Session 3: Why My Family is MY Family

By the end of this session participants should be able to . . .

  • define their family as the group of people with whom God has chosen them to be most closely connected
  • discuss how their relationship with their family can affect their relationship with God
  • discuss God’s commandment to honor our mothers and fathers in the light of Luke 14:26.

Useful Resources and Texts:

  • Can I Make a Difference? by Al Rosi Paulist Press
  • Family Life: Christian Family in Today’s World, Education and Community Life Ministries, Christian Living Series, Orthodox Church in America: Syosset, NY, 1997.
  • Exodus 20:12
  • Luke 14:26; 18:20

Introduction - Today’s Show: The Perfect Family

Say, “We’ve talked about our relationships with God and ourselves. Today we’re going to discuss our families. We are going to stage a talk show. The topic is the perfect family.” Divide the group up into groups of 4 or 5. Each group is a family and will present to the “audience” why they have the perfect family. You may wish to tell participants that they can refer to family members who “could not be here today.”

As each group presents their “family” write down on a visible surface the values and behaviors that they are presenting as “perfect.”

Discussion - I Didn’t Choose to Have This Family! That’s Right, God Did!

When all groups are done say, “While we all have ideas about what the perfect family is supposed to be like, all of our families are a little less than perfect. But, what if I told you that God has given each of us the “perfect family for us?” What do you think I might mean by that? [Since God knows us better than anyone, there must be a reason why He gave us our family. We might not understand why, but each of us must need to be with the people who are in our family.]

Discuss the following questions:

  • What are some things that we can learn from being in our family? [Patience, Love, to Trust is God, Our Relationships with people are important, etc..]
  • How do you think God would respond to the statement, “Sometimes we feel that our family has messed up our lives; that because of them we can’t do what we want to, or what we know we should do.” [“I have given you the ability to choose between what is good and evil. Do you trust Me that I will be there to help you?”]Clarify to participants that while some parents are abusive, God does not want us to be abused.
  • In what ways do you think your relationship with your family could affect your relationship with God? [If a person has an abusive father, it might be hard to think of God as the loving Father, etc..]
  • How might your relationship with your parents affect the ethical choices you make from day to day. [If I’m made at my parents and want to hurt them, I might do unhealthy and illegal things that I know would make them angry.]

Discussion on Exodus 20 and Luke 14:26; 18:16-29

Have participants read each of the citations. Say, “The fifth of the Ten Commandments is ‘to honor your mother and father,” but Jesus in the Gospel of Luke says, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters - yes even his own life - he cannot be my disciple.’ Jesus is not rejecting the fifth commandment, He talks about it two chapters later.” Read Luke 18:16-19.

  • What do you think Jesus meant?[We should not let anything get in the way of our relationship with God, even someone as close to us as our parents. ]
  • God only gave ten commandments. When you think of all the other things He could have commanded, why do you think He told us to honor our mothers and fathers? [Because they are the unique people in the whole world who God chose to have us.]

Journal Reflection

  • Write a story about your family using 9 of the 18 words listed. You may use any form of the words listed (past, future, noun, verb, adjective, singular, plural, etc.).

    Intimate; Cooperation; Love; Need; Depend; Patient; Value; Ingredient; Protect; Intimidate; Relationship; Trust; Competition; Interact; Hope; React; Respond; Communicate

  • Nothing happens in our life without God allowing it. Even our family has been given to us for a very special reason: to help us grow closer to Him and prepare us for our lives.
  • In what ways do you think your family could be doing this?

Session Conclusion

One of the things we believe about God is that He always gives us what we need. Whether we understand it or not, God has given us our family because He knows that they are the group of people we need to be the most closely connected to. Sometimes our families cause us great joy. Sometimes they cause us great pain. They are, however, always challenging us, whether they know it or not, to learn about true love, and to live the life that God has called us to.