Double-Edged Sword: The Power of the Word - Malachi 4:6

He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.

Sadly today, we live in a fatherless society. Currently, just over 40 percent of American children are born out of wedlock. In the United Kingdom, it is a majority. This is easily one of the biggest social disasters our country faces. It's hard to imagine a lot of spiritual and economic blessings for a society that continually treads down this path. It's hard to believe that many of the economic and cultural problems that plague this country will be transformed if statistics like that remain unchanged.

The book of Malachi has a recurrent theme of unfaithfulness to God and the family. God takes seriously the commitment to the family and promises judgment against those that fail to keep his command. The Fall 2011 issue of Religion & Liberty includes David Deavel's review of From Family Collapse to America's Decline by Mitch Pearlstein. Pearlstein focuses on the 33 percent of children who are in one parent families. For many of these children, they face serious disadvantages not just socially but economically.

If we don't honor our family, God tells us that ultimately we can do no honor for Him. It may be controversial to say, but we see the consequences of this dishonor and trivial views about the family all around us in society today. It has negatively affected the social fabric of life and resulted in greater poverty, abortion, and massive government dependency. It is not the government's job and the government is not equipped to raise children. Most politicians would agree, but they have little power to affect change. Likewise, when government policies have a negative effect on family cohesion and stability, a toxic social mess ensues.

Unfortunately today, so many people are upset at their father in life it has had negative consequences for their relationship with their heavenly Father. God wants us to have healthy relationships that reflect His perfect glory in the Trinity. Here in this country, even if we have flourishing economic freedom but face substantial family breakdown, we have little to show for a rightly oriented freedom and a virtuous society. God calls us to reform our ways and take the family serious.

Many in the academy and even some in the popular culture tell us fathers are not essential. But we are enlightened by the Word of God and the truths on our heart. There is little doubt that fathers taking responsibility and ownership over the life and spiritual well being of their children would have a profound effect on this nation.