Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Building Strong Families

So, ideally, the whole world turns to Jesus and in turn we see crime disappear, communities strengthened, schools as safe learning centers, the government running efficiently, the economy robust, and our nation healed.

Because those who are following Christ are not embezzling money, selling drugs, or killing people. They’re caring for the needs of others around them, seeking to build them up, and working in cooperation for the common good. They’re respectful, patient, kind, and tender-hearted. They’re wise in leadership, honest in business, and trustworthy as employees. They’re productive, law-abiding, godly, model citizens.   

That’s not to say that Christians are perfect by any means, but the ways of Jesus are good and right and true. And true followers of Jesus strive to live in His ways.

Are we still having this national discussion about how to have a better America, or not? If so, my answer stands: The world is a better place when Christ is honored as King. And my plea remains: Come to Jesus and surrender your life to Him.

Of course, we’re not living in an ideal world. People have rejected Christ in favor doing whatever seems right in their own self-centered eyes, and even Christians fail to live up to the standards they profess. So where does that leave us as a culture? It leaves us with a wide chasm between what’s ideal and what’s real, and a massive bridge to build in working toward forming a more perfect union.

Here’s my contribution to the discussion: Even if the whole world doesn’t turn to Jesus, we still need to learn this foundational truth: Strong families create strong communities. If we’re looking for practical solutions for our nation’s ills, why aren’t we doing everything we possibly can to promote healthy marriages and loving homes?

Families in disarray lead to communities and cultures in disrepair. I say this in love knowing that so many come from dysfunctional homes, but the evidence clearly bears out the burdens on society that arise from turmoil in the family.

Look up some of the studies on your own and you’ll see that from toxic home environments there is direct correlation to increased crime, alcoholism, domestic abuse, divorce, poverty, out-of-wedlock pregnancy, gambling addictions, and so much more.

In a report from Princeton University and the Brookings Institute in 2015, David Ribar of the University of Melbourne writes: “Reams of social science and medical research convincingly show that children who are raised by their married, biological parents enjoy better physical, cognitive and emotional outcomes, on average, than children raised in other circumstances…[R]esearchers have been able to make a strong case that marriage has causal impacts on outcomes such as children’s schooling, their social and emotional adjustment, and their employment, marriage and mental health as adults.”

Any intellectually honest sociologist, psychologist, teacher, doctor, lawyer, judge, business and community leader – or even politician! – would readily agree. So let’s do all that we can to build strong homes.

But building homes, like building bridges, takes hard work and unwavering commitment to the job. It means laying unshakeable foundations. It means making life choices that support the integrity of the entire structure. It means giving attention to the details of the project and not allowing anyone or anything to interfere with the work.

Will we build the bridge toward healthy homes? Christians, I say let’s lead the way. Is it worth it? I say we can’t afford not to. Is it possible for strong families to restore our dying nation? I say yes, but it might just take the world turning to Jesus first.

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