Focus on the Family’s President Says It’s Time to “Refocus”
Our culture is in turmoil, says Jim Daly. Once there was cohesiveness. Our moral code was built on Christian principles. Now, we look around and wonder "How did we get to such a place as we find ourselves?”
BY: Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
rule and principles of honesty.
“But as the decades have slipped by, we look around and wonder what has happened. How did we get to such a place as we find ourselves today? There’s a bit of panic.
“For example, marriage is an example of God’s character in us,” says Daly. “God starts with Genesis and goes all the way through Revelation using marriage as a metaphor of His relationship to us.”
But today marriage is under attack. “I think one reason today’s culture is so hard on marriage today,” says Daly, “is because it reflects God’s image of humanity – that we’re made in His image, male and female. But to create children together, we become one flesh. Paul says it’s a mystery. And I think it’s a great offense to the enemy of our souls.”
Strengthening the family – long a primary mission of Focus on the Family – remains unchanged, says Daly. “Research shows that today still the best place for the well-being of children is in their biological mom and dad’s home. There’s no other family unit that rivals it. Sure, no family’s perfect because it’s made up of imperfect people. But when a family is functioning well, there’s love in the home and those children are going to do well.”
Daly speaks from experience. He’s the youngest of five children born to alcoholic parents. He ended up in foster care after his stepfather walked out during his mother’s funeral. What followed were hellish years during which his mentally ill foster father accused young Daly of trying to kill him. The boy’s biological father, who had left when Daly was 5, returned to rescue him, but after a year fell back into alcohol abuse and died.
“I come from a broken childhood. I have a driving passion to try to get every child a better home and to be an advocate for that child who has no home.”
He was on his own at 17, but graduated from high school, then worked his way through college, earning a master’s degree in business administration. He was making a six-figure corporate salary when he responded to a divine call in 1989 and joined Focus on the Family, taking a two-thirds salary cut.
He’s seen the ministry slash staff, bid farewell to its retiring founder and now come under unrelenting attack for its defence of traditional marriage between one man and one woman. His response?
“I think what we want to do is be respectful, to speak with sincerity, to listen to what others have to say and follow simple rules of human interaction. Then we can do a far better job of being heard and being understood.
“We have to stay true to the tenants of the faith,” explains Daly. “But in doing so, we look to 2 Timothy 2:23.” In that passage, the Apostle Paul cautions young Timothy not to have anything to do with endless arguments. Paul also wrote to Timothy telling him that quarrels promote controversy rather than advancing God’s work – and that he should avoid people who have an unhealthy interest in ongoing controversy. “Warn them before God against quarrelling; it is of no value and only ruins those who listen,” he warned in 2 Timothy 2:14.
“When we are trying to help people understand spiritual truths, we need to do so with humility and graciousness,” says Daly. That’s why Focus on the Family, for example, shelved a program featuring the owner of Tom’s shoes – who donates a pair of shoes to the poor worldwide for every pair sold. After filming a special with Daly, Tom’s owner came under sharp attack by supporters of same-sex marriage who heatedly attacked Focus on the Family, equating it with Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan or worse. Overnight, Tom’s owner abruptly distanced himself from Focus on the Family.
It was embarrassing – and expensive for the ministry. The special had