How to Build a Better Bond 3/12/00

Genesis 18:17-19

Jesus Christ wants to enable you to have better personal relations. That is, He wants to help us get along with each other. There is every evidence in our society we need such help. At no point is this more evident than in the most personal of relationships, the family.

Parents, who is raising your children?

Consider these facts. In 1979, 6% of children had televisions in their bedrooms; today 77%. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey reveals that children ages 2 – 18 spend nearly 5.5 hours a day outside of school with some type of media. Almost three of those hours watching TV. In the bedrooms of children 8 – 18, 21% have computers. 61% say they have NO parental control over their viewing or web activities.

Who is influencing your child?

Norman Lear who created the TV series “All In the Family” and other TV programs said: “The delight we once took in celebrating family and community seems to be vaporizing before us. You now have all these (TV) shows about lonely people coming together. It seems to me this is part of something profound. It is a disease in our time. There’s a television in every room, and the family has become splintered.”

Principles now to be shared are applicable to youth and adults, adults never married or those single again and those married, couples with and those without children, parents and grandparents. If you are a human being that ever circulates in society this message is for you. Application of certain principles, thought directly applicable to some are relevant to all.

From antiquity comes an account of a family needing direction. God had promised the aged Abraham and Sarah they would have children. Biologically this was impossible. Genesis 18: 14 reveals a principle that builds confidence and keeps hope alive: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Put that on the screen saver of your mind and don’t turn off your mental computer. The Lord then gave certain specific instructions to Abraham. These ageless insights can renew relationships.

This elemental art is one of the most challenging aspects of relationships. Though we may have expansive vocabularies we often can’t communicate. Fellow males, one of the primary reasons is us.

A little boy and girl were playing together. She said, “Let’s play house!” “OK,” said the little boy, “what do you want me to do?” “To start with,” she said, “I want you to communicate.” “That’s a big word,” he replied, “I don’t know
what it means.” With a smirk the little girl says, “Great, you can be the husband.”

One reason we are poor communicators is we have bought in too deeply to the equality, or sameness, concept in our culture. Failing to acknowledge some of our basic differences walls are built up between males and females and this carries over into marriage.

The male is theoretical minded. He prefers to deal with theory, philosophy, or principles. He deals from a position of logic and reason. That’s good, but it isn’t all good. The female is person centered. She wants to know to whom what principle applies. She deals from the basis of sensitivity, a depth of feeling, or emotions. That is good, but it isn’t all good.

This is not to hint that males don’t have feelings or that females don’t have logic. It simply indicates a framework within which each deals. The difference is wonderful. It in part is why we need each other. We bring to a relationship our strengths and compliment and complete the other. It’s WONDERFUL!

MALE deals in generalities
FEMALE deals in details

Does this scenario which illustrates this point sound familiar?

The phone rings. You, the male answers. “I’ll get it,” you say, putting down the paper, “Hello.” A ten minute conversation ensues. When it ends the phone is hung up and the paper picked up. “Who was that?” “Yeji Jaboe’s, mother.” We haven’t heard from her in 8 years. “Well!” “Well, what?” “What did she say?” “She said Yeji is fine.” The tone indicates a strong desire to get back to the significant insight offered in “Calvin and Hobbes.” “That’s all she said?” The interrogation comparable to that of a good district attorney continues. She wants the entire story. You give it: “OK, Yeji just got out of prison after serving a sentence for a murder he committed when he was a drug dealer because he felt guilty when his wife died in a freak submarine accident while Yeji was involved with a teenage rapper, BUT he has his life straightened out and is adjusting well to his new wooden leg.” He has a good job as a trapeze artist and is engaged to marry a prominent member of the Dixie Chicks —- SO in other words he is fine just like I said.”

MALE communicates information
FEMALE communicates emotions

MALE uses indirect expressions: hugs, kisses, touch, looks
FEMALE prefers direct expression, say “I love you”


To communicate —- listen.
Let your speech be embellished with grace.
“Let your speech be always with grace” (Colossians 4:6).

God said that Abraham was to “command” his children and his household. Someone has to take charge if a household is to “keep the way of the Lord.”

Males and females are unquestioningly equal, BUT different.

One role in the family for the male is to be the mood setter. If the mood in your household isn’t good, dad, look in the mirror to find one of the basic reasons. Starting tomorrow set a new one. When you get up in the morning throw back the covers, stand to your full height, and look at your wife. Wow! Don’t over do it. Remembering that old expression, “Oily to bed oily to rise you don’t won’t to stare too long. Those antennae like curlers in the hair don’t do anything to enhance the view.”

When breakfast is finished compliment her with something like, “Honey, that was without a doubt the best breakfast any mortal man has ever enjoyed.” You do that the first morning and you won’t have to lie about it the second. When you start to leave, grab her, swing her around a couple of times right there in front of God and the children. The children might not remember much about you but they will never forget ole dad was a swinger. Work at creating a positive loving mood in the household.

Recently a cross segment of American teens were asked the following. How would your child answer? “Did either of your parents do the following with you during the past 24 hours?
Help with housework?
Praise you for something you did?
Hug or kiss you?
Tell you they love you?
Talk with you about your activities during the day?

Somebody, ideally dads, need to challenge the household to grow in their commitment to moral values.

Lawrence Kohlberg of Harvard has led the way in research in moral education and development. He found that a healthy mature person develops through three levels of moral thinking.

LEVEL ONE extends from birth to about age ten.
This is the totally self-centered stage. All issues and choices are viewed in terms of personal physical or pleasurable results. The game is played by these rules: If I am rewarded as I desire my conduct is good. If I don’t get what I want then my actions are bad. Loving, appropriate discipline is necessary to guide a child through this stage. Many persons never leave it.

LEVEL TWO begins sometime between ages ten and fourteen. At this stage the youth considers others as well as self. Choices are based on whether they please others or are approved by them. Peer pressure and idols exert an enormous influence. The status quo becomes important. Instruction and clear cut well explained guidelines need to lovingly be shared forcefully. Set limits on behavior. Look for teachable moments.

LEVEL THREE begins anytime after the late teens. Unfortunately level three never begins for some people. Kohlberg has reason to think that only 20% of adult Americans reach this level when a person chooses to do something because it is right in and of itself, because a principle is involved. At this stage one is not trying to please self, or others, but what matters is what is right. Internal convictions now become important. Morality is determined by principle not force as in level one or group acceptance as in group two. Honesty is now based on values not because of what a parent says or others think.

Which level characterizes you? Adults, have you gotten hung up in level one or two. If so you will never help your child reach level three which you likely are already expecting. Parents hung up in level one or two use any combination of the following ways to ruin their children:

  1. Teach but do not practice.
  2. Justify their child’s wrongdoing.
  3. Do not discipline.
  4. Laugh at child’s misbehavior.
  5. Give their child unearned money.
  6. Allow children to be disorderly.
  7. Let the child do his/her own thing.

We are to grow in grace and knowledge.

Knowledge we know. Grace we need to learn and share.

Two married Christians don’t necessarily make for a Christian marriage. The traits of Christianity must permeate the family. Christian living is not an accomplished state it is a growing process. Marriage can be a rich and satisfying experience to those willing to sacrifice selfish goals and find in Christ their shared purpose for living. Don’t develop a theology of personal convenience, but personal conviction. Abraham was to challenge his household to “keep the way of the Lord” in “righteousness and justice.” How can a parent do this?

A. Develop and maintain a proper set of priorities. Maintain personal and spiritual integrity. What you are is more important than what you do, because what you are determines what you do. Strive for family intimacy. Recognize the importance of parenting. Strive for vocational excellence — but not at family expense.

B. Acknowledge and express love. Take an active role in the interest of each member of the family. An effective way of showing love is by listening. Be a friend, someone who is always ready to listen and help. Growing together requires time together. By that I don’t mean being at home at the same time with each watching their own TV, eating their favorite fast food, and waiting for their own phone to ring. It means being involved with each other.

C. Affirm the members of the household. That is, reassure one another. Live together as a team. Confirm strong points while helping development in areas of weakness. This is essential to others self-esteem and confidence.

D. Acknowledge yourself to be a spiritually dependent person. With Joshua say, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”