Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Two Sons

Some of us get so hung up on the past that we carry it with us our whole lives. Anger and a lack of forgiveness leads to bitterness and resentment and further to hatred. We've all seen it happen. The trouble is that the thing you hate, be it a parent, a church, whatever person who wounded us...that is what you become if that is your focus.

One of the blessing of our forgiveness in Christ and our redemption is that we can be freed from the past, no longer doomed to live in it, no longer forced to follow the patterns that have been ingrained in us, no longer made to follow the path of destruction from our own choices.

I challenge you to undertake a quest to know God, to study who he is and to ask him to speak to you through his word. When you hear something, obey. Take hold of your thoughts and force yourself to think on good and healthy things. Find people who you can emulate. Study how they live and how they respond to others.

I know a family whose past is a desolate wasteland. Parents were unavailable, mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically. There was neglect, raging, control, guilt, shame, and silence. One child has determined to allow God to heal him of this. He is taking inventory of the past and turning over those hurts to his Heavenly Father. He is seeking to see how God is the perfect Father, and how loved and cared for and appreciated he is and in turn has been able to be a gracious and loving son to his parents. It is not easy, and he doesn't always do it perfectly, but he is turning the hurts of the past over to God and trusting in God's forgiveness of himself to be sufficient grace and mercy to be able to shower the same on his parents.

The other son is so angry about the past that he has disowned his parents. Is his anger justified? Absolutely! Was the past a horror? You bet. Do his parents to this day pour salt in the wounds and refuse to honor, bless and accept him? Yes they do. But from my vantage point, the one being hurt here is the son. The parents are not living in guilt or hurt or shame from the past--they continue to live as they have always done. The 2nd son, however, instead of becoming more like his Heavenly Father, is becoming more like his earthly father day after day.

Many of the traits he despises in his Father, he is showing in his own life.

It's a sad and tragic thing. It's okay to say that some of the behaviors of the past were wrong, hurtful and even sinful. It is not okay to spend your whole life living in the past.

So, my children and other readers, whatever the past has done to you, whatever hurts you have faced, whatever sorrows you carry, let your Heavenly Father heal you. Let him show you the greatness of his Son and the wonder and fullness of the sacrifice that was given for you.

I was an imperfect parent. I think that is an understatement. What I hope you do is draw close to your Heavenly Father and let him show you how much you are loved by Him. It is an amazing thing that the creator of the universe is mindful of us. It is a wonder beyond belief that he cares. It is an indescribable joy that he delights in us when we delight in him. You have a God who can heal you of the scars of the past. He can open those wounds and cleanse and heal them. There is not a moment of your life that you have not been loved passionately by the one who made you. There is not one sorrow you have faced that he was not weeping for you and carrying you. His love is so sufficient and so real and tender and close. How he longs for you to begin to know and understand him in fullness, even though we can never know him fully.

And that is the wonder of it all. The unknowable God, whose fullness is beyond our capacity to understand, makes himself known to us. He will make himself known to those who seek after him and I hope you will do that with your whole heart. No house or car or bank account balance is worth more than that. No girl, no boy, no spouse, no friendship is of more value. No pursuit in life can offer more to you than the pursuit of God.