Having a Functional Family

The Ideal Family

The ideal family is many times described as being a healthy, functional family unit. Whenever there is a particular breakdown within the family, the term “dysfunctional” is commonly used. As is commonly the case, many times more focus is placed upon the “dysfunctional” side rather than the “functional” side; it is easier to point out flaw rather than to describe good attributes.

The same is true of the spiritual family of God. Many times the flaws, the imperfections, the things simply common to human beings are focused upon, instead of what attributes make for a healthy, functional Christian family. Consider the following attributes as suggestions for such a functional family:

Experience is used

A functioning family of God benefits greatly not only from the mature wisdom of those who are more spiritual experienced, but actually defers to such experience. Those who are spiritual mature are more apt to discern good from evil (Heb. 5:14) and are also able to provide unique encouragement to new converts. It is one thing to “respect our elders”, it is quite another to actually listen to them.

Conflict is managed

To suggest that a functional family is totally free of conflict is naïve and misunderstands the human condition. The reality is that conflict will always exist; it is how that conflict is handled that matters more. Of course conflict over doctrinal matters should not occur, for we are to be of one mind (Phil. 2:2ff). Conflicts of opinion are not only common, but are natural. A Christian family which is without any conflict of opinion is most likely not communicating with one another, which is a greater problem!

Communication is encouraged

The previous two suggestions cannot be effective without open communication. Misunderstandings arise when communication is lacking. Gossip arises when communication is forgotten. A Christian family that does not communicate cannot is prone to major conflict many times because few are aware that any such disagreement exists! At best, such a family is dying, but simply does not realize it yet.

Love abides

This is most important of all, for (agape) love is the foundation upon everything a Christian family does. Nothing else matters if there is no such love. With such love, many of the shortcomings and even the hard challenges which define the human condition can be overcome. Love is all!

With these suggestions in mind, let us always strive to have the best, healthiest, and move functional family of God we possibly can!

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