My sister, Beverly, is big on family. Throughout her house, the word “family” is either on her wall or on a plaque positioned somewhere that can be clearly seen. She models the wife and mother of the “Worthy Woman” in Proverbs:

Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.


Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:

“Many women have done wonderful things,
but you’ve outclassed them all!”
(Proverbs 31:11, 28-29 MSG).

I am proud to be her brother and have witnessed her remarkable ability to love unconditionally and walk endlessly to ensure her family is ok through the good and bad times.

The family must be a place that is safe and free from hurts and heartache. Just because we are family doesn’t give anyone the right to be demeaning and disrespectful. Mother Teresa said it best:

We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.

When a family sees each other as a gift from God and the uniqueness each one brings to the home, then and only then does it become a true sanctuary of peace and kindness and love and joy and laughter and patience and a bottomless bowl of grace.

The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. — Mother Teresa
One of the best places to see God’s intent for the family is found in Paul’s instructions to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:21-6:4). I’ve heard it said many times that the husband is the superior person in the home and everyone else falls into their proper places. However, I don’t believe Paul intended for there to be an inferior person in the home. Looking closely at what was being taught, Paul gave some specifics in the way we treat each other. Wives submit to husbands. This submission, however, is not one of inferiority. It is love and respect for Jesus. Paul told the husbands to sacrificially love their wives. Love is demonstrated by seeking out the best in the wife you vowed to honor and cherish, even to the point of giving up his life to beautify and protect while being there for her in sickness and in health until death. To the children, Paul said to obey their parents. Obeying means to honor the wishes of your parents. Godly parents will never order something to be done that will harm the child or break the spirit of a child or cause a child to be disobedient to God.

There must not be anything or anyone that comes between the family the love each has for the other. Walt Disney said, “A man should never neglect his family for business.” It has been said, “a family who plays together, stays together” or “a family who prays together stays together.” This understanding means that the best times for families can be vacations, ballgames, concerts, dance recitals, county fairs, camping trips, collecting lighting bugs, eating dinner, praying, praising Jesus, helping a stranger, giving food to a hungry person, visiting the nursing home, reading the Bible, sharing Jesus, hugging, holding hands, and saying, “I love you.”

Maya Angelou said it well when she said, “I sustain myself with the love of family.” Being sustained by the love of a family is a comfort that will take away the fear of loneliness and replace it with a peace knowing I’m loved by someone is willing to always be there for me. It will also take away depression and replace it with joy and hope.

Our family is a gift. Let’s never take it for granted. Let’s love unconditionally. Let’s never allow ourselves to be so upset with our siblings, parents, or other relatives, that we stop talking to them. Our family is too precious to stay alienated, so let’s pick up the phone or get in the car, and make the effort to mend our relationships. Let’s remember, in Jesus, our family is forever. But here on earth, one day sooner than we can imagine, the people in our family will not be around to share laughter, to swap hugs, or to simply sit on the front porch and chat for hours. Let's not neglect this precious gift God wants to be a place of blessing and safety.

Let's make sure that as far as is possible with us, our family is a place for love to grow and us to know that each is precious and appreciated. And if our physical family cannot be that, let's make sure we build one with our spiritual family in Jesus!