My One Word for 2014: Blessing
a(1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <e.g. maternal love for a child>
(Webster’s Dictionary, one of many definitions)
Biblical love is hard! Love often asks, “What’s in it for me?” This is not a result of being evil or a bad person; this is simply how it is because we are human and to love as Jesus did really does require some divine DNA.
When I read the gospels, I shake my head in amazement at knowing that Jesus still went to the cross for humankind simply because he loved us enough to offer himself up as a living sacrifice. Think about it. There was nothing for Jesus to gain personally by being a living sacrifice. Absolutely nothing. Jesus spent his short time on earth having to deal with bickering disciples who were more concerned about who was going to be first in this new concept of the afterlife. He still headed to the cross knowing fully well that his best friends would at one point desert him. He loved his family even though his cousin John was like, “Whoa, cuz, you are saying some strange things and acting really weird. This is not what our Pharisee family teaches and practices. Are you for real or are you just out of your mind?” (Matthew 11:2-6) and (Mark 2:18).
Jesus still loved his mother, brothers and sisters when they came to get their reportedly crazy family member (Mark 3: 31-35). They came to look after him, and Jesus made it clear to his audience, “You are all my family.” I’m sure this had to have left his siblings and mother hurt, confused, and worried. I wouldn’t doubt it if they thought, “Yeshua, are you rejecting us. We are your family. How can you refuse to come home with us and choose instead to stay with these strangers? We are your family. We love you and only want to take care of you.”
I look at the documented dynamics of Jesus’ family members and I realise that love asks questions. As a family we are going to ask questions, we are not likely to sit by in silence wondering what our whacky, lost, wandering, confused relatives are doing with their life. Having observed this, I also came to accept that there will be times when we have to be that crazy family member who follows their dreams, passions and divine calling. In order to love God there are going to be times when we are in disagreement with our families.
Jesus made it clear that he did not come to bring peace. There is no way that following God is going to bring peace within families. There is sometimes that tug of war between wanting to do what God has asked us to do verses what our family is asking us to do. I am a firm supporter of adult children choosing their own way of life over their families’ decisions. Are you an adult? Then that means making your own decisions using wisdom, knowledge, experience, and hopefully, a bit of common sense.
Can you imagine what would have happened if Jesus threw in the towel and listened to his cousin John by following the Pharisee traditions? What would have happened if Jesus left with his mother and sisters so they could tend to the care of his mental state? The story of a saviour who died and rose again out of love for the human race might not have ever been. Instead we would have the story of a crazy man who failed miserably at trying to shake up the religious establishment and as a result retreated to his parents’ home for the rest of his life.
All I can say is dear families, please be careful not to stand in the way of that family member who feels a divine calling to pursue a particular path in life or take on a task that God has anointed he/she to fulfill. Like Jesus’ family, you are likely intervening out of love for that person, however, that love becomes unhealthy when you become a barrier and a hindrance to someone fulfilling a calling. If you love God and you love that relative, then in the name of love, stand back and let that person be.
Love means trusting God’s work in the lives of those you care about even if you don’t understand the calling they’ve received. That calling is for them and not for you, so it is going to be alright if God hasn’t given you all the details and the vision. Show your godly love by lifting up prayers for that person, assist that person with whatever tangible help they might need, and if you don’t desire to do either of these, then show your godly love by stepping out of God’s way and let Him do His work through your loved one.
1. Are you being a barrier to a loved one’s divine calling?
2. Have you ever had a Christian family member negatively intervene in your walk of faith?
1a. Prayerfully ask God to reveal to you if you have been or are currently a barrier to your loved one’s walk of faith? Ask God to reveal to you how you can step out of His way in order to support your family member?
2a. If this intervention is a source of emotional hurt in your life, ask God to open that family members’ eyes and heart; also ask God to continue to heal your emotional wound. Release that hurt to God for healing.