Erosion occurs when the forces of the environment eat away the foundation on which we are relying.
The American family has been suffering from erosion for many decades. Although the process has been slow, and in the past subtle, the results are accelerating.
Over the years, I have seen hundreds of families give in to this erosion. And the consequences are devastating.
As goes the family so goes the country.
Here are three primary sources eroding the family home today.
THREE SOURCES OF FAMILY EROSION
1. The rejection of the biblical definitions of marriage and family.
Christians need to be clear on what the Bible teaches about faith and family.
The biblical definition of marriage is the covenantal union of one man with one woman for life (Matthew 19:4-6). With that foundation in mind, a Christian family is when a Christian husband and wife commit to building their home on God’s principles and priorities rather than the culture’s.
Today, the singular goal of relationships is happiness. We seek out a mate that we think will make us happy. But, according to the Bible, God’s goal for relationships is holiness (Ephesians 5:21-30).
This is radically counter-cultural.
What if marriage isn’t about ME? What if God’s goal for my marriage is to learn how to be selfless by seeking my spouse’s happiness instead of my own? What if God cares more about my character than He does about my comfort?
We’ve adopted so many false ideas about love and marriage from our culture. I’ve even heard couples say they don’t want any children, they want to enjoy each other. Yet the Bible says, “…In God’s wise plan, when you married, the two of you became one person in his sight. And what does he want? Godly children from your union…” Malachi 2:15 (TLB)
We have moved so far away from the biblical definitions of home and family that I believe it will soon be considered a hate crime to even mention them. Isaiah 5:20 states, “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil”
The redefinition of marriage, the ideology of love and happiness, and the rise of cohabitation and divorce are eroding our families.
2. Overextended schedules due to misplaced priorities.
Families today are servants to the schedules of their children. Many families have bought into the lie that busyness is somehow “family time.” Their goal is to keep the kids busy in extra-curricular activities, such as sports and arts, which eventually take priority over church and faith.
Parents are teaching their kids that saturation is better than maturation.
Children have picked up the unspoken cue that they are the center of the known universe. And their parents exist only to transport, fund and support them.
The Psalmist wrote, “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.”
Parents, not the culture or their kids, need to set the priorities and pace of the home. The wisest thing parents can do is enforce reasonable schedules with healthy boundaries for their children and help them to see that greatest things in life are not things.
3. Undernourished spiritual development in the home.
Parents have blamed the church when their kids haven’t embraced Christianity.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been dumped on by parents of rebelling teenagers telling me how the church has failed them. They somehow believe that it was the church’s responsibility to make their kids good. As though the church’s programs can do what their parenting didn’t.
As shocking as this may sound to some parents, the church is not the primary spiritual influence on their children; they are. The church exists to support and equip parents, not replace them. (see Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
Truth is…there is no children’s program guaranteed to produce spiritual giants, and there is no youth program that will prevent teenagers from rebellion.
Let’s face it, if faith isn’t real in the home, a shot of Jesus one hour a week won’t counteract that.
The greatest influence for raising godly children is when mom and dad live out a genuine faith in their home.
By the way, a child can still rebel even if their parents were the godliest people ever to walk the planet – it’s called free will.
At Oak Ridge, we fight cultural erosion by building retaining walls of hope and healing for hearts and homes.
Families can stand strong even in the face of an eroding culture when they choose to live by God’s standards.
What would you add to this list?
Originally written and published on May 21, 2015