We’ve all seen families struggle with the imperfections of the individual members in many different ways. We’re all born into families and many of us have started our own families and we all know that we’re not perfect ourselves either. We’re all sinners, as mentioned yesterday, and as sinners we need to learn how to relate to each other in healthy ways that stimulate us to love and good works. Thankfully, most of the families I know work hard at managing their struggles and face the weaknesses of the various members with courage and confidence and learn how to work things out together. However, I’ve also seen numerous families that have struggled desperately with many sinful habits that have eaten away at the health and happiness of their families in many ways.

I’ve seen married couples who have adapted to a situation of spousal abuse. It’s not unusual for the strong personality of one party to abuse and take control of the relationship to such a degree that it crushes the life out of the other party. Different personality types in a marriage must be recognized and care must be taken by each party not to be a door mat, or to ever treat another as a door mat in word or deed. Substance abuse has been another major problem in families. Various forms of alcoholism and drug abuse will eat away at the health of any relationship if not dealt with quickly. Mental illness can also cause incredible stress on relationships in the family. Depression as well as anti-social behavior of any kind can negatively impact a family. I’ve seen obsessive compulsive disorders destroy families. I’ve seen bi-polar personalities stretch the patience of their partners to the breaking point. There are many other issues that will eat away at the family; gambling addictions, workaholic behavior, materialism, and many, many other sinful behaviors have destroyed marriages and families.

One of the most devastating diseases in our society today is sexual addictions. A specialist on the home and the family writes, “Sexual addiction has always been with us but has become more pervasive in its impact on the family. Those of us who would never have considered wandering into the red-light district of sleazy porno shops and massage parlors cannot peruse even the non-pay TV channels of a typical hotel room today without confronting highly erotic, soft-core pornography. The neighborhood video store makes available every kind of voyeuristic opportunity to those of all age levels. The typical Hollywood film cannot succeed without implicit and most often explicit activity that encourages our societal preoccupation with distorted sexuality. And the Internet brings every kind of pornography imaginable—and some unimaginable—directly into our family.” Christians must always focus on “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).