January 1, 2008
by Charles R. Swindoll
Disintegrating families fail to respond quickly and thoroughly to the warnings of others. Listen to their teachers. They may seem biased against your child, but they rarely are. Take the early warnings seriously, and get involved soon. Listen to your pastor or your youth leader. Listen to the uniformed officer with a badge who rings your doorbell.
Don't be so quick to jump to your child's defense. Take time to hear the report in full. Ask direct, hard questions to be sure you have the whole picture. Then take time to reflect on what you have heard. If it resonates, causing you to think that it might be accurate, then dig deeper and go to whatever measure is necessary to make certain you have it resolved.
Disintegrating families rationalize wrong behavior, and thereby become part of the problem. Eli participated in his sons' behavior. We know this because Eli got fat on the food his boys had stolen from the altar.
As for Samuel, the boy who heard God's voice, the closing words of this episode tell us that the sleepy, spiritual indifference that had lulled Israel into complacency was about to come to a screeching halt. A man of action was on the scene, and Israel's spiritual drift was about to end. Even as a little boy, he not only heard the Lord, but he obeyed His voice.
As you ponder all of this, especially as you evaluate the condition of your family, remember that hearing the truth isn't enough. Action is the ticket. Only on the rarest occasions does the Lord bless someone for merely listening to Him. Faith is an action. That means His blessings almost always lie on the other side of obedience. According to Scripture, knowledge alone merely puffs up, but with action comes humility (1 Corinthians 8:1). Besides, problems like those of Eli do not solve themselves. They multiply and intensify with the slow and silent passing of time.
If you have reached the conclusion that your family is in danger, choose to do something rather than nothing. Refuse to be like Eli. In the end, after achieving public success in ministry, God considered Eli a failure at home... and judged him for it.
Don't go there.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.