Family Values (part 1 of 2)
Us as Sons and Daughters of God
Will and his wife Sandy were part of my small group before I joined. Will fixed computers and Sandy was a teacher. The two of them with their beautiful daughter made a pretty ideal family. Will and Sandy had insightful things to say during our discussions, were good about bringing snacks, and even hosted our meetings a few times when our usual spot was unavailable. One night my phone buzzed with a text message that said, “please pray for Will he’s been in a wreck”. So our small group sprang into action, one went to look after their daughter, others made some meals, and a few more went to the hospital.
Thankfully only Wills vehicle and the tree he played chicken with were hurt. That was the good news. The report came back that Will was quite intoxicated at the time. Luckily he didn’t even make it to the end of his block before crashing his car. None of us, not even Sandy new that will was fighting a prescription drug and alcohol battle. It was a shock, yes, but more importantly it was an opportunity to love.
Which is exactly what happened. The meals didn’t stop, nor the help with child care. If anything the outpouring increased. The next time Will and Sandy were able to come for small group our facilitator did something totally unexpected. He simply said, “I’d like everyone in the room to go around and say one thing about or reason you love Will. So we did. The group said some of the most encouraging things you could imagine. Not the least of which came from his wife. She valued him, appreciated him, and didn’t rip him to shreds, which no-one wold have faulted her for. It was a beautiful outpouring of grace in such a practical way.
Did Will’s problems disappear? No. Nor did his circumstances change overnight. There were repercussions to his actions, a reaping of the broken decisions he sowed. But for us, that day, we were simply called to love him. This, for many of us, helped build trust in the group, and started an openness in communication of our struggles and failures. And it’s that honesty that helps us on our road to freedom.
When Jesus teaches us how to pray in Matthew, He stars the prayer with two words “Our Father”. The Son of the Living God is showing us how to do the one thing he spent most of his life doing, talking to God. How many times do we see Jesus disapearing off to some hill to pray? I mean John 5;19 says,
“Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”
Which means every move Jesus made was in prayer and surrender. So if anyone is going to teach us “how” to pray it’s Jesus right?!
Okay so, “our Father”. Pretty specific, and very obvious that 1. It’s not about ME it’s about US and 2. We are a family. He didn’t say “My Father” he said OUR father. I feel like much of the church has spent so much time teaching about “the personal relationship with Jesus Christ” That we’ve missed out on the depth, healing, and power that can come from community driven believer-hood. The reason so many men, myself included, have had such a struggle with pornography is because their afraid to talk about it. We spend years trying to soldier through it on our own. And the enemy continues to try to make us feel like no one else struggles like we do. And this is not just with sexual related sins. It’s everything. I don’t even think it’s so much about trying to keep up appearances, though sometimes that is the case and that is it’s own pride issue. But I honestly believe many of us are not taught what it means to live in community and we are afraid to because of things like “Prayer Chain covered Gossip”. You know what I mean where we cover up our gossip of Jenny and Davids affair, with nice words like, “so if you could just pray for them” and Lord bless em’.
Seriously?! No wonder people are afraid to be honest. We all have the same Father, a father who does not keep a record of wrong. What keeps you from keeping no record of wrong? What do we gain from not embracing each-other. Hear me when I say there is a time and a place for those who are in community to call each-other higher. A place to lovingly correct ungodly behavior. I’m not saying we just turn a blind eye and act like ignorant dopes. But I am saying that unless we start building some trust, and some family values with one another and get over this, “I’m the only one on the road” mentality we are seriously missing out on what God has for US.
9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the FAMILY of believers.