How To Build Strong Family Relationships

Can two walk together, except they be agreed?  Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?  Amos 3:3-4, KJV


My son, Steve, is a rock climber, something that is much too much for me.  I’m like Sir Francis Chichester, who said, “I will lift mine eyes unto the hills but I will not take my carcass thither.”  Anyway, Steve and two of his friends were climbing the highest peak in Switzerland when they stopped to catch their breath and noticed three climbers on the face of an incline a short distance from where they were.  As they watched, the lead climber suddenly lost his footing and fell.

Climbers are joined to each other by a rope, and the way it’s supposed to work is that if one falls, the other is anchored by pitons to the face of the rock, and he stops his fall.  But that isn’t the way it worked.  The first one pulled the second one loose, and the two then pulled the third one loose, and the three of them tumbled over and over as they fell about 750 feet down the face of the snow and ice and landed in a heap below.

Steve, much too far away to be of immediate help, held his breath wondering if any of the three were alive.  But those three climbers who fell were lucky; they had landed in a pile of snow and were able to get up, dust the snow off and walk away.

You know, families are joined just that way ‑‑ they are all on the face of that mountain, joined by an invisible bond, and when one falls, everybody on that rope is affected.  Have you ever heard anyone say, “Well, it’s my life‑‑I can do with it whatever I please!”?  Don’t you believe it for a minute.  Everything that takes place in a family affects everybody else.

Exhibit A:  Here’s a man who is 40 years old.  He suffers from the 3 B’s ‑‑ balding, bulges and bifocals.  He is having a mid‑life crisis.  He’s got an assistant who’s a pretty blond, 27 years old and a divorcee who is lonely.  John just takes her to lunch ‑‑ nothing happens.  Just talk!  Before he ever touches her physically, he’s committed emotional infidelity.  He’s taken the intimacy which belongs to his wife and he’s given it to someone else.

Exhibit B:  A teen sacks groceries at the local supermarket and he’s been saving some money.  He wants to buy a car, but Dad says, “No way!  You save that for college.”  He says, “Dad doesn’t have any right to tell me what to do with my money.  I earned it!”  Hold on for a minute.  If that kid is driving a car and it plows through a freeway fence and smashes into three other cars, who do they come after?  Dad!  Right?

Everything that takes place in a family affects everybody else.  That’s why you’ve got to respect and protect the fragile relationships of family living.  We are all out there together on the face of that mountain called life, and when one thinks he can exert his independence and do his own thing, everyone is affected.  When one member of the family falls, we all go down together.

Have you ever asked yourself, “What is it that really binds us together?”  A legal document?  The fact that our last names are all the same?   Or is the bond an invisible one which we find is woven with the strands of love, commitment, compassion, and care?   Surely, it is all of that plus a great deal more.

Today’s commentary is not a moral homily or an attempt by the program director to fill time in between songs or the news and what follows; it is a direct reminder that relationships bring commitment and responsibility, and to remind you that your family is important.

Whether you are a dad, a teen‑ager, a wife, or a single parent, you are part of a family, and it’s the quality of the relationship in your family which determines the quality of family life.  Think about it.

Resource reading: Psalm 103