By Samuel Oyejola
The nucleus of the society is the family. How a society looks is determined by what shape or form the family unit takes. For the society to be peaceful, the family unit must be a peaceful one. For the society to be devoid of all anti-social vices, the society must be filled with discipline made possible by strict parenting which would result in well-disciplined and obedient children. Therefore, the summary of it all is that the society is a reflection of what the family is like.
How can the society, being the larger entity, depend on the family instead of the reverse? The reality of the fact is that for the society to have influence on the family unit, the component units making up the family must align in one ideology, agree with one voice on what the convention must be. To therefore have a lovely society, there must be a family that shares love and lives in deep and genuine love. Genuine love in this context means taking and sharing responsibility.
As a matter of fact, the husband who is the head of the family (Eph. 5:23), is expected to lead by example. You cannot be the head and allow your younger ones to dictate how to manage and lead the home front. A misstep in the family front is a dangerous threat to the society.
In 1 Samuel 2:12-36, the family unit of the spiritual head of a whole nation, Israel, was troubled. Eli was unable to control his children and by extension, it affected the public perception of Eli and more importantly, their relationship with God was strained.
God is very much interested in what the society looks like. He is even more interested in the family circle. He does not take lightly anything that has to do with the family and the society. He takes critical interest in authority hence when He was giving the Ten Commandments to Moses as a guide for the children of Israel, He ensured that the family unit is factored into the commandments: “Honour your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you,” Exodus 20:12.
God is neither a creator of disorderliness nor an author of confusion. He expects that the society should be in strata and order. The young should accord maximum respect and regard to the old while the old, in reciprocity, should show love and understanding to the energetic young ones. A society that follows this simple divine arrangement would see social chaos as alien.
For the church of God, it is a divine responsibility to be the light of the world. The church should be a reflection of what the world is expected to look like. In today’s world where there are rumours of war, hunger, pandemic and epidemic of diverse kinds, where men have become self-centred and gross lovers of themselves with less care for sustainability of the environment, the church that is supposed to be the pathfinder to the original template of God’s intention for mankind and His relationship to the world around him, unfortunately, is living less than the standard expected of it. While the world is ravaged by all manners of immoral acts, the church is also not insulated from such. The Catholic Church, has over the years been tainted by allegations and revelations of child molestation by priests. To make matters worse, the church itself had covered the issue up.
In the church of God at large, there are also widespread corruption, evil machinations, deadly politics over leadership and other untoward acts that are not corresponding with the image of the church. It would be impossible for the church to play its role as a light to the world if it allows worldly acts.
In Philippians 1:18-30, Apostle Paul exhorts on what is expected of the church. The church by all means must preach the gospel to the world. But the challenge of preaching the gospel of salvation to a world that has corrupted the church is one thing that must first of all be surmounted. For the church to therefore preach to the world, it must first of all preach to itself, purge itself of all ungodliness, become a living and an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord, before it can go out to win souls and draw more souls away from the path of destruction.