Day 11 – You, Family and Friends: Vision Planning
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you..”
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
“…a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
Blood is thicker than water
I t’s not a surprise that one of the Ten Commandments (number five to be precise) instructs us to honour our parents without mention of any other family members or friends. That’s because our existence on earth starts with our parents. We are meant to learn what a healthy parent-child relationship from our parents. Thankfully the perfect parent-child relationship is demonstrated between God, the Father, and Jesus, the Son, for those who don’t experience this themselves.
We all need to ask God for wisdom on what honouring parents looks like in the different stages of our lives. Abusive or absent parents make this difficult. Therefore we need to ask God for wisdom and strength on what honour looks like in those circumstances.
Honouring parents should extend to honouring all our relatives, including children or those in our care. Because if we honour our parents, we shouldn’t be dishonouring their parents, siblings, children, cousins, etc. This can also include the friends that become family; you may have an aunt, uncle or cousin who actually isn’t related by blood or marriage (we have countless of them!).
Things become different however with peer-to-peer relationships, including friendships. There is more of a give and take, share and grow mindset at play, and this is where Proverbs 13:20 becomes so useful. You could be with friends who really aren’t too wise, who just take, and never give, and whilst you share, only they grow. Or worse, they could be directly damaging your life through conscious neglect or harm, or more subtly through bad influence. You need wisdom and a spirit of discernment when making friends to keep yourself safe.
Relationships with spouses are different still, with Ephesians 5:21-33 giving clear instructions for husbands and wives. We consider this type of relationship last because generally we all have relationships with relatives and friends before our spouse. This means that the relationships we have with family and friends can impact our relationship with our spouse. Both the good and bad of your relationship habits will impact your marriage. It is important to recognise that once you’re married, your spouse comes before all others, including parents.
A Prayer To Get You Started
Heavenly Father, thank you for my father and mother. They are not perfect, but they are the reason why I am here today in the first place. Please give me wisdom of how to honour them or their memory, even taking any complexities of our relationship into consideration. Thank you for the family I have. No matter how broken it is, I trust that you are healing me God and I pray that you will heal them. Show me how I can honour who my family is now and how to teach my future family the value of honour.
I thank you Lord for my friendships. Help me to be loving and wise regarding which friendships to continue to invest in and which I might need to change or even end.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Food For Thought
What do we need to consider when making plans related to family and friends? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Anyone need help? You might need to identify whether you can or cannot help them, and what that help looks like, including time commitment
- Any healthy relationships? Perhaps you have relationships that don’t need changing but you need to acknowledge this is ok
- Any toxic relationships? You could be in a draining or abusive relationship that needs healing, or ending
- Anyone you need to spend more time with? Perhaps you know someone who lives very far away, or you haven’t spoken to them in a very long time
- Anyone who has passed away? Maybe you need to honour them somehow or celebrate your heritage
- Anyone you have yet to meet? This could be a future spouse, or a long lost relative
- Anyone you need to forgive or needs to forgive you? Day 2’s teachings on forgiveness was relevant then and could still be relevant now
We are introduced to our family through our parents. In God, the Father, and Jesus, we see a perfect parent-child relationship which is foundational to all other family relationships. God commands us to honour our father and mother and we need to ask Him for wisdom on what that looks like in our unique family situations. We also need to be wise in choosing friends that will not lead us away from God’s vision for our lives. Finally, spouses are the most precious relationship after that shared with God, and so spouses come before all others.
Questions to ask yourself
- How can or do you honour your past family? Are there things about your heritage/history you should commemorate?
- How can or do you honour your current family?
- How can or do you teach your future family the value of honour?
- Who is (are) your closest friend(s)?
- Are there friendships that are harming you? What is God telling you about them?
- Are you being a harmful friend? What is God telling you to do?
SMART Goal Setting
Write one or more SMART goals that will help you realise God’s vision for this domain. Remember, a SMART goal is one that is:
S pecific: so you have something to focus on.
M easurable: success is a measure of “how much” “how many” or “when” a goal is reached
A chievable: you can only reach a goal if it is realistic and success is possible.
R elevant: the goal needs to be worth pursuing so you feel encouraged to accomplish it.
T ime bound: you can’t measure or achieve success if there is no end point
Proverbs 18:24 reminds us that some friends are much closer to us than even family
Ephesians 6:4 advises parents should not be getting on their children’s last nerves!
1 Timothy 5:8 is a strong admonishment for us to look after our families
Ephesians 5:21-33 giving clear instructions for husbands and wives.
Tomorrow we review You, Family and Friends: Sustainable Success.
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