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Every home is dysfunctional because everyone is sinful. There is no perfect family this side of heaven, and if we were perfect parents, neither we nor our children would need a Savior. When we consider the state of the family at the beginning of the twenty-first century, our tendency is to reflect nostalgically on imagined idyllic days of generations past when families weren’t perfect but pretty close to it, or so we like to think.
As fallen people, born into fallen families, and living in a fallen world, the simple truth is that there has never been a time when families were not dysfunctional. To see this, we don’t need to look at the world around us or even at world history, all we need to do is look at the church and at every family in all of Scripture — from the murderous family of God’s son Adam, to God’s son Israel, to the overwhelming dysfunction of the families recorded in the genealogy of Jesus. We cannot, therefore, idolize families of the past or present, all of which are sinful, and we cannot make our own families or the families of others into earthly gods that can fulfill our every need and be the ultimate source of our joy, peace, and comfort.
This is not to say, however, that there are no examples of God-honoring families in Scripture and in our own day, for indeed there are, but it is to say there are no perfect families that don’t desperately need to know, believe, and apply the gospel of Christ. Although perfect healing will only exist in our eternal home, our present hope for our broken homes is the redeeming, forgiving, reconciling, and transforming gospel of God for God’s people.
We know the content of the gospel, but we fail to trust God’s promises in the gospel, and we fail to apply God’s gospel promises in our lives individually, affecting, in turn, our families. For example, as men, we sometimes think that all we need to do to raise good kids is simply be good dads, when, in fact, what every kid needs to see first and foremost is how his dad loves his mother with a repentant, patient, and sacrificial love that not only swears to die for her (which we’ll likely never have the opportunity to do) but that strives to live for her each and every day, which is precisely what Jesus did for us. Our Lord didn’t merely come and die, He lived for us as well. When we believe and apply the gospel, we will not need to pretend we are sinless but will instead be free to repent of our sins and ask forgiveness as we look to God’s true and faithful Son, Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
God showed His love for us by sending His Son to live and die for us, and as men we are to show our love for our families by pointing them to Jesus Christ whose love for us never changes. And though I hear it all the time, there’s no such thing as “falling out of love.” Christian couples don’t ever fall out of love, they fall out of being repentant. The gospel hope for our broken homes is our broken and contrite hearts that turn daily to Jesus Christ and His brokenness for us on the cross as our Savior and Lord.