A Family Affair: Your Family of Birth

For the next three days we’ll be talking about God’s blueprint for our family, “A Family Affair”. Each of us needs to understand this because we are all going to become part of a family. I recalled Barbara Bush saying, “The future of America is not going to be determined by what is happening at the White House; it will be determined by what is happening at your house.” Moreover the Republican platform says: Foremost of all the institutions is the American family. It is the foundation of our society and the first level of self-government.

However in the last 20 years we’ve been in a family values vacuum. We are in a permissive society, where anything goes. And now, look around. We are reaping the consequences of that. Did you know that every 30 seconds there is a divorce in America? There is an attack on the family. Every fourth child is born to a single mother. US News reports that one half of Americans support gay marriages. There have been 50 million abortions since Roe vs. Wade. And we are having our kids grow up in a fatherless nation. So although we espouse family values we don’t see them. 83% of youth suicides come from fatherless homes (5 times the average); and 90% of homeless runaway children come from fatherless homes (32 times the average); 80% of rapists come from fatherless homes (14 times the average); 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (9 times the average); And 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes (20 times the average).

Although you always hear people espousing family values, not everyone lives them. So whose family values are you going to follow? Is there really an ideal family? The answer is no; there is no ideal family. Some people will say that they come from a bad family and their kids are prodigal kids. Does this mean that they are disqualified from their future? The answer is God loves prodigals. Indeed the Bible is filled with prodigals. And even the most perfect father has rebellious children. Consequently you need to look at family as long-term investment. It’s like stocks which go up and down. You have to look at it as a long-term investment and not worry about the small dips.
This week, we are going to talk about one of  four groups of people: Family Veterans, (like grandfathers and grandmothers), those that are married, children, and the rest of the family.

Each of us will have three families. For the family veterans you have:

Past: The family of birth.

Each of you came from a parent. For grandparents your role is to influence the next generation as a patriarch or matriarch. You need to be looking out for the next generation’s spiritual fitness.
The Bible says, “Now this is the commandment the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you… so that you, and your son, and your grandson might fear the Lord your God” (Deut. 6:1-2).

The future is not determined by the cards you have in your hand but by how well you play them. We need to understand that we all will get hurt, but don’t let that hurt take you hostage. Granted some of you have come from pasts where you have been neglected, rejected, used, and abused. Some have been helped by your past but some have been hindered, and some have been deeply hurt.

All of us will have been dealt a hand of cards and you get to play them. You don’t have a choice in what hand that God is going to deal you. But you can play them well because your future is not going to be determined by the cards you have in your hand. It’s how you play them. So we need to understand that we will be hurt, but it’s all right. Just don’t let the hurt from your past take you hostage. Because if you do, you are tethered to yesterday and your potential for tomorrow is squandered. But you might ask, “How do I do it?” You can assign any role to your past that you want to. It can stalk you or it can be a companion to you. It can destroy you or it can deliver you. It could be a torturer to you or it could be a teacher to you. It could be a menace or it could be a maestro. You assign the role to your own past. It’s not what happens to you; it’s what defines you that can mess you up. So define it well so that God can use it.

In my own life God put me in a tough family with a Master Sergeant father who was very strict and he disciplined us in the army style. As a result, this discipline prepared me for the life ahead of me. It was like God knew the future that I was to walk and the assignment that I was to have. And God in all His wisdom knew that the only way I could get discipline in me was to put me under this Master Sergeant father. It was tough, but it built something in me so that when God told me, “This is what I called you to do, Wayne.” I was able to do it and stick with it. I could have perceived it poorly and been a pessimist. But I decided to use it as fuel in my tank in order to serve God. So I decided to make my past a mentor to me and not a menace that will destroy me. You have got to decide what you can learn from the past. One of the greatest victories with your life is when you can make peace with your past and move on.

The above article is part of a sermon series by Pastor Wayne Cordeiro from 2013. You can find all of his sermons at New Hope here.

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