Family Ties

by John Fischer

Remember the famous 1980s sitcom that launched the career of Michael J. Fox? Family Ties became one of the most popular family shows in American television in the tradition of Ozzie and Harriett, Leave It to Beaver, Donna Reed, and Father Knows Best.

Then shows like Married with Children and Rosanne introduced the dysfunctional family to television with unabashed bravado, bringing large doses of reality and yet still with the capacity to touch us with charm. Love manages to break through now and then.

Those old enough to remember may feel nostalgic about the happy families of bygone television days, but in truth, those families were sorely idealized, even by the standards of their day. It was all about appearances then. Were families any less dysfunctional in the ’50s and ’60s? I think not. It’s more a factor of how much truth society will accept at any given time.

But regardless of whether it is Homer and Marge Simpson or Ozzie and Harriett Nelson, what touched us about these shows was the commitment. It’s all about commitment. In spite of how bad it might get, no one’s leaving. If the ties are strong, we can put up with almost anything (with the obvious exception of abuse).

The real key to all these shows is not how perfect the families are, but how committed they are to each other. How much are they tied together at the end of the day? The shows that last and continue via reruns are successful because no matter how hurtful the members of these families might be, by the end of each episode, they are tighter than when they started. Love wins out over all obstacles.

As members of the family of God, we have a family that is short on grudges and long on patience and love. This is a family with the grace to accept every member and the love to see through any situation. It doesn’t mean we aren’t dysfunctional as a spiritual family, it means we are tied together by an invisible cord that nothing can separate. These are the true family ties in the Family of God that will never break because it is God who ties them.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved usRomans 8:35-37 (NLT).

God never promised us an Ozzie and Harriett existence. Yet He did promise that nothing can ever break us apart. That’s because through it all, Father does know best. And that makes for pretty strong family ties.

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