Home christian living Unhealthy Family, Unhealthy Church

Unhealthy Family, Unhealthy Church

by Kelly Crawford

I love how being a mother so perfectly (and so painfully) allows me to see God’s purpose for the body of Christ.  Belonging to a family and being fully engaged in that family provides a clear picture of how the body of Christ is supposed to function.  And to the extent we are shaped to live properly in this family, we are equipped to live properly among the Church.

“Shaped to live properly in this family” = HARD WORK.  Crucifying flesh is a basic theme in Scripture.  Where do you think that happens?

The more I ponder it, the more I can see why the body of Christ does not function as it ought.  Given the statements I just made, its antithesis is also true.  And because we aren’t being fully engaged in our families or learning to live properly among its members, the family is broken.  When the family is broken the church is broken.

And when I say “broken family” our thoughts default to divorced and single-parents homes.  But by “broken” I mean something as simple as children not taught to defer to each other because they are too busy or not together enough or the parents too distracted.  Broken is a child who doesn’t honor his parents.  Broken is a husband and wife not on the same team.  Broken is a rejection of  “more members”.  Broken is a segregated family.

How can there be unity among the body of Christ if there isn’t unity in the home?  How can we be “members fitly joined together” when we are disjointed in our homes?  How can we yearn for a bigger church and spurn a bigger family?  How can we show the world the faithfulness of Christ to His bride and the love of a Parent-God if we can’t show it from our homes?

It starts here.  Here is where we learn to grow together and forgive each other and nurture our relationships.  We honor one another here or we can’t honor elsewhere.  We learn to serve each other here or we can’t really serve anywhere else.  Husband to wife, parents to children, sibling to sibling–this is our starting place.  If we miss it here, if the body is dislocated here, what hope is there that it will fit rightly in the Church?

I’m exasperated of seeing churches pull its members apart in every direction and then expect the church to be healthy!  “Go and make disciples”? First we must “stay” and make them.

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Bethany Hudson May 10, 2010 - 11:15 pm

Amen! Preach it, Kelly!

Jasmine May 11, 2010 - 7:12 am

Love it. 😀 Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite authors, Richard Baxter:

“You are not like to see any general reformation, till you procure family reformation. Some little religion there may be, here and there; but while it is confined to single persons, and is not promoted in families, it will not prosper, nor promise much future increase.”

Very true.

Deanna May 11, 2010 - 7:17 am

This is so true!

I am glad that I am not the only one who gets passionate about these things!

Heather May 11, 2010 - 7:19 am

BINGO!!! You are right on track! Keeping a family together, not broken, requires deliberate swimming UP stream in our modern world. The picture you chose to use is perfect. Even in our own family, we are trying our hardest to swim upstream, we struggle with areas. Denying flesh just gets old and we all have moments of pure selfishness. Great reminder.

Amanda May 11, 2010 - 7:53 am

Dead on sister!!

Luci May 11, 2010 - 8:23 am

Uh oh – Kelly, I’m attempting to post a comment, and it’s not going through. 🙁

Stephanie.Nicole May 11, 2010 - 8:25 am

Wow–I have seen soooo many families (and my own family has been like this as well, so we’re guilty too!) who look just like this picture. Just like it. My husband and I are determined our family won’t be fractured like this, as our families of origin were (and continue to be), but it’s going to take a lot of hard work and a lot more of God’s grace to achieve that goal. Thank you for posting!

Luci McLeod May 11, 2010 - 8:25 am

I completely agree. Thank you for this excellent post. The family is the model for larger social groups – especially for churches! And the family’s dependence on God is so important. I was reminded of this quotation from J. R. Miller’s Homemaking:

“Every home in this world is exposed to a thousand dangers. Enemies seek to destroy it, to desecrate its holy beauty, and to carry away its sacred treasures. The very institution itself is assailed by the apostles of infidelity and licentiousness. Countless social influences tend to disintegrate the home, to rob it of its sanctity, to break down its sacred barriers, and to sully its purity. Nothing but the cross of Christ will save it. … We need religion in our homes to help us to do each his own part faithfully.”


Kelly L May 11, 2010 - 10:21 am

Beautifully put!

Kate Scott May 11, 2010 - 10:48 am

Broken Family not only equals broken church, but broken government and broken society.

Catherine R. May 11, 2010 - 11:59 am

“I’m exasperated of seeing churches pull its members apart in every direction and then expect the church to be healthy! “Go and make disciples”? First we must “stay” and make them.”

I am definitely seeing this at churches. In some ways it seems easier for people to deal with focusing on missions while ignoring the mission field in their home. Why *is* that?

By the way, that image is quite the accurate portrayal of the average family these days, everyone in their own isolated “happy place”.

Kim M May 11, 2010 - 12:33 pm

So… so true. The picture is really the picture of the modern American family… and yes… even in the church.

Jennie May 11, 2010 - 1:12 pm

I love this, Kelly — and the illustration you posted is oh,so sadly apt. May God help us to connect, connect, connect with each other in the family and make that our priority each day. It is hard work; it is a daily dying. But it is also life, and health, and peace when we die to self and live for Christ. Keep teachin’ it!

Sandy May 11, 2010 - 6:25 pm

“Broken is a rejection of ‘more members’.” If marriage between a husband and wife is to show the world Christ and the Church, then what does it say to the world when we, as married couples, decide we only want a certain number of children? That the Church only has room for a certain number of members? Or a certain kind of member? Would Christ ever say that the Church is full? No more money, time, etc. for new members? I am NOT condemning couples who have made permanent decisions about family size. We are all in different places for different reasons and it is not my intention to start a debate or to judge anyone. But, I had honestly never thought about it that way before.

Mrs. Lady Sofia May 11, 2010 - 6:57 pm

The picture that you selected for this post speaks volumes about the unfortunate state of where most families are today. I’ve seen this picture repeated with real life families as well, and it’s quite sad. My husband and I are far from perfect, but we are continuously striving to work together to make sure that we are “playing on the same team.”

Thank you for sharing this excellent post with us.

~Mrs. Lady Sofia~

Word Warrior May 11, 2010 - 7:04 pm


You would really like the post I wrote called “The Church That Turns Visitors Away”.

mrs. imperfect May 11, 2010 - 8:24 pm

Well said. Truly, the home as “domestic church” is a blessing which is not appreciated!

We are given families to love, to serve, and to faithfully provide for on a daily basis – perfect preparation for serving, loving, and providing for the wider community!

Melodie July 1, 2010 - 7:06 am

I love this post! Praise God that my family realized our blunders and began following Christ when we did. We were once “broken” but are currently on the mend and hope to grow more Christ like and find a church that does the same! = )

Love your blog!

Religion can be an evil to the family « South of the Fork October 14, 2010 - 6:45 am

[…] what God wants from us to our worship instead. She also spoke about the same this past Spring here. As always, she is far more gentle, caring, and eloquent than I can ever be. As the weekend nears, […]


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