“Your Word Is Truth”
Benefits to the Family That Obeys the Bible
WHAT humans do can have either a good or a bad effect on themselves and on others too. This points up man’s need for dependable guidelines to help him conduct his family affairs in a way that will result in good for all concerned. What, then, should be the source of these guidelines or laws? Can man himself set the standard for governing his life?
Many people believe that modern studies in human behavior have equipped certain experts in the field of family affairs to provide the needed guidelines. People often put implicit trust in the published advice of these “experts.” Is this a wise course? Can the conclusions of “experts” always be trusted? “Parents and teachers,” says the publication Youth and Parents, “cannot forgive themselves nor can they be forgiven by their children for the consequences of following ill-advised fads of the moment. Our attitude toward the expert should be one of hesitant caution.”
Yes, the theories and conclusions of marriage counselors and child psychologists are not completely dependable and unerring. Often these “experts” express opposing views. Some, for example, say that a child should not be spanked, but others are just as convinced that disobedient children should be. So where can man find a dependable guide, one that he can safely obey without “hesitant caution”?
What about the Bible? Are families benefited by obeying its commands?
Consider what the Bible commands family members to do: “[Husbands,] let each one of you individually so love his wife as he does himself; on the other hand, the wife should have deep respect for her husband. Children, be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord, for this is righteous. . . . And you, fathers, do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.”—Eph. 5:33–6:4.
Is it not true that many marriage problems would not exist if the husband loved his wife as he did himself and if the wife respected her husband’s headship? Certainly a wife who is treated with consideration would have no reason to complain about her husband’s exercise of headship? She cannot help but respect a man who sticks to right principle and is willing to deny himself the pursuit of personal likes to promote the welfare and happiness of the entire family.
The wife, however, must prove herself to be a woman who merits her husband’s understanding and consideration. She should not be surprised if her husband does not respond in a loving way when she shows herself to be contentious, irritable and faultfinding. As the Bible puts it: “Better is it to dwell in a wilderness land than with a contentious wife along with vexation.” (Prov. 21:19) Also, a husband’s interest in his wife usually diminishes if she takes little interest in his plans and activities.
The attitude of a wife toward her husband’s headship can have a profound effect on the children. If she ignores God’s law to be in subjection and displays an independent spirit, the children often come to the point where they do not consult their father. They do not look to him for direction, since the example set by the mother implies that the father’s guidance is undependable and not in the best interests of the family. The disagreements between husband and wife that arise through a wife’s undermining the husband’s position cast doubt on whether either one of them really has the welfare of the family at heart. So the children generally have no more reason to respect the mother than they do the father. All this works to the injury of the children, for they need guidance and direction to become balanced adults who will be able to handle responsibilities in a fine way.
It is therefore vital that parents, by word and example, prove that they have an unselfish interest in the family. The mother can do so by remaining submissive to her husband, whereas the father can do this by exercising his headship in a loving way, as directed by God’s law.
The Bible does not encourage being permissive with children either. And more and more people are coming to appreciate that “experts” were wrong in advising parents not to spank their children. There has been repeated confirmation of the truth of Proverbs 29:15: “The rod and reproof are what give wisdom; but a boy let on the loose will be causing his mother shame.”
Of course, a father who irritates his children with unreasonable commands and needless severity can easily lose their confidence. If he administers discipline in anger, he can alienate his children. They may build up anger within themselves toward their father, for anger begets anger. When this happens, the children submit to discipline, not because they are convinced that it is right, but because they are forced to yield to their father’s superior strength. Such discipline does not produce desired results, as it provides no real incentive for children to change their ways. Usually it leads to their becoming resentful and even rebellious.
On the other hand, when the father is submissive to the law of God in handling family affairs, the results are quite different. His oral teaching is backed up by a fine example in Christian conduct. This can help children to appreciate that their father has their interests at heart. He wants to see good, not bad, come to them. When children are convinced of this, they respond with loving obedience to his discipline. Their love for their father also deters them from doing things that would bring reproach upon him.
Thus it can be seen that when each family member submits to God’s law the family’s peace and harmony are preserved. But when there is a failure on the part of even one family member to obey God’s law, all unavoidably suffer to some degree.
It is most unwise therefore to ignore any commandment of God. Obedience, not disobedience, to the law of God brings blessings. Such obedience promotes a good relationship with fellow humans and leads to genuine happiness and contentment. So the guidelines set forth in the Bible should really be what humans would want to follow, yes, should delight to follow. That is the way the inspired psalmist felt about it, when he said: “The law of Jehovah is perfect, bringing back the soul. The reminder of Jehovah is trustworthy, making the inexperienced one wise. The orders from Jehovah are upright, causing the heart to rejoice; the commandment of Jehovah is clean, making the eyes shine.” (Ps. 19:7, 8) The Bible’s wise guidelines testify that it is God’s Word of truth.
So if you want to enjoy the best way of life now and in the future, endeavor to know the Bible’s commands and make it your determination to obey them. Then, like the psalmist, you will find this course to be, not burdensome, but refreshing. It will protect you from injuring yourself and others, to your lasting regret.