Hope for the Family

Posted: November 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Christianity is often attacked for being inauthentic or hypocritical.

Children of Christian parents are often the most critical because they see their parents act one way at church and another way at home.  If you grew up in church did you ever see your parents huff and complain all the way to church and then act as if someone flicked a switch when they hit the front doors of the church building? Suddenly they sport a big smile and say things like, “How are you, brother?” or “Praise the Lord!”

 For whatever reason, the  problem is that Christians often segregate our public and private lives.  We think that if we keep the “rules” of marriage and show up to our children’s ballgames and are civil with our siblings and parents then we are good family members but is that Biblical?
 
Let’s look at Colossians 3:18-4:1 and consider the context.  Paul is writing to a church in the middle of nowhere that is surrounded by darkness (nothing like Portsmouth!) and he tells them to remember that all they need is Christ.  They don’t need a pimp ride + Jesus.  They don’t need a hot spouse + Jesus.  They don’t need anything but Jesus.  After laying that foundation he writes,
 
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. 4:1 Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.
 
Again, note the context—the passage flows out of Paul’s general admonition to embrace the new life made possible by grace and to do all things in the name of King Jesus.
 
Paul taught that our first task as believers is always to minister to those closest to us. 
 
Now, the leadership has cast a pretty clear vision at Revolution that we need to love each other and need to love the poor and hurting but many Christians are fairly ambivalent about their own blood relatives.
 
Yet, many believe that it will be easier to convert a meth prostitute than get a long with family members BUT there is hope
 
 Systems theory teaches that a person can change their entire family dynamic by changing his or herself.  You cannot change others but you can change the entire tone of the way you interact with your family.
 
After all,  we do not even have the power to change ourselves.  Only the Spirit of God can truly change a person for the better. 
 
How do you know that you have really changed? How do you know that the Holy Spirit is really working within you? Ask yourself, do you love your family as Christ loves the church?
 
If not, then what do you do?
 
Ask yourself how much time do you spend reflecting on the Gospel? How much time do you spend looking at the cross?
 
Despite what our politically correct society teaches, the cross is absolutely unique in that it is both humbling and affirming at the same time.   The cross teaches that our sins are so serious that justice demands a life.  Yet, it also teaches us that God loves us so much that He is willing to give His own life to satisfy the demands of justice.
 
So, when we look at the cross we see the evil we have done to God and, at the same time, we see how much we are worth to God.
 
It is only in the light of such justice and love through the work of the Holy Spirit that we can truly change and then embody Christ to our families.
 
What does that look like? It means, among other things, absorbing evil in order to drain it of its power.
  
Have you ever seen the philosophical and theological masterpiece Rocky III? In it, Rocky fights the seemingly invincible Clubber Lang (played by the underappreciated thespian Mr. T.).  Rocky manages to win by taking all the punishment Clubber can dish out, thereby exhausting his power and then he delivers the knock out punch.
 
That is one of the many things that happens on the cross is that Jesus takes everything evil has upon himself until it is spent and has no power left.  Perhaps, just perhaps, if we absorb the abuse that our families can dish out without retaliating then maybe we can follow our Lord and drain the evil that has infected those relationships of its power as well.
 
The only hope for the family is a member/s embodying Christ to change the whole family dynamic.   
 
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