If you were to ask the average Australian today, what their top priority was, I think I am quite safe to say that the most common answer I believe would be family, and I believe that this would be from most generations.
It seems to me, from what I have been observing over the last decade from our young generation, that family is the highest priority in most young people’s lives…It always seems to top opinion polls I’ve seen. The love of family (members themselves and the institution, regardless of definition) seems to transcend any demographic differences and underlies most motivations.
What I am writing is based upon my own observations, opinion and experience in working with young people and families; however it does also seem to be supported by Australian statistical reports. For example, a 2008 Australian report on families, see here: http://www.dpmc.gov.au/PUBLICATIONS/families/index.cfm
states: ‘The report highlights the ongoing importance of the family to individuals and to society more broadly.’
An older report, see here: http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/fm1/fm29/av.html
states: ‘Who then is the most important person in the world? The findings presented in this article suggest that it is not the individual but the family.’
These reports discuss the changes in Australian culture to the definition of family and changing views on opinion and tolerance for what defines a family, in relation to marriage, cohabitation, divorce, women’s employment and raising children.
This is a link to the Australia Bureau of Statistics and is an interesting small projection of families in Australia from 2006-2031: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/C0CD39275ABBB509CA25773B0017BD48?opendocument
From my observation as a mother, I believe family is so powerful that it can even transcend cultural and language barriers…haven’t experienced this? Well hang out for a while with a toddler in a McDonalds’ playground, and unless you are a total grump, you’ll soon interact with others, even if it’s just sharing a knowing laugh because you both don’t speak the same language!
I am encouraged by the loyalty I have observed from young people to their family, and their resolve to love and be committed to their nearest and dearest. I have also observed however that family loyalty has taken over the love of God. This may be because the young people have been raised not knowing God’s love for them, and of only their family’s love and support which has been so strong. It can also be because of Christian people deciding that to love their family they will sacrifice not going to church or fellowshipping with other Christians regularly themselves, so that they can have ‘family time’. I think this is more common when people are unevenly yoked (a Christian married to a non-Christian).
Family is indeed a good gift from God. I love Psalm 133 – listen to this on loving family unity...
|Our recent camp site!|
Relationships matter to The Lord. I have experienced how He has connected me closer with most of my family members since I recommitted my life to Him in 2005…I know others have experienced this also. Think of the healings Jesus performed which enabled the people to be reconnected to their family and community! Jesus heals and restores.
Family is awesome and I experience so much joy in my close, connected relationships. Just recently in my life I have been blessed to experience reconnecting with a relation of my cousin, (whom I’ve known from around the age of twelve, so they are like family to me also) as they recommitted their life to Christ, and so now we are truly family through Christ!
In my opinion, the problem we face today however is that family seems to take the place of God for many. It is truly wonderful when families love and care for each other, but really a family relationship should mirror the relationship we should have with God.
The best relationship anyone can have is a restored one with God, through Jesus Christ. When we are in relationship with The Lord and have Him as number one, we do not commit idolatry and actually have more love, patience and joy in our family life.
It is our sinful nature that wants the carbon copy without the original version. Our sinful nature twists the good gift of family from God, so that family becomes god to us – and truly this is an unfruitful venture, as no-one or anything can take the place of God in our lives. When we try to fill God’s place with anything else we are always left disappointed! People and families are NOT perfect and will eventually disappoint you or enslave you. Whatever you succumb to will be your master! I’ve chosen my master who is love Himself, and does not disappoint. He supports me when family and I fail.
Did you know Jesus said this:
‘37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.’ (Matthew 10:37-39, NRSV)
I hope you do not misunderstand this post. I am not saying that Jesus does not value family, or is asking you to abandon your family, as this would contradict wider scripture. I believe He is trying to focus our attention on loving The Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength first and foremost, to get our priorities right, so then we have His love in us, to truly love our family and have healthy relationships with God and others.
I appreciate if this post is controversial for you and if what I am saying is a new concept for you…would love to chat further if you need to.
In love, Melanie J