Family values are simply what a family believes and agrees are the way a family is to be structured, the functions and roles of members of the family, how the family treats people and responds to situations, the attributes, activities and possessions that are important to the family, the reason why the family does the things they do.
Family values are subjective. One family’s meat can be another family’s poison. One family may be all for big parties and celebrations, another family may believe that smaller is better. One family may place a high value on discipline through continuous flogging and harsh beating, another family may uphold discipline through frequent grounding and denying a child certain privileges. Some families have sentimental value and attachment to old and unused clothes and possessions, some other families see anything old and unused as junk to be immediately thrown away. The values of a family could also change with time, age and location. Only God’s word is fixed, only principles derived from the word of God are constant. So we should be more focused on the phrase God’s Values rather than the phrase Family Values.
Family values can also be misleading. This is because family values can be born out of culture or tradition and not every culture or tradition of man is in line with the word of God. Take for example some strange cultures and festivities that are upheld by certain families and have been passed on from one generation to the other. Festivities where the men have to splash human blood on themselves or drink the ashes of a dead family member, the women have to dance bare-chested or with snakes, and the children must throw themselves in fire or sleep on broken bottles for a few hours or a day. On the surface, these activities which are cherished in some families from generation to generation may seem like harmless fun, but they are at variance with the word of God. Another reason why we should be firm advocates of godly values not merely family values.
We also have families who believe and act like life is all about getting to the top of the social ladder. They teach that one must be a top performer and as far as they are concerned, the end justifies the means, so it really doesn’t matter if you walk on people’s backs, step on some toes, push others aside, conspire against others and manipulate your way as long as you get to the top. The word of God doesn’t teach that to get to the top, to accelerate your progress, you have to step on other people’s dreams and ideas or pull others down. You can’t go wrong when your values align with what God values.
Formerly, it was believed that a family was made up of a man, his wife and children. These days, it has become acceptable and valued by some people to have a family where the father and mother can be two men or two women. God’s values are different from that of man so we must guard against our family being shaped by values society accepts as a norm or politically correct and adopted values.
It therefore follows that unless God is placed in the centre of a family, there’s the likelihood that the family will have values quite alright, but what the family will value and uphold will be principles that don’t have their foundation in the word of God. Unless we focus on God’s values, we may miss it as a family.
What drives your own family? What does your family value? In Joshua 24:15, Joshua declared that “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”. Joshua was saying as for me and my family, we have chosen to value serving God with all faithfulness, we have decided that we are not going to allow anything or anyone take the place of God in our lives, we have decided that we are not going to follow what everyone around is doing, but we will do only those things that are desirable and pleasing to God. What great godly values Joshua decided would drive his behaviour and that of his entire family. What have you and your family decided will guide your actions and decisions? Your family may not be made up of geniuses, your family may not be one of the richest, high-flying families, your family may not make the Guinness book of records, but if your family lives in such a way that each one receives a big hug and accolades from God on the last day, then you have raised and established a really terrific family worth emulating.
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