WHY IS THE FAMILY DISINTEGRATING?

(PART 1)

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

ILLUSTRATION:  

 

A couple sits down to dinner with their two children.

They discuss the day’s events as the food is passed around the table.

 

School and work dominate the conversation.

 

After dinner, they clear the table together quickly so they can watch a television special.

 

This sounds like a typical family, right?

 

Well I left out one important piece of information.

 

The two adults are both women.  They are lovers who have made a commitment to live together and raise their two children who were from previous marriages.

 

1.      My friends, this kind of family, and others like them are being culturally accepted today as a family.  If you watch TV shows such as: The Ophra Winfrey show, or Rickie Lake, you will notice that often times they will put the dysfunctional family on a pedestal.

 

2.      What’s happened to the traditional Cleaver family?  Do you remember Ward and June Cleaver and their boys Wally and the Beaver?   This family was an example of a traditional American family:

 

a.       One husband and one wife dedicated to one another.

 

b.      Two typical children who spent time with their parents.

 

c.       A family who communicated well together.

 

d.      A family who stayed together regardless of life’s problems.

 

3.      I hate to tell you this but most experts agree that the traditional family life is in trouble.

 

4.      Recent research suggests that:

 

a.       More than half of all marriages ends in divorce.  You may think that this figure relates only to non-Christian couples—but it doesn’t.  Half of all marriages, regardless of religious affiliation end in divorce.

 

b.      Each year more than 1 million American teenagers become pregnant, 4 out 5 of them unmarried.  This means that 1 of every 10 adolescent females becomes pregnant.

 

c.       Each year about 25,000 people commit suicide.  The adolescent population accounts for 12 % of that figure.

 

5.      It is easy to see that the family unit is in trouble.

 

THIS MORNING, I WOULD LIKE TO VISIT A TROUBLED HOME THAT EXISTED CENTURIES AGO IN THE BIBLE AND THEN FROM THIS STORY GIVE YOU TWO REASONS WHY I BELIEVE THE FAMILY IS DISINTEGRATING.

 

A.                 LET'S LOOK AT THE DAD, HIS NAME-ELI.

 

1.       Eli, we are told in the book of Samuel, held a very responsible position. 

 

a.       In fact, he wore two hats that required a lot of time; he was both priest and judge of Israel.  He held down this position for about 40 years. 

 

2.       Next, we learn that Eli was a father.

 

*   (1 Samuel 1:3) tells us that his children's names were Hophni (Hof-ny) & Phinehas (Fin-e-has).  And both of Eli’s sons followed in their father’s footsteps and became priests of God.

 

3.       At the outset, this family seems to be very successful.  However, the Bible continues to tell us more about this family.

 

*   In (1 Samuel 2:12-17), Eli’s two sons were absolutely wicked men who rebelled against God.

 

*   Read (1 Samuel 2:12-17).

 

4.       What were Eli’s sons doing wrong?  These supposed men of God were stealing parts of the animal sacrifices that belong to God and were eating the meat before the fat was burned off.  This was against God’s laws (Leviticus 3:3-5).  They were not following God’s instructions regarding the offerings.

 

5.       On top of that in (1 Sam. 2:22), (Hof-ny) & (fin-e-has) “slept with the woman who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.”  These two priests of God were sleeping with God's parishioners.  They were not only thieves who had stolen meat from God; but they were also fornicators. 

 

FROM THIS STORY, I SEE AT LEAST TWO REASONS WHY THE FAMILY IS DISINTEGRATING. 

 

I.                           THE FAMILY UNIT IS DISINTEGRATING BECAUSE PARENTS ARE MORE PREOCCUPIED WITH THEIR PROFESSIONS THEN THEY ARE WITH THEIR OWN FAMILY’S NEEDS.

 

1.           Eli was so busy being a priest and judge that he didn’t even know about his son's immoral actions.

 

*   (1 Sam. 2:22)  “Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.”

 

2.           Eli was so preoccupied with his job that he had to hear about everything his sons were doing from others.

 

3.           In our society today, the family is in trouble because careers are becoming more important than the family. 

 

4.           It is not enough anymore to just work 40 hours a week.  Now, people are choosing to work longer hours or get second jobs so that they can make more money to keep up with their expensive lifestyle.  The career has taken precedence over the family.

 

5.           To some people, work is more important than spending time with their children.

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

One evening a little child named, Billy, was allowed to sit in his father’s place at the dinner table while his father was absent.  His slightly older sister asked Billy, “So, you’re the father tonight.  All right, will you help me with my homework after dinner?”

 

Without a moment’s hesitation, Billy replied nonchalantly, “No, I’ve got work to do.  Ask your mother!”

 

6.           If you ask your children what was more important to them-- your career or your time, what do you think they would say?  Your time of course!  That is what children want.

 

a.       A study undertaken by the New York Times in 1989 noted that among employed adults with Children in their household, 3 out of 4 said that they are torn between committing themselves to their jobs and concentrating on the needs of their families.

 

7.           If you are having a hard time deciding what is more important: The career or the family, then please listen to this.

 

8.           In God’s perspective, the acid test of a father’s leadership is not in the realm of how much money he makes, how many college degrees he acquires or how well he manages his office.  It is in the home.

 

9.           God is concerned with how well you manage your household.  One of the qualifications of Elders and Deacons is that “He must manage his own family well” (1 Tim. 3:4).

 

10.      If we spend all of our time working, how can we manage our household? 

 

11.      If the family unit is going to survive in the 21st century, it must understand that the needs of the family are more important than money and careers. 

 

12.      This may mean that sacrifices may need to be made in order to keep the family healthy and happy.

 

a.       You may need to downsize your living expenses in order to quit your second and third job.

 

b.      You may need to find another job, if your job is too demanding of your time.

 

c.       You may need to start spending more quality time with your family, understanding their needs and desires.

 

13.      I believe that the family unit can survive if we start putting the family ahead of our jobs.

 

II.                  SECOND, THE FAMILY UNIT IS DISINTEGRATING BECAUSE PARENTS ARE NOT PROPERLY DISCIPLINING THEIR CHILDREN.

 

1.       Earlier I had told you that Eli had heard that his sons were engaging in sinful acts.  But what did Eli do about it?

 

*   (1 Sam. 3:12-13)  “At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end.  For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them.”

 

2.       Although Eli knew about his son's sins and wicked behavior, he did nothing about it.  He failed to discipline his children.  He allowed them to do what they pleased. 

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

When the Duke of Windsor was asked what impressed him most in America, he replied, “The way American parents obey their children.”

 

3.       These days, more children are doing what they want to do instead of what God and their parents want them to do.  And when children are disobedient, some parents do nothing about it--just like Eli did nothing about it.

 

*   The Bible explicitly says in (Eph. 6:1),  “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 

 

4.       God expects parents to discipline their children.

 

*   (Proverbs 19:18) says in the (Good News Bible),  “Discipline your children while they are young enough to learn.  If you don’t, you are helping them destroy themselves.”

 

5.       When parents refuse to discipline their children, they are doing more harm than good. 

 

6.       Why don’t parents discipline their children today?

 

ILLUSTRATION:

 

The headline to one “Dear Abby” column read, “Mom spares the rod and earns child’s contempt.”  The letter read:

 

Dear Abby,

 

My problem is my mother.  She’s too lenient!  After she gets angry and punishes me, she often will apologize.  Why should she, when I had the punishment coming?

 

Abby replied,

 

Dear Mixed-Up:

 

Your mother (like many others) fears you will love her less because she has punished you.  (She’s wrong).  No child has ever resented punishment he knew he had coming.  Discipline is “proof” of love, … Children “know” this.  I wish more parents did.

 

*   (Prov. 13:24)  “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”

 

7.       There is no doubt that the family is in trouble because parents are falling to discipline their children and teach them the proper way to live which is according to God’s Word.  So we must get better at properly disciplining our children.

 

8.       I must tell you that if you discipline your children by spanking them, please never it do it when you are angry; if you do, you may severely hurt or abuse them.  Be gentle and loving even when punishing. 

 

CONCLUSION:

 

1.      This morning, I open up the series on the “family” by looking at just two reasons why I believe the family is disintegrating. 

 

2.      If your family is falling into this trap, then please make the right choices that can get you back on the right track.