"Start a revival, revival in me." - Citizens Way.
I'm finally at home with my family for a month and it's definitely different. It's hard because you move away from home and start doing things differently just to come back it takes a little readjusting. It's easy to get selfish in college when you are solely looking out for you- one person- and meeting your own needs. And then you come back to a family and are reminded how much sacrifice and effort it takes to work together.
My family has been working on this family camp thing for our church with the theme "God heals broken families." I think it's definitely an important topic because if you look around at familes anywhere (the grocery store or the pew behind you) you will see dysfunctional families. Families that are angry, divorced, or argumentative. Kids that don't behave and wives that feel overworked and husbands that feel disrespected. Despite the smiling faces at church for many families worship is the closest they may sit together all week.
God desires so much more from our families. But the only way we can start a family revival is by starting with ourselves and our perceptions and actions towards our own family. This transformation can only be possible with prayer.
I learned the coolest thing about God's love and families today. Basically God's character of perfect love is manifested by the fact that He is three in one- trinity- a third wheel relationship ( a heavenly family) and the way His love can best be demonstrated through us is how we "do family".
We know that we humans are naturally self centered and love by definition is self-giving and other-centered (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). So in order for us to love there must be more than one person: a relationship.
The problem with only having two people though is each is the sole recipient of the other's attention giving potential for self-centeredness. So if we think about marriage and we think about being selfless towards one another- that's a good start- and something many couples these days can't pull off even. Because we don't love God enough to even love one person like that. But...
The real test of pure love comes in when a third person enters into the relationship. Three is the minimum value of love in it's truest form because each recipient must also humbly defer attention to the third party and occupy the position of the third to the other two.Thus if the third person is accepted, self-centeredness will be forced to give way to a more selfless quality of love. In families today children often play this role of the third recipient and children can often strengthen or weaken a family demonstrating either a pure family after God's heart or selfishness.
Jesus expresses to His Father his hope regarding mankind "that the love with which You loved Me may be in them and I in them" John 17:26. Only through Christ we receive the power and redemption to love with the same kind of love Christ has demonstrated to us.
Even in the very beginning of time, the Bible shows that "doing family" and loving our family is not easy. Isaac and Rebecah start out being totally pure and dedicated to God. Isaac is a total man of the faith as he has witnessed the God of Abraham rescue his very life on the altar. Rebecah is the sweet and generous young girl Abraham's servant picks out- after a sign from God for Isaac. Surely their coming together was part of God's divine plan and their family intentions were pure.
We see a couple who struggle to have a child and pray for children.. to which God provides not just one but twins.
Yet somewhere along the process of raising kids, the focus of Christ is lost as favoritism and anger creep into the story. To the point where Rebecah loves her son more than her husband and chooses to help her favorite son Jacob (the deceiver) lie and manipulate to her own lover stealing from his own brother. Jacob tricks Esau and takes away his birthright. Esau is furious.
Yet the beautiful thing is the story doesn't end there.
Years later we see Jacob praying to God and God commanding Him to "go back to his country and relatives so he will prosper him." As he repents for his actions, humbles himself, and finds gifts for his brother and family, he wrestles with God and even gets a new name Israel. And then finally the day of restoration comes when Jacob meets Esau and and prepares to die, humbling himself and asking to be Esau's servant..
Yet Esau in his heart had forgiven Jacob as well and instead of being angry, he runs to Jacob or Israel with arms wide open to kiss and embrace him. Only by Christ their family was healed from anger and hurt. Christ always desires to heal our families and will often ask us to take initiative in the healing process.
In our culture today,media shows many different lies about families. I believe the devil is constantly throwing us counterfeit stories of how family, love, and sex should look and feel like instead of the truth about why God created families. Romance movies and books make marriages look so easy and statistics show us they lie. Satan tells us that families will meet our needs and help us work up the platform of the American dream to Disney World, cruises, and Santa Clauses.
What if we stopped taking our families for granted and realized that they are not easy? That family isn't just what you are born with but is what you make it and how you love/ or fail too. That as trouble arise, attraction fades, and impatience sets it, we have a new opportunity to love and forgive each other in the name of Jesus instead of simply walking away.
I know that I am blessed to have the family that I have now, and I also know that by loving my family, I can demonstrate Christ's love. Family's a verb that we make or break by our actions, words, and facial expressions. It's the things we do and don't say. The chores we fail to do or the secret ways we help each other. Love is to be given and shared and will require sacrifice, hard work, and commitment. May we love our families the way Christ has demonstrated His love towards us and may we pray for our families so they can be healed- in His name.