Before delving into the details of this dross, it is imperative that we know that the families are the small-small units that make up the Church. If these small units are healthy, the entire Church is healthy. If on the other hand they are sick, the entire Church is sick.
Now, the Lord is intimating that there is a very scaring dross in the form of absence of standard Christian family life in the Church, the size of which is very large. Now that this has been said, all the families in the Church ought to check themselves with the following characteristics of a standard Christian family.
In a standard Christian family life, the following are prevalent:
*The husband loves his wife continually and will not allow anything whatsoever to cause him disaffection for, or lack of interest in her ( Eph. 5:25; Col. 3:19 ). The same rule goes for the wife toward her husband, hence honouring and being submissive to him, as the Church is to Christ Jesus ( Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18).
*The husband’s parents or relatives are not preferred to the wife, either by action, inaction or words; neither are the children preferred to their mother. Similarly, the wife’s parents or relatives are not preferred to the husband, either by action, inaction or words; neither are the children preferred to their father.
*The parents love their children, hence they pray for them; provide for their secular education; their needs, guiding them into the knowledge and service of the Lord (Col. 3:21; 4:2. Eph. 6:4. Prov. 22:6).
*In a standard Christian family life, there is no secret account operated by either husband or wife; no secret expenditures. There are no selfish manouvres whereby the man is only seeking the welfare and pleasure of his parents/relatives, without caring about his wife’s concerns. The same rule applies to the wife and is kept by her too.
Besides, while parents should be requited for their care (I Tim. 5:4), and relatives helped if they are able, these are not allowed to intrude into the affairs of the marriage and family to cause disaffection or breakage, seeing the man and the woman have ‘left’ father and mother to cleave to each other as one flesh (Gen. 2:24. Matt. 19:4-6).
*Apart from the foregoing, in a standard Christian family life, children should love and honour their parents, seek their pleasure, pray for them and help them in anyway they are able (Eph. 6:1-2. I Tim. 5:4. Col. 3:20). The children should also love one another, not preferring one to the other and avoiding everything that makes for disaffection or hatred. On their part, parents do not prefer one child to the other (cp. Gen. 25:27-28; 37:3-4).
*A standard Christian family prays together, eats together and shares together.
*The rule at work in a standard Christian family is the rule of love and forgiveness, seeing they are humans. Remember, the above is not exhaustive.