Now this is not to suggest that the family is literally dead because there is still the unit that we call family. And the same goes for a friend, there are still some good friends. All of us reading this morning are connected to a family, somebody that we call father, mother, sister or brother, cousins, nephews and distant relatives — then there are the children.
Family means that there is somebody that we are connected to through our blood line. But I use the phrase the “dead family” this morning because in a sense the family is dead. I say it to make us aware of the fact that Satan, whose name means “adversary” is out to destroy and annihilate the family. He is also known as the “destroyer;” and for good reason, he comes to destroy (John 10:10); he wants to destroy everything that God made that is good.
If you remember in the Genesis story that God created the heavens and the earth and the sea, the world then was perfect and everybody was innocent. The family began with Adam in Genesis 1:28 and Eve in chapter 2:22 and it was to them that God gave the first family, but after the fall of Lucifer…and he became the devil…then he devised an all-out war to destroy everything good that God made.The Bible doesn’t say when Lucifer became Satan it just tells about the fall (Isaiah 14:12), but ever since he has set out to destroy the family that God made.
His first attempt was when Cain committed the first murder when he killed his brother Abel in Genesis 4:8. Abel’s blood crying from the ground in verse 10 of that chapter means those who would have been born through him will now never be born. That’s what murder does — it cuts off generations to come. Satan’s next attempt is when he distorts the God ordained family order of husband, wife and children (Gen. 1:27; 2:21, 24). My community family, if you will but think about it, you too will agree when you see the way things are that Satan is at work against the family.
First, he takes the father out of the home or out of the life of his child (or children), Satan convinces him that he can father a child and then leave the child alone to him or herself, but the father is the official head, the covering of his family if he is married and/or over his child if he is not married and without the head there is no covering.
The wife and I observed while in a restaurant a few weeks ago a little boy who was graduating perhaps from an elementary program at school and he had on his cap and gown and his father and mother brought him in the restaurant no doubt to celebrate the occasion. My wife remarked how beautiful a scene it was to see him sitting beside his father interacting with him no doubt the child feeling so proud, and the mother who sat across from them. I remember fondly the joy I saw in my own two son’s faces (when they were in elementary school) whenever I showed up at school to eat with them at lunch time — they were so excited!
And now they are dedicated Christians, friends, without a head the family is dead! In that it is off balance, cut the head off from anything and the body will die! Satan knows that and that’s why he always attack the head. Just look at our community, young boys and girls and you know what I mean, fathers, you build nations and kingdoms, you have a chance to shape minds.
Don’t let Satan cause you to not play an active role in your child’s life, don’t let him kill your family! And then family dies when husband and wife disengage with each other, when communication breaks down. There needs to be dialogue even if one doesn’t understand the other.
Be like the old couple I heard about, I heard about an old married couple who had been married for many years but neither of them could hear well, one evening while they both were rocking in their rocking chairs on the porch the wife looked at her husband and said to her husband “I am so proud of you”…the hard of hearing husband said back to her “yeah, and I’m so tired of you too!”
Family is the core of the community. When there is a breakdown in the family there is a breakdown in the community and the nation, but if you want to see an example of a dead family read about the family of David. Not only that but they were a dysfunctional family, first of all men David set his family up for failure when he steps out of the will of God and commits adultery with another man’s wife (2 Samuel 11:4). Then his son Amnon rapes his own sister (2 Sam. 13:14); then his brother Absalom had his servants to kill him (verse 29) and David is grieved (verse 31).
Later Absalom is hanged by an oak tree (2 Samuel 18:9) and this is what Satan desires to do to every family, destroy! He wants to distort, to plant seeds of animosity among family members.
But keep the family alive by talking things out and don’t stop communicating. Family, you are all each other have for one lifetime. Declare with me today that your family will not be “a dead family!”
The Rev. George Ellis is pastor of Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church.