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Lesson 2: God's Word on Family Living *

Introduction: Have you noticed how important "people skills" are to having a good life? It is easy to tell the people who just radiate personality, who seem to get along with everyone. Some call the ability to get along well with others, the ability to say just the right thing, "emotional intelligence." When I was growing, up my brother taught me a great deal about having an attractive personality and being a good leader. Emotional intelligence is very important for marriage, and it is important for raising children. The Bible not only gives us the basic principles for the family, it also has a great deal to teach us about family emotional intelligence. Let's jump right into our study!

  1. The Basics

    1. Read Exodus 20:17. What does it mean to "covet" your neighbor's wife? (To wish that she were yours. Recently, I read a survey summary which said that more than half of the men surveyed had thought of having sex with their neighbor's wife.)

      1. Would this command also apply to wives? (Yes.)

      2. What is the problem with a little daydreaming? A little wishful thinking? (It feeds dissatisfaction with your own spouse. Dwelling on such thoughts leads to committing adultery - which is prohibited in Exodus 20:14.)

      3. Would the command against coveting apply to areas other than sex? Would it be wrong for a wife to wish that her husband made more money, attended church, dressed better, etc., just like her neighbor's husband? ( Exodus 20:17 forbids coveting "anything that belongs to your neighbor." The prohibition is very broad.)

    2. Read Exodus 20:12. Why would God want children to honor their parents? (Just like the issue of coveting, this is a matter of the right attitude. If you honor your parents, you will obey them and get along with them.)

    3. If children grow up honoring their parents, will they also tend to honor their spouse? (I think there is a link. Sin begins in the mind with our attitudes. If we have an attitude that our spouse is "second class," we are on the road that leads to adultery. If we have the attitude that our parents are idiots, we are far down the road to disobedience. Having a positive attitude towards our parents before we are married helps us to have a positive attitude towards our spouse.)

    4. Read Ephesians 5:28. What destructive attitude does this text address? (Selfishness. A husband who covets his neighbor's wife is selfish. A child who wants to do his own will instead of following the wisdom of his parents, is selfish. Selfishness is behind every sin. Ephesians explains there is a sinless way to promote self. The true way to promoting self is to love your wife. If you really want to promote self, treat your wife as you would treat your own body. Whatever you would like to have your wife do for you, do that for her. If that does not sound familiar read Matthew 7:12 and Romans 13:9.)

  2. Beyond Basics

    1. In college they often have the "beginners" and "advanced" courses on a subject. The Ten Commandments cover the basics on family relationships. We find in the book of Proverbs some advanced and specific discussion about enhancing our emotional intelligence in dealing with our family.

    2. Family fights: Read Proverbs 20:3 and Proverbs 29:11. What "good marriage" counsel do we find here about how to avoid fights? (A wise spouse/parent seeks to avoid strife if possible. Controlling anger shows wisdom.)

      1. Read Proverbs 15:1. In what way can our words discourage quarreling?

    3. Money issues: Read Proverbs 17:1 and Proverbs 15:16-17. As I understand it, disputes over money are the number one cause of divorce. What does the Bible say about the importance of money to happiness?

      1. How many family decisions are made based on considerations of money?

        1. What about the decision for one spouse to stay home and raise the children?

        2. What about the decision of one spouse to work longer hours "for the family?"

    4. Depression: Read Proverbs 25:20. What approach is best when your spouse is sad?

    5. Godly home: Read Proverbs 14:26. How is fearing the Lord a refuge for our children? (When we have the right relationship with God, we have a fortress against the world. This fortress extends to help protect our children.)

      1. In what way are our children protected? (They learn about trust in God. There is a strong theme in the Old Testament about God showing kindness to the children of those who fear Him. See Deuteronomy 5:9-10.)

    6. Affirmation: Read Proverbs 3:27. Can you remember situations in which you should have said something positive to your children or your spouse, but you did not? What does this text suggest about that?

      1. When I was growing up, I had a close friend whose father treated him in an odd way. The father would say uncomplimentary things about his son, and then turn around and say complimentary things to me. For reasons I do not understand, He was withholding from his son the "good" which the son deserved.

      2. When it comes to dealing with our spouse, are actions more important than words? (Read Proverbs 12:14. The Bible suggests that actions and words are equally important.)

      3. Read Proverbs 12:18. How important is it to be careful what we say to our spouse?

      4. Read Proverbs 12:25 and Proverbs 16:24. What opportunity exists in our words?

        1. What effect can our words have on the health of our spouse?

    7. Cheerfulness: Read Proverbs 15:30. In addition to words and actions, what other way can we be a blessing to our family? (A cheerful look. Having a positive attitude.)

    8. Seeking advice: Sometimes we just do not know what to do to handle a family problem. Would it be wise to read family advice books or seek counsel from others? Let's look at some texts on this subject:

      1. Read Proverbs 15:22 and Proverbs 13:10. What does this suggest about those who do not take advice?

      2. Read Proverbs 14:7 and Proverbs 12:5. From whom should we seek advice?

      3. Read Proverbs 25:12. Should we be open to advice that we are the source of the family problem?

      4. Read Proverbs 17:9. What word of caution do we find in seeking advice about family problems? (Seeking advice is not the same as blabbing to everyone you know about the failures of your spouse (or children). There is a fine line here which we need to keep in mind.)

    9. When we see others who have family problems, should we offer our unsolicited advice to them? The Bible calls the proud and arrogant person by the name "mocker." (See Proverbs 21:24). What does the Bible suggest about giving advice to proud and arrogant people? (Read Proverbs 9:7-8.)

    10. Friend, the Bible has important instructions for improving your emotional intelligence when dealing with your family. Will you determine to follow God's advice?

  3. Next week: Restoration.
* Copr. 2006, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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