The word of God through Malachi summed up the situation.
““I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.” Malachi 2:16
Because of ‘the hardness of heart’, divorce for Jews was permitted under the Law of Moses, 1 but this reluctant permission did not get Jesus’ approval.
“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” Mark 10:11
Present day pressures imposed on parents, places increasing strain on the raising of children within the family unit. Frequently both parents are in full-time employment, and the children are left in a day-care centre or at home by themselves after school has finished. There is less time available for being with the children in a caring and instructive atmosphere. Yet children are a blessing on a marriage, and are an integral part of the family unit.
“Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.”
The responsibility of training children lies with the parents. The children should be brought up in a spiritual environment that is God-orientated. The Israelites were instructed in a principle as valid today for Christ’s followers as it was for those under the Law of Moses.
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 11:18–19
“And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” Deuteronomy 4:8–9
This is reflected in the advice of Paul to those living at Ephesus:
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
The Bible consistently places the primary responsibility of raising children on the shoulders of the husband, and this aspect is perhaps unwisely negated in today’s world when the responsibility is transferred to teachers at the various levels of educational schools and colleges. The parents then lose the ability to maintain the course and type of instruction that they may feel is best for the child. There is good substance in the advice contained in the neglected Book of Proverbs.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
“He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” Proverbs 13:24
One consequence of raising a family in the intended way is to strengthen the training and ability of the father. This is important if one is to succeed not only in one’s family, but also in the spiritual community of believers.
“Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.…He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?).” 1 Timothy 3:1, 4–5
Being a parent in today’s world can be a daunting task, but it can also be a very rewarding one.
- Deuteronomy 24:1-; Matthew 5:31–32; Matthew 19:3-12 Mark 10:2–9 ↩