When Your Family Is No Longer The Picture-Perfect Poster For Christianity
I used to have a picture in my head of the perfect Christian family. It was formed after many “how-to” and “this is who God blesses” sermons.
They were the families who had children that towed the party line, never rebelled, wore the right clothes, went to Sunday services and Wednesday night bible studies, could recite bible verses and propagated more children who did the same. They were upstanding, stellar citizens, and everyone wanted to be like them. They could easily say, “God has blessed us!”
And I aspired to be like them; which caused a lot of inner tension because let’s be real, it’s an impossible standard and hardly much fun.
Then our child came out, and my carefully constructed poster got ripped to shreds. Homosexuality was in our home. I was now part of the cursed, outcast, judged, and downtrodden. In most Christian’s eyes, God was in no way blessing me.
Or was He?
What is the blessing in this?
That became my question, and part of my quest.
Was it possible He was giving me the opportunity to taste of bread and wine that produces living waters flowing from within? Would I find an inclusive (rather than exclusive) God? Would this food be far more satisfying than all the religious entree’s put together?
A careful look at the New Testament gospels reveals a different poster family for God’s kingdom.
His Kingdom is full of “sinners” (as the religious leaders called them), prostitutes, ex-demon-possessed, and the uneducated. He had at least one woman who was married more than once (and currently lived with a man), a close friend who denied Jesus, those who squabbled over who was the greatest, and money swindlers. He loved the dreaded Samaritans (hated by the Israelites), adulterers, murderers, and a whole bunch of other folks the church had nothing to do with. Jesus touched, healed, and invited them in.
He loved them and ate with them. He entrusted a brand new ministry to them before they had their “Christian” act together. In fact, they never arrived at perfection, but that didn’t matter.
Life was as messy and adventurous for those first Jesus followers as it is for us; two steps forward, one step back. They wrestled with their man-made rules and wondered how to embrace those outside their norm. They had questions and struggles. They needed God’s wisdom and provision. None of it scared God because God knew they’d make it.
His love was strong enough to get them where He wanted them to go.
It will do the same for us.
If you have (or had) an idea of what a Christian family should look like and you don’t meet that standard, take heart; you now represent God’s Kingdom more fully.
And He couldn’t be more delighted.
That’s a beautiful thought.