NOW I KNOW BETTER
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance. I Peter 1:14
My mother and father are both in heaven. Though it has been twenty-eight years since my mother died and ten years since my father passed away, it feels like yesterday in a way. The closer I get to Jesus, the less I feel their absence. I know He is with them and since I am close to Him, I am ‘almost’ with them.
I am so thankful for the home they gave me. I’m even thankful for their imperfect parenting because the deficits created within me a holy ache for God. I never would have embarked on a relentless search for Abba Father unless I had felt the sting of some mild emotional deprivation from my parents. What Satan plans for evil, God can always use for good.
While I cherish the many good things in my heritage (my mother’s heart for the hurting and the poor, my father’s gentle way of teaching the Word for over sixty years), there are other things I reject. Like every family, we inherited the ways of Egypt when God wanted us raised in the spiritual house of Israel. If anyone had suggested to any of my family, while living, that some of their ways of thinking and living were not of God, they would have been more than a little surprised. They couldn’t have seen the truth for that is the nature of ignorance. Those under its spell simply don’t know better.
Today, due only to the work of God’s Spirit in my spirit, I embrace new truths. I do not have to be controlled by the default mode of my ancestors. I do not have to feel guilty when I refuse to be conformed to the ‘family way’ of doing things. God is showing me that being His child means that I call Him “Abba”, follow Him first, and sift through every other belief that came to me from the hands of human beings. Some, I will keep because they are holy. Others, I will discard for they reflect the ways of the world.
To think and act independently from our families can be scary and cause conflict. Disengaging from a tight family system can fracture the false security of those who adhere to the rules without question. It’s worth it though. The exhilaration of freedom, freedom to become God’s completely, and the freedom to love my family as God loves them, is worth any price.
Many times today, I’ll be tempted to react like my father reacted, or like my favorite aunt. Change my default mode to one that follows Jesus first – and then is free to follow the godly traits of those I love. In Jesus name, Amen