Families are all so different, aren’t they? Big families, small families, close families, estranged families…now more than ever before our family relationships in the UK (and the wider world) are being changed and challenged because of Covid restrictions and lockdowns.

For some people this means rarely seeing family members that they usually love spending time with, and for others pressure is put on relationships when families are locked in together for prolonged periods when they’d normally rely on having time apart.

The bible is full of examples of different families and relationships during good times and bad; some provide excellent examples for us to follow, and some are less wholesome and are there to provide a warning to us.

Fathers, or father figures, are often central to family life, and are sometimes heard described as protectors, providers, heroes, and friends. They may take responsibility for discipline and scold when rules are broken, but also shine with pride when their children succeed. Colossians 3 v 21 advises that fathers shouldn’t provoke their children in case they become discouraged. Are we careful in our lives not to do things that aggravate others?

Mothers, or mother figures, are sometimes seen as superheroes – there through thick and thin no matter what. She may often question if she’s doing the right thing, but in a loving family she is a teacher, carer and hard worker who is kind, selfless and encouraging. Proverbs 31 v 26 talks about a virtuous woman as someone who

“opens her mouth with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue”.

She watches over her house and

“doesn’t eat the bread of idleness”.

It’s certainly a helpful reminder to all of us to use kindness when we help others.

Life is certainly easier when there are two working together to face daily challenges, and husbands and wives don’t always have to see eye to eye, but need to be committed to finding a way forwards together. Ephesians 5 v 25 explains that husbands should love their wives as much as Jesus loved the believers, and should care for their wives as much as they care for their own bodies. Do we show others as much care as we afford ourselves?

Sons and daughters are central to many families. In the bible we learn how Jesus, as God’s son, was the most perfect example of a child, and Matthew 3 v 17 tells us that God viewed Jesus as ‘beloved son in whom He was well pleased’. Galatians 3 v 26 tells us

“in Christ Jesus, you are all sons (or daughters) of God through faith”,

so it is important that we all listen to God’s instruction as in Proverbs 1 v 8 and do our best to follow Jesus’ example by demonstrating our faith so that our Heavenly Father can be proud of us.

In the bible, just as in life today, there are brothers and sisters that are close, and others that don’t get along. Siblings who can work together can be a great source of strength. The word ‘Christadelphian’ means brothers (and sisters) in Christ, and in the bible brothers and sisters represent the members of the faith. We need to support one another – 1 John 4 v 21 tells us

‘whoever loves God must also love his brother’,

but must also be prepared to point out their faults in a loving way (Luke 17 v 3). Is there anyone you can help today in the way a brother or sister would provide help?

Whatever role you play in your family – a mother, father, son or daughter, brother or sister, grandparent or grandchild, aunt or uncle, or if you provide support to someone from another family, let us always try to remember to do things in a way that helps others and improves their lives, even if only in a small way each time we have contact with them.