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How to Deal with Family Problems God’s Way

To deal with family problems God’s way, you must have God’s perspective about the family and understand the spiritual warfare against it. Jesus said whatever God joins together, let no man separate (Matthew 19:6). If God joined man and woman together in marriage to create a family, bringing children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, there is a good and fruitful purpose for it. At the same time, the enemy is always out to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10) what God has established for good.

The Biblical Purpose of a Family 

A family’s purpose is to be proof of God’s love, security, strength, and goodness in a broken world. It is a physical picture of a spiritual truth. God designed it to be a place where a man, a woman, and children can thrive, experience the Father’s love, and learn to love others. A family is to reflect God’s relationship with us. He is for healthy and thriving families.

Bible Verses About the Purpose of Families

  • Psalm 68:6

“God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”

Families are designed to protect us against loneliness by providing a place where security can prosper.  

  • Psalm 103:13 (NIV)

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”

Families are designed to be a place where compassion can grow, and when hurt happens, we are nursed back to health.

  • Psalm 127:3-5

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”

Families are designed to launch children who are warriors for God’s Kingdom into the world. 

The Spiritual Attack Against Families

We can be sure that whatever God is for, Satan is against. What God brings together to reflect His character in the world, Satan attacks, bringing about family destruction through family division. 

If Satan can divide families through divorce, he can bring destruction to future generations. 

  • “‘For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one’s garment with violence,’ says the Lord of hosts.”—Malachi 2:16

God hates divorce because it causes pain and hurt to future generations and those in the marriage. This is not what God wants for us. Many family problems arise when we rebel against God’s design of family relationships. 

Why Do We Have Family Problems?

Strained family relationships are nothing new. They have been around since Adam and Eve. Human history is full of broken people trying to deal with family problems, from sibling rivalries like Cain and Abel to adulterous scandals like David and Bathsheba.

The reason we have family problems is because we live in a broken world with broken people. We naturally rebel against God and His plans for relationships, resulting in estranged, unhealthy, and damaged family relationships. 

When we deal with family problems God’s way, it goes against our natural tendencies, but the outcomes are far better than we can think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)!

In our humanness, we want to…

  • Blame others for mistakes 
  • Prove we are right
  • Make sure others take responsibility for their actions before we do
  • Be understood before seeking to understand

When we deal with family problems our way, strife and division take hold. The good news is God gives us guidelines for protection and redemption through reconciliation. 

How God’s Ways Protect Us from Family Strife and Division

God’s Word and instruction protect against family problems. We simply must be willing to surrender to and follow it…

  • Husbands must love their wives the same way Jesus loves His Church (Ephesians 5:25, 33), allowing his flesh to be crucified for her.
  • Wives must respect and submit to their husband’s leadership role in the marriage and family (Ephesians 5:22–24, 33; 1 Peter 3:1), understanding the authority God has given him. 
  • Both husband and wife are to see children as a blessing, not a burden (127:3-5).
  • Both husband and wife are to train up a child in righteousness (Proverbs 22:6, Deuteronomy 6:6-9). 
  • Children are to honor and obey their parents, respect others, and learn about God through His Word and their parents (Ephesians 6:1–4; Exodus 20:12). 

We must fight for these things in prayer when dealing with family problems. How much strife and heartache could be redeemed and healed if each family member would adopt God’s ways of dealing with family problems? And when they arise, how much quicker would reconciliation happen if we battle in prayer using God’s Word to transform our minds?

Examples of Family Problems in the Bible & How God Worked Through Them

Even great men and women of faith mentioned in the Bible were not immune to family problems. The anointed David, the favored Joseph, the father-of-many-nations Abraham, and many more dealt with deception, jealousy, broken hearts, wayward children, and marital difficulties. 

King David

God anointed David to become king of Israel; even then, David had to deal with family problems. However, God still called David a man after His own heart. God worked through the family problem for a bigger purpose.  

  • His son and firstborn, Amnon, was lustful after his half-sister, Tamar, and raped her. Yet David, though incredibly angry, did nothing. Absolom, David’s third-born, simmered with hatred toward his brother for years. Absolom finally acted on the anger and arranged Amnon’s death with the primary motive of avenging his sister’s rape, but also a selfish ambition to move up in the line to become king himself (see 2 Samuel 13). 
  • Furthermore, David had an affair with a married woman, Bathsheba, and arranged for her husband’s murder (2 Samuel 11-12; 1 Kings 1-2). 

Joseph

Joseph grew up in a broken family. There was great tension between him and his brothers. Joseph was favored by his father, Jacob. His brothers were jealous and full of hatred. But God used these family problems to save the lives of many. 

  • Joseph shared his dreams with his brothers, further dividing the family. His brothers, full of hate, threw him in a pit and sold him to slave traders in Egypt (see Genesis 37). 
  • Years later, even after being thrown into prison on false accusations, Joseph didn’t let bitterness and resentment take hold in his mind. When a famine came over the land, and Joseph came face-to-face with his brothers again as they asked for food, he graciously took care of them, and many lives were spared (see Genesis 42, 45, 50)

Abraham

God called out Abraham to be the father of His covenant people. God promised Abraham a son, but as he got older, Abraham and his wife, Sarah, doubted God’s words. 

  • Sarah’s impatience drove her to take matters into her own hands. She gave her maidservant, Hagar, to Abraham to bear him a son (see Genesis 16). 
  • Later, as God promised, Sarah did have a son, Isaac. Her restlessness and need to control an outcome caused great strife among both family lines. But God’s faithfulness proved true, as Abraham and Sarah’s line eventually brought forth the Messiah, Jesus Christ (see Genesis 18. 21). 

 

How God Works Through Family Problems

Father and mother comfort teen daughter sitting on the couch through family embrace.

Each of these families was damaged by sin. However, God still worked through them. 

  • What the enemy means for evil, God intends for good (Genesis 50:20). 
  • God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
  • Family problems can be the backdrop of God’s healing power. He will finish the work He started in your family (Philippians 1:6).
  • The family problems you are experiencing now are nothing compared to the glory He will reveal in the future (Romans 8:18).

What Does God Say About Family Problems

The goal of any family problem or division should be redemption. In times of family struggles, we must choose to build a bridge of reconciliation. 

“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.”—2 Corinthians 5:18

4 Steps to Reconciliation When Dealing with Family Problems 

  • Adopt a heart of humility. 

Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

If redemption is our goal and reconciliation is the way, we must stop fighting to be understood and start fighting to understand. We may never fully agree with a family member, but we can seek to fully understand. 

  • Take responsibility. 

Humility means accepting responsibility and taking personal ownership of a situation. We must stop playing the blame game and repent. In Genesis 3:11-13, Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the devil. Every couple since the fall of Adam and Eve has played the blame game. And this blame game is passed down to our children. 

  • Give and receive forgiveness continually. 

Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

There can be forgiveness without reconciliation, but there can be no reconciliation without forgiveness. We must be willing to let go of what we think forgiveness should look like and extend it, knowing God has forgiven us. 

  • Extend much grace and mercy. 

Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in a fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

Reconciliation means being like Jesus! Remember that the pain of the crucifixion is worth the joy of the resurrection. 

Prayers for Family Problems

It is critical to deal with family problems through prayer. Prayer is powerful and moves our hearts and those we are praying for. 

Pray and thank God for your spouse, kids, and extended family.

“Lord God, I come to You and thank You for giving me a family. Thank You for Your excellent design in this gift, providing my family protection and security. Thank You, Lord, for my kids, spouse, and extended family members who taught me what it looks like to depend on You and how to love others.” 

Pray and repent of anything you’ve done to mistreat your family members.

“Lord God, I come to You with a humble heart and repent. I ask for Your forgiveness in the situation when I hurt my spouse/kids/family with my words or actions. Lord Jesus, renew my mind and help me refocus on You. Empower me to extend compassion and not store up bitterness in my heart.” 

Pray and ask God’s blessing over your marriage and family.

“Lord God, You desire to bless us. Lord, reveal to me how I can be a blessing to those in my family, and we welcome Your blessing. I give thanks in all circumstances and ask You to bless my spouse in their job and role in our family. I ask that You bless my children and give them a heart that desires You above all else.” 

Pray for God to guard your marriage and family from the wicked one.

“Lord God, I ask that any weapon formed against my family and marriage will not prosper. Lord Jesus, You are our Rock and Salvation. I ask that You put up a hedge of protection around my home and marriage so that the enemy gets no access. I ask You to make my spouse and me wise to the schemes of the enemy so that we can pray together and ask for Your strength and wisdom when navigating this journey.” 

 

Now What?

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