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Family and Relationships


“...human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself…Real relationships with others, with all the challenges they entail, now tend to be replaced by a type of internet communication which enables us to choose or eliminate relationships at whim, thus giving rise to a new type of contrived emotion which has more to do with devices and displays than with other people and with nature." (Pope Francis & Naomi Oreskes)

“…our lives are packed with busyness, schedules, noise, meetings, and media—the list goes on. This distracted living causes most of the problems in our lives, our relationships, and our work.” (Father Barnabas Powell)

"Self-reliance and self-centeredness lead to various forms of pain, fear, and frustration, -with myself, with others, and life in general. I ultimately become self-isolated and incapable of any true relationship. Humility, on the other hand, softly moves me out of myself and opens me up to a real relationship with God, myself, and others. I can more easily ask for help when I need it; more easily let go of resentments; see my role in conflicts, and accept others and myself in God’s light." (Sr. Dr. Vassa Larin)

“Differences should not be feared or avoided, but accepted and handled with love. Don’t expect everyone, even in the best possible church, to agree on every subject...Differences of opinion need not cause division. They can be a source of learning and richness in our relationships.” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 14:1)

“We reveal our spiritual condition by our relationships with other Christians.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 2:10-14)

“The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father’s work of creation. It is called to partake of the prayer and sacrifice of Christ. Daily prayer and the reading of the Word of God strengthen it in charity.” (Marianne C. Sailus) “Let us determine to remain alert at all times for anything that might weaken or destroy our home and family life…God requires that we actively nurture the persons and resources of our households, for we are responsible for them before Him.” (Dynamis 3/4/2015) “...it is a parental duty to be the first instructors in the Faith, followed by the priest, the religious education teacher, etc…The home is the greenhouse where godly wisdom is cultivated.” (Marianne C. Sailus, Charles Stanley) “Children shouldn’t feel pressured to be good; they should feel a need to be good. The parents’ holy life informs the children’s soul, and then they naturally follow their example." (Elder Paisios the Athonite) “I recently had a heart-rending conversation with a wonderful young woman who, outwardly at least, seemed to have a fulfilling life. During our chat, however, I sensed that everything was not going as well with her as outward appearance indicated. With very little prompting, she readily confided that she had been deeply depressed over a number of years, and that on several occasions had even entertained the possibility of suicide. She came from a caring family, and enjoyed numerous friendships, but none of the people in her life had sensed her deep distress and unhappiness. It was not that they didn’t care; quite the opposite was true. Rather it was that life had somehow become so hectic that there was little time for meaningful conversation and deep personal sharing. Distracted by the mundane, they had neglected what was truly important.” (Rev Andrew J. Demotses) “Your relationship with God is the most important foundation for your life, and indeed it keeps all the other factors—work, friendships and family, leisure and pleasure—from becoming so important to you that they become addicting and distorted…If the good of our family, not God, is our highest ideal, we may think ourselves as being loving and doing right because we are taking care of our own properly, but this is not enough. If our family, and not God, is our center, we will tend to care less for other families.” (Pastor Timothy Keller) “If we seek to live the gospel, we must love more than just our family and friends…” (Ed Strauss) “The family may be the most difficult place to be a witness for Jesus. To be the first or only Christian may go against the grain. Your faith may be misinterpreted as criticism. Your zeal may be misunderstood. You may be accused of being a hypocrite because other areas of your life still fall short of Christ’s ideals….Family members require the most patience. They see you at your worst when your guard is down. Remember that Christ’s family rejected and ridiculed Him.” (Life Application Study Bible, Mark 3:21) “...parents want their children to grow…staying active in the life of the Church throughout their lives. Yet few parents demonstrate the importance of having a relationship with God in front of their children. If you do not make God important, neither will your child….If you do not make your home a domestic church, your children will be lost to Christ...” (Abbot Tryphon) “You may win five hundred million people to God, but it will count exactly zero if you lose the three or four souls in your own home." (Kenneth W. Hagin) “It is of great significance if there is a person who truly prays in a family. Prayer attracts God's Grace and all the members of the family feel it, even those whose hearts have grown cold. Pray always." (Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica) “...the real test of our love for God is how we treat the people right in front of us—our family members and fellow believers.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 John 4:20-21) “Church begins at home...The family is a spiritual unit...If we don't teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to.” (St. John Chrysostom, Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Corinthians 7:14, Unknown) “If we want our children to serve the Lord, they must hear about Him from us. It is not enough to rely on the church or those with more knowledge to provide all their Christian education. We must reinforce the lessons of the Bible in our homes." (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 22:30-31) “Let no Christian parents fall into the delusion that Sunday School is intended to ease them of their personal duties. The first and most natural condition of things is for Christian parents to train up their own children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Charles Haddon Spurgeon) “In addition to talking about your faith, show your children how to serve their Maker joyfully. That involves staying close to the Lord yourself...Model for your kids what it means to live a life of hope and love, teach them the value of putting God first and pass to them the brightly burning torch of faith.” (NIV Men's Devotional Bible) “A large part of the responsibility for a person's spiritual state lies with the family. For children to be released from their various inner problems it is not enough for them to receive good advice or to be compelled by force; nor do logical arguments or threats do any good. The solution is to be found through the sanctification of the parents." (Elder Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia) “The home and the Church are difficult places to live the Christian life, because our real self comes through to those who know us well. Close relationships between imperfect people can lead to trouble—or to increased faith and deepened dependence on God.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ephesians 6:24) “After the reading, the people of Nazareth wait to see how Jesus will interpret the prophet’s words. He immediately declares Isaiah’s message to be fulfilled by Him, through the ministry He is conducting throughout Galilee. This claim elicits the first sign of resistance, as they ask each other, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” Familiarity often clouds our spiritual awareness. It leads to false expectations and assumptions that block the hearing of those closest to us.” (Dynamis 9/26/2014) “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and in his own house” (Mt 13:57). Familiarity breeds contempt, and may influence people to dismiss the truth when it is right before their eyes.” (Dynamis 5/13/2014) “Faithfulness is critical to a close relationship because we depend on those who are close to us. Christ’s deepest hurts occurred within his circle of closest companions, and David was wounded emotionally more by the treachery of his close friends than by the efforts of his enemies.” (David W. Smith) “We can be sure that we also come in contact every day with many people who are carrying heavy burdens, facing trying situations, or worrying about the future. Oftentimes, they can unknowingly be the very people closest to us. They need and long for a kind word, a sympathetic ear, and a warm smile that reflects a caring heart.” (Rev Andrew J Demotses) “If anyone comes to Me and does not deny his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” (Jesus Christ, Luke 14:26) “He [Christ] says bluntly, “If anyone comes to Me and does not deny his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (vs. 26). How do we understand such strong language? Our Lord is concerned here with our priorities – where we choose to place on our affections. He surely expects us to love and give ourselves to our families before others. Christ’s call to follow Him, however, is of a different order…The way of the Lord is called the “unseen warfare” because it is a battle with spiritual dimensions. It takes place in that realm where we express our affections of heart and soul. It all comes down to our preferences. Do we value things that concern the body more than matters of the soul and heart?” (Dynamis 11/18/27) “The command to deny one's kindred and his own life also is not to be taken literally. Rather we are to hate the way our relationships with others can hinder our total dedication to the Kingdom of God, which takes precedence even over family ties.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 14:26) “Beyond flesh and blood kinship is that of the spirit found among those who without reserve submit their hearts, minds, and wills to fulfilling the plan of Almighty God for them.” (Father Robert Slesinski) “Our Lord made it very clear that blood relations alone count for very little if people are not spiritually minded and seek Him as the Way and the Life…A family without God can never experience the spiritual bond God brings to relationships.” (Sacramental Living, Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 127:1) “Let everything take second place to our care of our children, our bringing them up to the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (St. John Chrysostom) “What saves and makes for good children is the life of the parents…Love, harmony and understanding between parents are what are required for the children. This provides a great sense of security and certainty.” (Elder Prophyrios) "Proverbs 22:6 is key in understanding the process of knowing and raising your child: ‘Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.’ The verse doesn’t mean “train up a child as you see him.” Rather, “if you want your training to be meaningful and wise, be observant and discover your child’s way, and adapt your training accordingly.” Strengthening this idea is the word way. This Hebrew term literally means “road” or “path.” Metaphorically, it is “a characteristic.” Therefore, the thought is, “according to his characteristic, his manner.” (Charles Swindoll) “In our increasingly computerized, impersonal world, warm relationships among members of God’s family take on major importance.” (Life Application Study Bible, Mark 3:33-35) "Laws and organizations and schools are good things, crèches and social services and youth groups may be admirable things. Yet—a reminder obvious, trite, but necessary—none of them can replace the love and guidance of father and mother. Our problem, then, pending reconstruction of the world, is to reconstruct our own lives so that we give our children as much warmth and attention and time and teaching as the present world will allow.” (Joy Davidman) “Life in the home is in the Lord; the family is a little Church.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Colossians 3:18-4:1) “Let each of you make your home a church." (St. John Chrysostom) “Our families are precious gifts from God, and we should value and care for them under all circumstances. Neither Christian work nor key responsibilities in any job or position excuse us from caring for our families.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 19:25-27) “Parents today can show…concern [for their children] by praying for their children. This means “sacrificing” some time each day to ask God to forgive them, to help them grow, to protect them, and to help them please Him.” (Life Application Study Bible, Job 1:5) “…my finest moments of parenting came when my thought and actions were solely about my child with no thought of myself. These selfless moments are not nearly as frequent as they should be because I have yet to “die to self” enough as Christ said we should to be that kind of person God wants us to be… without Christ, my inclinations to selfishness were all too prevalent.” (Sacramental Living) “Loving relationships are a family’s best protection against the challenges of the world.” (Bernie Wiebe) “A dining room table with children’s eager, hungry faces around it, ceases to be a mere dining room table, and becomes an altar.” (Simeon Strunsky) “Families without any sense or devotion to God are not as equipped to overcome the things which tend to pull families apart such as jealousy, envy, sexual temptations and other poor behaviors.” (Sacramental Living) “Family is the second most important relationship we have. The first is our relationship with God… Our relationship with Him is the single most important thing in our lives.” (Sacramental Living) "Love of family is a law of God, but even this love can be self-serving and used as an excuse not to serve God or do his work.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 10:34-39) “All of life is relational. Beginning in the womb, we receive all that we have, all that we are, and all that we are becoming from one another." (Bishop John Michael Botean) “God’s commandments are about relationships. They are about loving in a godly way.” (Father John Zeyack) “People are individuals, with minds, hearts, and opinions. People are also part of a wider whole, connected by relationships built on sharing between whole persons.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 17:3) “God put the desire for relationship in all of us but designed each of us to express that desire in unique ways.” (Ryan Shook & Josh Shook) “...spiritual relationships are as binding as physical ones..." (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 12:46-50) “God, as He has revealed Himself to us as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, specifically through Jesus the Son, is a relational being. The entire Bible, Old and New Testaments, is all about God’s relationship to us and ours to Him.” (Sacramental Living) “What’s so amazing about genuine Christianity (compared to other religions) is that it leads us step by step toward a God who is so much more than an idea or a force. He is a God we can actually know for ourselves, a Person we can have a firsthand relationship with.” (Ryan Shook & Josh Shook) "A person, as opposed to an individual, exists only in relationships to other persons." (Clark Carlton) “If our faith in Christ is real, it will usually prove itself in our relationships at home with those who know us best.” (Life Application Study Bible, Ephesians 6:1-4) “The Kingdom of God is not like an earthly kingdom with geographical boundaries. Instead, it begins with the work of God’s Spirit in people’s lives and in relationships.” (Life Application Study Bible, Luke 17:20-21)

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