By GE Watkins
The first of God’s institutions, the home, is foundational for society and for the church. If there are healthy homes there is a healthy society. If there are healthy homes in the church it is more likely that there is a healthy church. The opposite can be said for broken homes; the society and the church both suffer if homes don’t function as God designed.
With so much on the line it is important that we identify things that will destroy homes if left unchecked. What leaves homes in a wreck? What makes it so that parents are ashamed to have guests in their home? What leaves wives weeping and husbands with shattered dreams? What leaves children abandoned and without direction?
Lack of Self-discipline
King David is an example of one who did irreparable harm to his family when he failed to control himself with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:1-4). He committed adultery and his sins grew to include lying and murder. The husband who fails to remain sober, the wife who fails to ignore the neighbor’s advances, the son who abuses his parents and the daughter who won’t control her spending are all a danger to the home. All of these problems left unchecked will bring down the family.
The life of Absalom shows the folly of lack of self discipline. He refused to control his anger against his brother Amnon and had him murdered (2 Samuel 13:28-29). He refused to be under the authority of his father and led a rebellion against him (2 Samuel 14-18). Lack of self-discipline nearly brought down the house of David.
A lack of self-control brought about the shameful origin of Ammon and Moab (Genesis 19:31-38). Lot failed to discipline himself and was evidently habitually drunk in the evenings and his daughters had none of the restraints normally associated with righteous women. Both nations became idolatrous and were under the judgment of God.
Families are built when its members walk according to temperance or self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, ASV). Where would be the divorces, the scandals, the drunkenness, the abuse, and the neglect if self-control or self-discipline were exercised?
Parents are charged with instilling self-discipline in their children. The process of building this character is by discipline. Homes disintegrate when parents refuse or neglect to instill self-discipline in their children. This is what fills our prisons, substance abuse facilities, divorce courts and juvenile facilities.
The process of disciplining children is two-fold. It begins with and never stops teaching. The parents’ job is to teach what is right, from the brushing of teeth and wearing of clean clothes to the reading and knowledge of the scriptures. The second part is corrective. The child who won’t “come” when momma calls must be corrected. If you can’t instill this at ages one and two it may be hopelessly too late at sixteen. The wisdom of Solomon states, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15).
To the shame of otherwise good men the Bible gives examples of men who failed. Eli, the high priest, failed to restrain his sons. They treated their priestly office with contempt and God judged Eli for it because he failed to restrain them (1 Samuel 3:13). The Ark of the Covenant fell into the hands of the Philistines for a time because of it (1 Samuel 4:1-11).
The danger is not just to the home when self-discipline and discipline fails. Step by step society crumbles when there are no God-designed homes for our children. Where do great leaders come from? They come from great homes. Outside the Lord’s mighty hand, where does safety lie? It lies where our armed forces believe in the worth of hearth and home.
Where does the church find good elders, deacons, and preachers? And where do those good ladies that finish the forming of the backbone of every good congregation? They come from good homes; homes where parents exercised self-discipline and taught discipline to their children. I know my knowledge of leadership in the church worldwide is not vast, but, in my experience, leaders who do not come from good, stable, disciplined homes are few and far between.
Exercise self-discipline in your home. Be true to your vows. Leave alcohol alone. Exercise kindness. Teach your children, and straighten them out when they stray. Have a great home. We’re depending on you.