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Can reforming the family fix America’s broken soul?

DennisRaineyOutdoorsSUScreenCaptureI wrote a piece awhile back called, “America’s Number One Problem: our nation suffers from a sickness in it’s soul.” As I read that piece again, I find that the idea of reforming the family is more relevant today than it was then. I wish I could report that we’ve made great strides in the areas addressed. But, quite frankly, it’s worse.

When the dust settles and we examine a big issue like “restoring the soul of America,” it will never be a simple, one-dimensional solution. But, I do think that one of the most significant starting points in reforming the family is with the men in our country. If men stepped up and became the spiritual leaders in their homes and led their families as God intended, many of these social ills would be significantly diminished if not almost eliminated (leaving room for the fact that we live in a sinful world that won’t be perfected until the return of Jesus Christ).

That isn’t meant to heap loads of guilt on the collective heads of men but to remind us of our significance from God. We may not be able to change everything but we can change how we respond as men to the challenge before us. Here’s that piece.

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America’s Number One Problem

by Dennis Rainey

As a people, we are healthier, but not happier. We are drenched in knowledge, but parched for wisdom. The most prosperous nation the world has ever known suffers from a sickness in its soul.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the state of the family. The biblical values that built our great nation — once passed on from each generation to the next as a national treasure — are now dismissed. As a result, never before have we seen such deterioration in our homes:

  • Never before have so many children grown up in broken homes.
  • Never before have so many newly married couples come from homes split by divorce.
  • Never before have so many new parents begun the journey of being called “Mommy” or “Daddy” with such a fractured picture of family.
  • Never before has the definition of marriage been altered.
  • Never before have our prisons been so full of men who grew up in homes where their fathers were absent.
  • Never before has the Christian family been so secularized.
  • Never before has the marriage covenant been viewed with such contempt by a generation of young people.
  • Never before have parents been ridiculed for seeking to raise children with biblical values.
  • Never before has it been so culturally unfriendly to be a family with convictions, standards, and boundaries.
  • Never before have so many Christians laughed, shrugged their shoulders, or done nothing about adultery, divorce, and sin.
  • Never before have so many been so silent.
  • Never before has materialism been so flagrantly embraced over relationships.
  • Never before have we needed enduring models of how to live out a marriage covenant.
  • Never before has the family been in such need of a new legacy.

The spiritual reformation of America needs a focal point, a rallying cry. I believe this focal point is the family. The pivotal national issue today is not crime; neither is it welfare, health care, education, politics, the economy, the media, or the environment. The key issue today is the spiritual and moral condition of individual families.

Perhaps you, too, have lamented the degenerating state of our nation’s families. But like many, you have felt a sense of hopelessness that our culture is sliding downhill and there’s nothing you can do about it.

But you are wrong. You may not realize it, but you — and millions of ordinary people like you — are the key to reforming this country — by reforming the family.

I am convinced, as never before, that we need a spiritual reformation in this country. And that reformation must begin — can only begin — with individuals. With me. With you.

Nations are never changed until people are changed. The true hope for genuine change in the heart lies only in the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. Through Him, lives can be rebuilt. Through Him, families can be reformed. Through Him, society can be restored.

It’s time for this generation to make a stand for the family. I would like to challenge you to consider two things:

First, determine what type of legacy you want to pass on to your children. How will your children remember you? As a man or woman who was concerned with the things of this world, or someone who modeled a life-changing faith in Jesus Christ?

Second, determine to become part of a generation that makes a dramatic commitment to rebuild the family. The time has come for this generation to draw a line in the sand that will not be crossed, to build a wall around the family that will not be breached.

My prayer is that God will work in your heart and give you the courage and strength to leave a true, lasting legacy in your home and in our nation

**Note of interest: This is an interesting article reflecting the same sentiment about the breakdown of the family and it’s affect on a nation…Britain … in 2009.

© 2012 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

STEPSeek - 10-point checklistYou just finished reading “Can reforming the family fix America’s broken soul?” by Dennis Rainey

STEPThink - 10-point checklistWhat kind of legacy did you inherit from your parents and grandparents? What kind of legacy are you leaving your kids?

STEPEmbrace - 10-point checklistDennis Rainey shares gives hands-on help in “25 Ways to Spiritually Lead Your Family,” from FamilyLife.com

STEPPass - 10-point checklistBill Bennett talks about “Raising the Next Generation” on the FamilyLife Today radio broadcast

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3 Comments

  1. Steve Mank's Gravatar Steve Mank
    August 30, 2012    

    Dennis, your article is spot on. My heart is burdened for men and their abdication of their leadership roles in their own families. I was right there…for 26 years! I cared more about how much money I made than whether my family and marriage would survive. Then God spoke to me and captured my heart and my life and gave my sweet wife the ability to forgive me. He has more than restored the years the locusts have eaten! The last two years of my marriage have been far and away the best of all 28! I too am convinced that only by turning the hearts of men to God and His will can our nation be restored. Now God has given me a burden to minister to other men and show them how God can restore their marriage and family…no matter how broken it is. Please let me know how I might be of service to that end. God bless.

  2. Brad's Gravatar Brad
    September 18, 2012    

    I feel like I am a broken father and husband…I go to sleep every night fearing that I have failed my children…my wife no longer lives with us and I don’t know how god can restore my broken family and marriage…I feel it’s all lost. I keep my head up and the emotional pain hidden out of my children’s sight. We’re a young couple (26 & 23). I love my children so much, god gave me such amazing beautiful children. I just hurt so bad… Could anyone help me please? I’m so lost and trying to climb out of the dark.

    • MenSteppingUp's Gravatar MenSteppingUp
      September 24, 2012    

      Hello Brad,
      What pain, sorrow, and heartache you must be feeling. As men we want very much to have our family headed in the right direction and you have deep concern for the direction of your marriage. The good news is that, even in the midst of the storm, there is hope. I would encourage you to visit our website and connect with an eMentor who can help walk with you through the challenges you are facing. Just click on this link, fill out the short memo box explaining your situation, and someone who is trained to help you handle this life issue will connect with you shortly. May the God of all comfort, bring you comfort and hope this day. Amen.

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