In Western Culture family can easily be regarded as something of minimal value or significance. Other cultures give greater honour to family connections than most westerners do. We could wonder whether family is as significant as some cultures regard it, or as insignificant as westerners think it to be.
So, how does God view family connection?
The simple answer is: God Takes Family Seriously.
Prime example is the family curse passing to all humanity through Adam. The Bible records Adam eating forbidden fruit, at the start of human history. The sin was committed by Adam, and Adam was judged. If ‘family’ held no significance then Adam’s sin would have no effect on any of his descendants.
Sadly for us, as Adam’s descendants, God’s curse on Adam belongs equally to us. God cursed Adam’s life to end in death. So too for us. God said Adam would return to dust, and so do we. God said the world would be cursed with decay and thorns and thistles, and that includes the world we inherit from Adam.
This primary example is followed up multiple times in the Bible, showing God’s blessings and God’s curses transferring to children and grandchildren, down through multiple generations.
Consider Noah, who found favour in God’s eyes. The global flood of Noah’s day wiped out all the people, and thus all the families except that of Noah and his three sons. No one alive today is descended from any of those who rejected Noah’s preaching.
God’s blessing on Abraham is alive today, thousands of years later, in the Israelites.
Note too that God judged whole nations based on the family connection. The prophet Obadiah prophesied destruction of the nation of Edom. The reason was based on family. When Israel was invaded by Babylon the Edomites gloated and assisted Babylon, out of their ill will toward Israel. However Edom and Israel were ‘brothers’.
“Because of your violence against your brother Jacob, shame will cover you and you will be cut off forever.” Obadiah 1:10
How was Edom a brother to Israel? Edom descended from Esau, the older brother of Jacob, who was named Israel. However many centuries had passed since those two men lived and Edomites were an entirely different culture to the Israelites. Yet, God remembered the family connection, seeing them as brothers.
So, as I have said, God Takes Family Seriously.
In the broadest sense, all humanity is related, as descendants of Adam and also of Noah. Whatever our size, shape and skin colour, we are a brotherhood of man, a family of mankind. We are held accountable before God for how we treat our family.
We are warned not to treat our parents badly. It’s one of the Ten Commandments, but other verses speak of it as well.
“Honour your father and mother, so you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
“Cursed is he who treats his father or mother with contempt.” Deuteronomy 27:16
God blesses families and those blessings pass down the generations.
“Though one support another, the wicked will not be unpunished: but the descendants of the righteous will be delivered.” Proverbs 11:21
“I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you, and to your seed after you.” Genesis 17:7,8
“I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” Psalm 37:25
It is a wonderful thing to be born into a family that is blessed, since God’s blessing comes on you automatically.
And all this shows that God Takes Family Seriously. So consider how you think of family. Have you developed bad attitudes toward your parents, siblings or children? Do you have relatives you resent or despise? Have your treated your family members badly?
God holds you accountable to have due regard for your parents, brothers and sisters, children, descendants and wider family. You can pretend you are not related to them, but God remembers the family connection and God takes it seriously.
And God heals families. He even looks for people in damaged families who will bring God’s grace into the family to heal the generations. This is noted in God speaking of one who makes up the break in the wall.
“I sought for a man among them, that would make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” Ezekiel 22:30
I urge you to ask God to check and to heal your attitude toward your family. Repent of any wrong or hardness of heart. Ask God to guide you to know any areas where you need to lift your game.
And from this moment on, be determined to bless your family and generations, remembering that God Takes Family Seriously.