Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

December 28, 2012

A positive minute: the family

Dr. Michael Layne
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14:

“God sets a father in honor over his children;

a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.

Whoever honors his father atones for sins,

and preserves himself from them.

When he prays, he is heard;

he stores up riches who reveres his mother.

Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children,

and, when he prays, is heard.

Whoever reveres his father will live a long life;

he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.

My son, take care of your father when he is old;

grieve him not as long as he lives.

Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him;

revile him not all the days of his life;

kindness to a father will not be forgotten,

firmly planted against the debt of your sins

— a house raised in justice to you.”

The Old Testament reading for this week comes from the book of Sirach, which is found in the Orthodox and Catholic Bibles.

During the times of Reformation, many books were removed from the Bible. So, if you are looking for the Book of Sirach in your Bible, you may not find it.

Sirach was a teacher most likely in Jerusalem and in today’s passage he is discussing the importance of the human family and how the parents and children need to treat each other.

We live in a society where the moral compass is askew. To be sure, humans have struggled with moral behavior since the beginning of time. We see it with Adam and Eve. Eve believed the lie from the serpent and Adam gives in to the temptation. When God confronts them on their behavior Adam begins the process of blaming someone else for his failure.

In our society, we find that same kind of behavior. It’s someone else’s fault for the way a person acts out. We find, however, in today’s Old Testament passage that if a family will be obedient and follow a righteous moral compass, the family unit will be blessed.

In today’s society we find young people who are living together out of wedlock and producing children. Many of the children born in those situations have multiple siblings with different fathers. Many of those fathers are not taking the responsibility to raise their children and the mother remains a single mom often without the support of a daddy to her children.

Why is this happening? For one, it’s because they have not been taught that there is a moral compass to follow and they have no idea what a healthy family structure is like because many of them have not had the opportunity to be raised in a nuclear family.

As a product of the Baby Boomers’ age, I have noticed a decline in that generation as to understanding and following through with what is right for the family. On the other hand, there are many who have lived according to a moral compass that points to a true north.

Does that mean they have it easy? No, it takes work and a desire to do what’s right.

Let God be your guide through life. Study what the Bible says about life and how we should live. Be sure to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give your moral compass a tune up.

The Most Rev. Michael Layne, PhD, ThD, is a Bishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church and can be reached at 812-662-5154 or