"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches" (Prov. 24:3,4). God is the all- wise architect of the home and the Bible is the original owner's manual for a strong and happy family. The book of Proverbs reveals God's priceless, practical wisdom for enriching every home. And these precious principles have been tried and tested to work in the real world.
To illustrate the profound, timeless wisdom in
Proverbs for human relationships, we note that Dr. Nick Stinnett, a member of
the church of Christ and professor of Marriage and Family Studies at the University
of Alabama, has conducted several sociological surveys of thousands of families
to see what consitutes the common traits of strong families.
Interestingly, all six traits were revealed by God in Proverbs! Note his observed list of traits of strong families, along with a sampling of corresponding verses from Proverbs. This simply reinforces what God already revealed 3000 years ago!
1. Strong Spiritual Priority: -- "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Prov. 1:7). "Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and turmoil with it" (Prov. 15:16). God must be the most important member of our family, and His perfect Will for our lives our guiding light in every situation.
2. Committed To Family Welfare: -- "The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands" (Prov. 14:1). "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity" (Prov. 17:17). We are in this together, so let's make the best of it.
3. Spend Enjoyable Time Together: -- "The memory of the righteous is blessed" (Prov. 10:7). "Give me your heart my son, and let your eyes delight in my ways" (Prov. 23:26). Strive to have positive interaction with each other daily. We never know when we're making a lasting memory with our children.
4. Have Loving Family Communication: -- "Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred" (Prov. 15:16). "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver" (Prov. 25:11). Loving communication is the lifeblood of the family, which builds closeness and understanding.
5. Express Regular Appreciation Of Each Other: -- "A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!" (Prov. 15:23). "Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad, that I may reply to him who reproaches me" (Prov. 27:11). The home is a refuge from the cold, often hard world, where we give mutual support and encouragement to do and be our best.
6. Able To Constructively Solve Problems In A Crisis: -- "If you are slack in the day of distress, your strength is limited" (Prov. 24:10). "For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, but the wicked stumble in time of calamity" (Prov. 24:16). Faith in God makes a difference in the real world. It shold impart strength of character to successfully navigate the twists and turns of life.
One noted author of books on home and family life observed that he literally posted a list like this in his home where it became the topic of numerous conversations among family members. He suggests that others do the same.
The most precious legacy we can leave our children is the memorable model of a strong home life, where we centered daily life around the Lord and His perfect Will for our lives. Let us consciously and consistently work at having positive, loving interaction with one another in the home. I encourage parents to read through sections of Proverbs with their children. Just a few minutes a day is a valuable investment in building a stable, spiritual home life. You can read a few verses from Proverbs at the breakfast table, as I do with my daughters. Sometimes I simply read one verse prefaced by, "Here is your verse for the day." When I'm being a taxi driver in hauling my children to school or sports activities, I often have us listen to one chapter from Proverbs or the Gospels. This takes about 5 minutes. You can read from the wisdom literature at the supper table, or you can simply have a brief reading with your child before you tuck them in at night. Establishing this habit sends the message that our life is centered around God's Word and this is simply part of our family identity (Deut. 6:4-9).
"Hear, my son, and accept my sayings and the years of your life will be many. I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths...The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day" (Prov. 4:10,11,18).
By W. Frank Walton in Biblical Insights, Vol. 6, No. 5, May 2006.
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