The home is not a neutral zone for acting upon baseless desires, nor is it simply a bastion for maintaining traditional values. One of the primary purposes of the home is to cultivate Christlike virtues that animate who we are in private and facilitate what we do in public. When the Apostle Paul addressed the households in the church of Colossae, he instructed wives, husbands, children, masters, and servants alike to put to death the exploits of the flesh, put on the qualities of Christ, and do everything in word and deed for the glory of God (Col. 3:1–4:1).
Christians have long viewed the home as the hub of life. It is a nursery for aspiring astronauts, playground for wannabe heroes, and sanctuary for weary but heaven-bound wayfarers. Home is a place for cultivating virtue through meandering conversations, large helpings of laughter, hearty meals, excruciating trials, and loads of hard work. Whether you are a child learning to read, a freshman in a dormitory, newlyweds settling into a first apartment, an upstart launching a career, a family with a quiver full of children, or a widow navigating life without a spouse, the comfort of home is a stabilizing reality of life.
Yet for many, the home is far from heaven. It is hell on earth. For those suffering in the environs of oppression, the home is a cauldron of abuse, violence, and manipulation. It is a prison to escape from, not a refuge to run to. Still others have never had the privilege of permanent shelter, let alone experienced the warmth of a fireplace. As Christians discuss the value of home, we must not lose sight of the fact that the guilt and corruption of the fall reaches into every heart, and therefore into every home. Our ultimate hope lies not within the boundaries of a picket fence but in Him who is “our dwelling place” (Ps. 90:1).