to those outside. Family sanctifies those it touches. Marriage teaches how fallen we are, but also how beautiful love is. Children stretch patience and display a depth of thought adults have lost. Each of these aspects of people, of God’s image bearers, points to the perfect, holy God.
Lately, marriage has been coming up a lot. It happens when you’re in your twenties I guess. A current class of mine recently discussed Jane Austen’s Persuasion a romance that ends in marriage. A friend also sent me a sermon series by Louie Giglio about relationship. Both have challenged me to rethink what my idea of family is.
What will my family look like?
How will my family glorify God?
Family is the unit takes you when no one else will. That’s what God does. He sees us in our ugly sin. He loves us in it, through it, until heaven and eternity. He’ll take us when no one else will. Family must reflect that.