Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Parents (Part 2 - Part of the Family)

Continuing on in writing about my life being a product of God's love and grace, I'm going to link to another article I wrote in the past.


Part of the Family

2 Peter 3:18 Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Four days after I was born I arrived in the home of my foster parents. Four months later my foster parents adopted me! Announcements were sent out which declared my name and my full part in this new family.

Time went on, and I did some “growing.” I grew physically, and I grew in my knowledge and understanding of the ways and values of my family. At times, I walked in accordance with those ways but at other times I went in other directions. Let’s just say that my name appeared on the Honor Roll every semester during high school, but it also had many appearances in the local newspaper due to some of my less-than-honorable actions.

During those years my actions seemed to change with the wind, and even I couldn’t predict what my actions would be from day to day. Would I walk in line with the family values I’d been taught or would I go in another direction? Yet through all my changes there is one thing which never changed - one constant thing which I could always rely on. It’s something I never doubted, not even once. No matter what I did, for better or for worse, I always knew that I remained part of the family.

My parents taught me many values, and although they taught me those values for my own good and they always hoped I would walk according to those values, there was something even more important to them than keeping me in line with those values. The fact that I was their son always superseded whatever I did which was contrary to their ways.
Galatians 4:5-7 says that God sent Jesus to redeem us so that we could be adopted as His children. And because we are His children – part of His family - God put the Spirit of Jesus into our hearts. The Spirit of Jesus dwelling in us enables us to be fully personal with God, calling Him “Abba, Father.” We freely relate to Him as a Daddy who dearly loves and accepts His children.

During my unpredictable and “immature” years (my wife would question if those years ever really ended), my parents were faithful to me even though I was disobedient and rebellious at times. They remained faithful to make sure I knew I was their son and they remained faithful to forgive all my misdeeds. No “debt” was ever left hanging over my head. All of this was because of their love for me. I always knew I was fully accepted in the family. When I was walking in the wrong way, Mom was still Mom and Dad was still Dad.

This one constant thing in my life – the love of my parents – is what kept me from questioning my part in the family. It’s also what made me want to please them all the more. When I saw my name in the paper for unlawful behavior I would laugh about it with my friends but deep inside I hated how it made my family look. Yet I can never remember a time when my parents hung my guilt and shame over me. The seeds they planted in my life and the water with which they watered the seeds was always in the form of love.

Over the years I’ve grown in my understanding of God’s unchanging and unconditional love for me. I’ve grown in my understanding of all that the sacrifice of Jesus means. As I continue to grow (my wife is right - I’m by no means anywhere close to having “arrived”) one thing keeps becoming more and more clear to me all the time. Feelings of guilt and shame never draw me closer to my Father. My growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has been a result of the constant love and faithfulness of God. His faithfulness always wins over my unfaithfulness. That makes me want to love Him all the more. The life of Jesus in us is what gives us the ability to grow experientially in what we already are – full-fledged, fully accepted children in the family of God.

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