Attend any church small group and you’ll notice how prayer requests revolve around family life — sleeplessness of parents with young children, a young son struggling in school, a working professional caring for an aging parent, the failing health of a spouse, a sister who has left the faith. Families are central to our lives. The strength of families has the power to uplift us; the brokenness of families can be debilitating.
Families are central to God’s vision for human beings and human society (Genesis 1:27–28, 2:23–25). Today we see many families under stress. As many authors in this magazine issue note, the reversal of Roe v. Wade reminded us of the fragility of family life. Many women considering abortions do not have support from family in place. Many others do not believe they can make a healthy family life possible for their unborn child. Part of making abortion unthinkable, as Doug Clay writes in his article, is to support women and men in unplanned parenting.
Families have the power to provide love, connectedness and rootedness that empower children to become productive and emotionally healthy adults. Whether married or single, it is in families that we learn mutual responsibility and live together with our commonness and distinctions. In families we learn the give-and-take of living together, love and trust, justice and mercy, and denying ourselves for the well-being of others. The worth of the family is incalculable.
If we, as Christians, truly value the family, we should throw out all the stops to care for them, support them and encourage healthy family life. When parents are not stressed by challenges to put food on the table, they are able to engage more fully with their children. When workplaces provide paid family leave, adult children are able to care for their aging parents. When churches double down efforts to show the gospel in word and deed, relationships can be redeemed and families can be restored.