Why Are Families Breaking Down? Written by Pastor Terry Coomer
Joshua 24:14-15 “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you this day whom you will serve: whether the gods of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
I am greatly burdened about the family in America. The direction we are going today is total destruction. There are many reasons for this. We live in a day when words like love, commitment, responsibility, compassion, faith, church, righteousness, common sense, God, the Word of God, mean virtually nothing. I believe that much of that is due to the breakdown of the family.
Folks, the Bible strongly emphasize the family. Today, if you try to encourage a family to do as God has commanded, you will hear comments like “that church or pastor is weird, strict, legalistic, or a cult.” Most of these people have no idea what a cult is and are too spiritually ignorant to see the breakdown that is affecting their family.
The weakness of the family today is the lack of knowledge of the Word of God and an unwillingness to obey the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:15 says that Timothy knew the holy scriptures “from a child.” It is important for our children to know the Word of God. It takes parents who are willing to make the commitment to study the Word of God and then to teach it to their children. A child must learn to have a relationship with God through His Word. A family can never be right with God as long as the parents are not having a relationship with God through His Word.
The family is a divine creation. Genesis 1:27-28, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them; and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
The family was created before the church. The family is a unit. Certainly, the family affects the church. The family is a divine institution. Exodus 20:12 “Honor thy father and mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”
I want you to notice something very important here, “father and mother” is a unit. It is important to understand that there is fidelity in that unit.
The family is important in the eyes of God, especially a godly family, which is rare today. (See Ephesians 6:22-33.)
How far away have we gotten from a godly family today? How far are we away from what the Word of God says on this issue? Unfortunately, very far. It is like night and day. The church today has done a miserable job. Most pastors are under tremendous pressure today to compromise the Word of God for entertainment. Many do compromise because they are afraid they will lose people. Many Independent Baptist Church bulletins look like an airline flight and departure schedule. The less time we can give to the Bible the more the average Christian likes it. They believe that activities make them spiritual rather than a relationship with God through His Word. Many Pastors seek to find out what works to draw a crowd rather than what is right. You have homes that are running themselves to death thinking they are doing the work of God.
Many churches today have ungodly music to appeal to the flesh so they can get a crowd. They cancel services where the word of God should be preached so they can have a southern gospel sing. These people do not worship God, they worship music and activities. It is nothing more than idolatry. Then they wonder why their kids grow up to live wicked, immoral, ungodly lives and have no desire for spiritual things. Divorce is rampant and we have many people living after the lusts of the flesh right in the church ministry. 2 Timothy 4:3 warns that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” Folks, that time is now! You have people today running from church to church until they can hear it like they want it rather than what God really says. The way to build godly families is to have a good church that preaches the Word of God and stands for it. The parents who attend that church must desire the Word of God and take the time and have the commitment themselves to study the Word so they can teach the Word to their children.
I looked at some statistics for America. The numbers are alarming:
1. Divorces granted 1970–708,000, 1980–1,170,000 up 65%
2. Unmarried couples 1970–523,000, 1980–1,346,000 up 157%
3. Persons living alone 1970–10,851,000, 1980–17,202,000 up 58.5%
4. Children living with two parents 1970–58,926,000, 1980–48,295,000 down 18%
5. Children living with one parent 1970–8,230,000, 1980–11,528,000 up 40.1%
6. Families with both husband and wife working 1970–20,327,000, 1980–24,253,000 up 19.4%
These statistics reveal some serious problems that we are facing in the family, and these numbers were from a few years ago and are much worse now.
THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE HOME IS FATHERS NOT FULFILLING THEIR BIBLICAL ROLE OF LEADERSHIP IN THE HOME. This is the most important reason for unhappy families.
God says, worship is to be led by the father. “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgement; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Genesis 18:9).
Most fathers I know could care less. This is a wicked thing. There is more to being a father than just producing children. The lack of leadership by the father today in every area is the most important factor in the breakdown of the American home. I pray the Lord will give us more men like Joshua.
Joshua 24:14-15, “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.”
There has to be a consecration by dad. There is more to a marriage than just living together in a physical relationship.
Lack of godly male leadership brings about the disastrous consequences of rebellion, delinquency, and sexual promiscuity. Divorce is usually caused by a father not taking his Biblical responsibilities and is something God hates, (See Malachi 2:12-17. Matthew 19:5-6.)
The most important cause of divorce in America is the lack of proper, godly leadership by the father and husband. It is also the most frequent cause of children’s feelings of rejection, behavioral problems, and anxieties. Ephesians 6:1-4. Notice in verse 4, “And ye fathers provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The word “wrath” means a strong desire to avenge. How does a father provoke a child to wrath? By not bringing him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Nurture means training with structure. Most fathers have no desire for the Word of God and they are raising angry vengeful children because they are not committed to training their children in spiritual principles as God commands. Of course, they cannot train the child if they are ignorant of God’s principles themselves. That is a picture of the American father.
David Blankenhorn in his 1995 book, “Fatherless America,” says “the culture change from a stable, two parent home to the father’s abandonment of his responsibilities of marriage and parenting is America’s most urgent social problem. The father’s absence is the main reason for unhappy homes, many current social problems, and is a national crisis of our time.”
According to the National Fatherhood Institute, 40% of the children in the United States have not seen their father for a year! In the last 15 years “fatherless” children jumped from 10.2 million to 15.6 million. 70% of juveniles in detention centers and reformatories are children of fatherless homes. Statistics indicate that “violent criminals” are overwhelmingly males who grew up without a father’s leadership. This includes 60% of America’s rapists, 72% of adolescent murders, and 70% of long-term prison inmates. One out of every four high school seniors graduate functionally illiterate. It is more than a physical presence. There are many homes where a father is there, but that is all. They want all their needs fulfilled, but do not want to take the spiritual, godly, or normal leadership that God intended. Instead children grow up listening to their parents fight, cuss, yell, scream, spend money on all kinds of entertainment and material possessions trying to be happy.
The father’s failure to take responsibility and leadership in the home has created a valueless, unhappy, fractured home and society. This failure has had a devastating effect on our children and has spawned a multitude of wicked societal problems including delinquency, sexual promiscuity, drug use, and violence.
The family is in trouble in America because men fail to be the leaders God wants them to be. We desperately need to pray for the men of this country to do as God has commanded. The results of the men not obeying God have been disastrous. The great need is for men to repent of their sins, to really come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and then to be obedient to the commands of God from His Word. Men must be the leaders God desires them to be. May God help us to pray for the men of America.