Saturday, February 1, 2020

Paths to a Stronger Family

[Originally published in the Monroe News on January 31, 2020]

Everyone desires a stronger family.  But getting there isn’t so easy, this we know.  If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.  In this matter, we all struggle.  How do we improve life with those whom we call family?  In a world that really never slows down to let us catch up, how do we keep going and not feel as though we are always behind?  How do we just find rest and peace?

Now please understand, when I talk about family I’m not just talking about those who happen to live in a traditional family of mother, father and 2 ½ kids, or something like that.  We understand in today’s world that families do come in all shapes and sizes.  Many homes only have one parent, some are raised without any parents.  Some homes have no children at all, or some homes now miss the children that have grown up and moved out.  Family is what you make of it.  We might just say family is those people whom you love.

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But let’s return to the initial thought, “everyone desires a stronger family.”  I’m not going to suggest I can give you the be-all-end-all answer here but at least let me attempt to offer a few thoughts that might just help us along on this journey.  I am a firm believer that strong families are the foundation of a healthy and stable society and so I believe in the utmost importance of this topic.

There is plenty of wisdom to be read out there regarding families and homes, but let us consider an approach that begins with God’s wisdom in God’s word, the One who happens to be the creator and designer of our human race as well as marriage and family.

First thing, let us look at one another in our family and see each individual for the special created individual they are as well as the unique things they bring to this family.  We can find joy and give thanks in the wonder of each human life that is a part of the family.  It is always a good thing when we discover, and re-discover, that we are not all the same.  Its probably why many couples believe whole-heartedly in the old adage “opposites attract.”  

Second thing, let us live a life of confession and forgiveness.  Any relationship which seeks to grow and continue in strength must have a healthy way to handle conflict and disagreement. What happens when one member wrongs or hurts the other?  Families can look to the work of Jesus Christ to see the love and the benefits of a relationship in which each member can lay their faults and sins at the feet of the other, and hear the words of mercy, love and forgiveness.  This keeps husbands and wives together, this keeps parents and children together, this keeps any type of relationship together.

Last thing, let us support and encourage the God-given vocation each member of the family is living out.  If you are a son or a daughter embrace that vocation.  Honor your parents and guardians.  If you are a husband or a wife, love your spouse before even yourself.  Celebrate and give thanks for the fact that you are a wife or you are a husband and all the gifts that brings to your life.  If you are a worker helping to support the family, give thanks that you are able to make a living and provide for others.  If you are a student, work hard, bring glory to your parents who make this possible.  When we think of vocations in our families we could go on and on what they all may look like.  But let us recognize this is God-pleasing to see that we each have purpose and the gift and privilege of loving one another and seeking their good.

I hope you’ll find these thoughts to be merely the tip of the iceberg.  Continue the conversation in your own homes.  Talk about what you can do to work towards being a stronger family.  And I have one more word for you, you’ll find it to be an obvious one.  Love.  Jesus speaks quite frequently about this and so certainly it must be beneficial.  Love one another.  Love by sacrificing for others.  Love by putting others needs before your own.  Love because another person needs it.  Love because God first loved us.

To God be the glory.

Mark Witte is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church. Contact him at

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