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Family Foundations: Building a Strong Family (Part 3 of 3)

By Bryn S. Elliott

(If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 in this series) 

Disregarding God’s standard of morality creates confusion at the core of who we are and the basics of what is right and what is wrong. God is straightforward. In the Bible, He tells us what marriage is, in what context sex is holy (and not harmful), and the basic tenets that a husband and wife should follow to create a healthy, godly family unit. On the other hand, a modern, secular family model negatively impacts every sector of society. However, there are three specific areas it impacts that are particularly devastating:

  1. Divorce
  2. Fatherlessness
  3. Abortion

Those who reject biblical authority base any code of ethics or sense of morality on their feelings, or what they think is right or wrong. Feelings have no impact on whether something is true or not. As believers, we can be confident in what God says about family. We don’t need to be confused. Where the world has rejected the Bible’s standards of morality, we don’t have to. 

Where our neighbors have slid into chaos and perversion, we can live in peace, safety, and holiness. We have the answers to what is a man, what is a woman, what is marriage, and what is a family. All we have to do is look to God’s Word. We can be sure that family is meant to be lifelong; we know the responsibility we have within a marriage and raising children. Alternatively, without the Bible, subjective emotions lead us astray. 

Impacts of Divorce on Families 

Today, if someone doesn’t feel like being a spouse anymore, or if they don’t feel like taking responsibility to raise their children, they can easily walk away. As a result, 50% of marriages in America end in divorce. The impact that divorce has on children is astounding. Children of divorced parents are: 

  • 3x more likely to have poor mental health;
  • 4x more likely to be involved with teen pregnancy;
  • 5x more likely to be dissatisfied with life;
  • 5x more likely to be assaulted;
  • 8x more likely to experience violence
  • 9x more likely to spend time in police custody;
  • 10x more likely to use crack or heroin;
  • and 30x more likely to contract an STD. 

[Kenny Jackson, 2021]

Except in cases of legitimate abuse or infidelity, divorce only serves to create deep wounds. These statistics are proof of the incredible effects of divorce on children. 

Impacts of Fatherlessness on Families 

In addition to destruction caused by divorce, 40% of American boys do not have present fathers. [Vishal Mangalwadi, The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization

The impacts of fatherlessness are just as staggering. Here are just a few:

  • 63% of youth suicides are from homes without fathers;
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children grew up without a father;
  • 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes;
  • 85% of all rapists motivated by displaced anger are from fatherless homes;
  • and 71% of all high school dropouts come from homes without a father. 

[U.S. Department of Justice, 1998]

The Bible consistently confirms that children are a blessing. God seriously values human life. Every person on Earth was created intentionally and uniquely in His image for a specific purpose. This knowledge ought to give Christians an appreciation and high regard for human life too. No matter how old a person is, how they behave, where they live, or any other factor changes the fact that they are made in God’s image and valuable beyond measure. 

Impacts of Abortion on Families 

The value of human life partnered with God’s design for sex within a covenant marriage between one man and one woman is God’s way of protecting us from unnecessary heartbreak and abuse. As a social construct, sex within marriage produces healthy marriages, which produces healthy children, which equals healthy families. When we step out of God’s intention for any of these things, we also step out of His covering and protection in these areas. Just look at any society where premarital sex is the societal norm, and as a result, abortion has become socially acceptable. 

Abortion is often traumatizing and can also lead to serious complications for future pregnancies that follow. Many people fight for their right to have access to abortions without considering the value of a human life. Twenty years ago, the US’s rate of abortions was 21.3 abortions per 1000 women of childbearing years (15-44). By 2019, the number dropped to 11.4 abortions per 1000 women. [Walker, 2022] The nearly 50% drop in abortions is due to new access to various contraceptive methods. Regardless, the high number of abortions per woman is shocking. 

God created the womb to be the safest place in the world in which a child can develop to come into the world, but today many believe that for an infant it is actually the most dangerous place in the world. The further away we go as a society from the biblical definition of family, the more broken the world and people become. 

Family is the Cornerstone

Family is the cornerstone of a society and it is crucial to treat it with the weight it carries according to God’s Word. God designed marriage, sex, and family with specific purposes in mind. Family is not man’s construct, it’s God’s creation. 

When we take morality or the structure of family into our own hands, we are saying that we know better, or that a perfect God has made mistakes. When we live with this mindset, we will end up learning the hard way that our ways are not better than God’s. God doesn’t give us these standards and guidelines to bombard us with rules to follow or so that we will be “good enough.” He gives us these structures to protect us and to protect others. 

As a society, we have strayed far from God’s Word and the impacts are truly heartbreaking. If the way that family goes is the way society goes, we must take the time to seriously look at the implications of the way we define and “do” family in our own lives. Now is the time to align with God’s Word and humbly accept His correction if needed. He is faithful to forgive when we repent, and when we offer our lives to Him and receive the help of the Holy Spirit, He will breathe healing and hope into the most hopeless family situation. 

May God bless you and your family!

Questions for Reflection:

  • How have you seen divorce, fatherlessness, or abortion impact the world around you? 
  • What characteristics mark a strong, biblically-based family? 
  • Does anything challenge you about God’s standards for family? Explain. (Examples: Sex before marriage, same-sex marriages, gender roles, etc.) 
  • In what other ways can you build a strong family foundation now or in the future (for those of you not married or with children)?  

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