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Lesson Note

Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: The Family As An Institution of God(Colossians 3:18 – 22)
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
1. Identify the two types of family,
2. State the rights and duties of family members,
3. Identify the values found in family relationships,
4. Discuss the consequences of failure of family members to perform their duties as:

Lesson Summary / Discussion:

Family unit is the smallest unit of the larger social society. It consists of the father, the mother and the children. It may include members of the extended family which are uncles, cousins, grandparents, nieces, etc. Traditionally, father is the head of the family. He has the final authority within his family. The man’s decision has far-reaching consequences in determining the peace, unity and progress of the family. For this reason, the man and his wife must maintain discipline to be able to take good decisions because the family units which make up the larger society from the basis of government and the first training period ground for both spiritual and moral education.
A healthy and united family would definitely produce healthy and discipline people that will make up a nation. Broken homes (families) produce immoral children that end up as criminals, the whole nation is affected by their criminal activities. A healthy family can only be produced by healthy family units within the society.
Healthy family units can only be built where the individuals that make up the units know their duties and responsibilities and perform them faithfully. For this reason, Paul, in his epistle to the Colossians, outlined the duties and the responsibilities of every member of the family and called upon them to perform their duties creditably to ensure the peace and unity of the different families.

Types Of Family

There are two types of families, a nuclear family and the extended family. A nuclear family is a simple family made up of parents (father and mother) and their children. A nuclear family is monogamous when it consists of a man, his wife and children. It is polygamous when it consists of a man, his wives and children.
The extended family is one which consist of the father, mother and children, as well as some other relatives such as uncles, cousins, grandparents and aunts living together in one house or compound. This is often referred to as communal living. Members of this family usually depend on the father and mother for everything which is needed. It consists of both near and far related family members who are all living in the same house or compound.

St. Paul’s Teaching on the Family (Colossians 3:18 – 22)

Love and obedience are the only strong forces that can bring unity in a family. For this reason, Paul, in his epistle to the Colossians, called on wives to be subject to their husbands as it is fitting in the Lord and husbands to love their wives and not to be harsh on them. Children should honour and regard their parents in everything, for this pleases God. Fathers should not provoke their children, lest they become discouraged. He equally advised slaves to obey their earthly masters in everything, not with eye-service as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord.

Family Units as an Institution of God

Family units are institutions set up by God Himself. St. Paul, in his epistle, expressed what God has in mind for the Christians. If people obey the rules laid down by St. Paul in running their families, they would not have broken homes as it is often the case today. If wives cooperate with their husbands, honour them and respect them while husbands on their part love their wives, care for them, be patient with them and faithful, then there would be no case of fighting between husband and wife. If children respect their parents, honour them, cooperate with them and respect members of the extended family, there would definitely be love and peace in the family. Paul further said parents should not provoke their children. It follows that parents must treat their children with love and must not send them to do obnoxious things that might lead to corruption and evil actions.

Deviation from the Teaching

Many families today have deviated from this laid down standard in Paul’s epistle. Many parents are very harsh with their children, thereby provoking them to wrath. They ask them to tell lies on their behalf. Parents encourage their children in corrupt practices such as examination malpractices, illegal admission to schools, etc all these are actions which are contrary to the will of God for the upbringing of children.
Many wives today do not have regard for their husbands, while some husbands on their part do not show love to their wives; instead, they prefer spending their money and time on other women outside. All these are against the will of God. Some children today are very lazy. They do not want to help their parents; they quarrel with their parents and abuse them.
The net result of all these disorderliness in homes is divorce, while children from such broken homes end up as vagabonds and criminals in the society. In view of this, Christians are enjoined to maintain peaceful home in order to bring up disciplined children.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
1. Discuss Paul’s teaching on the ideal family.
2. Mention three areas in which many families have deviated from this teaching.
3. What advice did Paul give in his epistle to the Colossians about family life?
4. In what ways can the family be firmly established?
5. State the main features of Paul’s counsel to wives and husbands in their relationship.
6. List any three consequences of instability in the family.

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