The most basic unit of society is the family. Just as God exist in plurality in unity, as three in one, He made humanity to exist in community. When God made humans He declared, “Let us make man in our own image and in our own likeless. so that he may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, and in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)
In Genesis two when God told the story of man’s creation in more detail and described Adam in the beautiful paradise of Eden, naming all the animals as they were brought before him, God declared that all He had made was “Very good” except for man being alone. “It is not good that a man should be alone.” So God made the woman and brought her to the man. Adam’s reaction to Eve was very different from his reaction to everything else in creation. He named the animals but none was found that was a companion to him. Of the woman he said, “This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. She will be called woman. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh. They were both naked and unashamed.”
From this point God told the story of sin entering the world and the punishment sin brought into the lives of all people for all times. Sins effect could not be contained in the lives of the two people who brought it into the world. It would spread to every descendant of Adam and Eve. God immediately told the story of children entering the family. Cain and Abel were the first sons of Adam and Eve. They would have many other sons and daughters, only one of which would have his name mentioned in the Bible, Seth. But sin had invaded the family. Cain and Abel grew up and were working men when Abel brought the best of his flock to offer as a sacrifice to God and Cain brought of the fruit of the ground to give to God. God accepted Abel’s gift but rejected Cain’s. In the rejection God told Cain that sin was crouching at the door but that he could choose which way he would go. God wasn’t prejudiced against Cain. If he offered God the first and best as Abel had, his sacrifice would also have been accepted and God gave him the chance to change it to make the right offering to Him. But Cain chose to vent his frustrations against his brother rather than change his offering to God. He killed Abel. God drove Cain away from his family. His punishment was to go with his own wife and family away from his parents, from his home and family. He declared that his punishment was greater than he could bear.
From that time forward, sin has haunted families. From the time Cain was separated because of his wrong, families have allowed wedges to be driven in them by sin of one kind or another. We usually think of certain big sins that hurt families, like immorality, unfaithfulness to the marriage vows or drugs and alcohol affecting either parents or children that brings pain and destruction all around. But the truth is sin of all kinds injures the family. At the heart of much of the pain in our homes is dishonesty. We can become so engulfed in hiding things from one another that being open and honest seems like a foreign way of life. When the Bible says that Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed it points to more than the lack of clothing. It points to their emotional and spiritual openess with each other. Nothing was hidden from each other. They could trust one another completely, that is until sin entered the picture.
When truth is a stranger at home it is a stranger in every part of our lives. If we lie to our mate and our children or parents there is not anyone else we won’t lie to, including God and ourself. Think of how foolish it is to trust a person in business who is lying to his wife or husband about the most fundamental needs in life. If a man or woman is lying to their mate, do you really think they will have any problem lying to you? How in the world do we think we can trust people with our money or our property when they can’t even be trusted with their loyalty to the one they made the covenant to be faithful to? It’s no wonder that God declared we are to speak truth to one another and put away lying from among us.
It is the same honesty with each other in the marriage that should bleed over into our relationship with our children. If they see us being dishonest with one another, they will pick up the habit quickly. Sure it is natural for a child to hide things and to blame others. But they should see in their parents a different way of living, rather than the parents continuing to act like children even as adults. Nothing good comes from either hiding faults or blaming others for our failures. Think how many families have been broken apart because some sin becomes evident which started years before, but was hidden away until the truth had to come out. So many times if the problem had been faced early on there would have been solutions that would have kept the hurt from becoming a permanent injury.
I suspect the vast majority of affairs would never have happened if when there were first feelings and attractions to the other person one had come home to tell their wife or husband that they had such feelings or attractions. There is something about facing the reality and of knowing I’m going to tell my mate that will keep a person from going any further with such feelings.
What if a child came home the first time someone offered them illegal drugs to tell mom or dad what had happened? Do you think there might have been answers that would have stopped the problems from getting worse? What if parents were honest with their children about their own fears and doubts and their own mistakes along the way? Too often parents have been sabatoged in their efforts to correct a child for mistakes when the child learns that the parents had the same problems. Old report cards can make liars of parents who were always seen as outstanding students.
I’ve made the mistake in the past of thinking and advising some not to tell of things that had happened in the past to hurt their partner now when they had stopped the wrong a long time back. I know that being open can go too far to become one telling everything to everyone they see and that can do harm. But to live in fear of being found out is destructive to a person and their marriage.
Families need each other and they need God. But to maintain my relaionship with either demands that I be honest in what I say and do.