One of the most important factors in establishing fellowship in a family is the fellowship of husband and wife. As you welcome children into your home, you are either welcoming them into a healthy fellowship and warm friendship or else you are bringing them into the middle of controversy, striving, bitterness, and rivalry. This is how children can either be a great blessing or a great curse – depending on how they are received. Children are usually multipliers. They multiply what you already have in your home.
So what are you multiplying? Is there joy in your marriage? Warmth, gladness, good humor, friendship? Then be encouraged – even if you are still in the toddler trenches – as you preserve that good fellowship with your husband or your wife, you really are preparing them to join you in the party. Pretty soon they will be your assistants, your friends, truly your favorite people to be with. And in the meantime, there should be plenty of warmth, and laughter, and gladness, between all the spankings.
But if you are not in fellowship with your spouse, you cannot expect your children to do anything other than multiply your grief. If your home is a place of constant tension, they will only multiply the tension. If your home is a place of grievances and bitterness, children will only multiply the grievances and bitterness.
We live in a world where there is no perfect home, no sinless family. There is sin in all of our families, just like there can be messes in any one of our homes at any given moment. The decisive factor is not having your act together. The decisive factor is the blood of Jesus. This is why you can have a family that has a lot of natural friendliness that ends up cold and bitter without Jesus. And you can have a family that has a lot of natural sinful baggage that ends up full of joy and loyalty – how’d that happen? – only by the blood of Jesus. And that means confessing your sins and forgiving one another, regularly.
So whether you’ve inherited generations of faithfulness or whether you are just starting out with Jesus, start at the center of your family, start with your marriage. Confess your sins, forgive one another from the heart, and cultivate joy and friendship there. Have the kind of party going with your spouse that your children (and grandchildren) can’t wait to join.