Read Psalm 68:6
6 God sets the solitary in families…(NKJV)
The word ‘family’ evokes all sorts of responses. Mostly it seems to suggest mum, dad, the kids and perhaps a loveable Labrador in the backyard. When churches decide to employ a ‘family worker’, they usually mean the marrieds with children. Churches are really keen on attracting ‘young families’ to their gatherings. Again meaning mum and dad and the kids.
Nothing wrong with any of that, but perhaps we need to be careful in our perceptions of family. We know that most people in the world don’t fit into the above category. There are single-parent households, single-person households, the ‘empty-nesters’, the elderly who may live alone apart from extended family. We dare not suggest these people do not belong to a family or do not constitute a family.
We hear of ‘family values’ being identified with biblical teaching. But it is a vague term. Some family values are utterly abhorrent to the Bible. Abuse and neglect and crass materialism are part and parcel of some families. Not all families are happy families.
For such a reason, we must not idolise family. Jesus certainly didn’t. To speak of family as if it is always a positive term is to be insensitive to those numerous people for whom family is a crucible of pain and hardship.
To be sure we care for our families, whatever shape they may take. But they are not gods. The idea that family always comes first is an idolatrous statement. It may on occasions take second place. We neither neglect nor worship our families. We recognise as our text tells us that God has put us in families. They are of all shapes and sizes. Some are good, some not so good. At their worst, they wreck lives. At their best, they reflect something of the grace and love of God to each of us.