“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
Malachi 4:5, 6
These are the last words of the Old Testament, and they are a prophecy concerning the ministry of John the Baptist. When the angel disclosed to Zacharias that a child would be born to him and Elisabeth, he said that John would “go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children” (Luke 1:17). This would be a part of John’s message and ministry, to turn the hearts of parents to their children and children to their parents.
Perhaps there has never been a time when this message is more needed than today. We have witnessed such a collapse in our country in the role and responsibility of the home and family. Our society reflects several generations of rebellion toward the biblical model and teaching concerning the family. The importance of the sacred vows of marriage has been replaced with humanistic views of matrimony. Divorce is commonly seen as an easier option rather than working through the conflicts all relationships experience. Children are viewed by many parents as more of a burden than a blessing. Legalized abortion has opened the door for masses of adults to view the unborn as something less than a human life. Mothers and fathers are leaving the rearing of their children to child care professionals, while they place the priority of career above family.
Young people are more disrespectful to their elders in general, and parents in particular, than in any generation we have seen. Brainwashed by the media and the lifestyles of their peers, adolescents are being trained in a world with few examples of parental honor and obedience. Paul warned Timothy that in the last days the youth would be disobedient to parents. This absence of honor for elders is not a condition limited to young people. Generations of disrespectful youth have grown to become disrespectful adults who are rearing future generations of the same.
May we take serious heed to the words of truth, and turn our hearts toward home. As adults, may we turn our hearts to our children and the children to their parents. In a world of confusion and rebellion, our homes can still be a place of refuge and peace.