Margaret Thatcher once said, “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” There is no place this is more true than the powerful and often hidden pattern of sin and dysfunction that we carry forward from our childhood into our daily life. We look to the past to make sense of the future, and often discover that the past controls our present choices much more than we might want to admit. We continue to struggle with old fears, insecurities, and resentments that grab us by the wrist and drag us back to old patterns, some we’ve been living in since our formative years as kids. Freedom in Christ is accessible to us all—but we often must look back before we can go forward. God chose family as the place where we first form an identity, establish values, define love, and understand (or misunderstand) forgiveness. Our own experiences with family become a crucial component to our growth and maturity in Christ.
Family is complicated. But family is also one of God’s creations where He most frequently reveals Himself. We are instructed to honor our parents in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12). A sign of a faithful leader in the church is the ability to manage one’s family (1 Timothy 3:4-5). The Bible calls people who believe in Christ his sisters and brothers (Hebrews 2:11), and a special kind of love and care is reserved for the “family of believers” (1 Peter 2:17). If God is going to use the family as a critical picture for understanding life in Him, and if we are going to bring all kinds of our own baggage to that word, then it’s worthwhile for us to pay attention to what we know about our earthly families and how those relationships impact our struggles today and choices tomorrow. Discovering, accepting, and allowing Christ to redeem family experiences is the high and holy work of the person who desires to experience a wholehearted and free life. Let’s take a look at how we move forward into that freedom:
Photo Courtesy: Thinkstock