Family Dynamics

17 Jun

Long-Lost Cousins Turn Up To Remind Us Of Our Family Roots

“Did they look you up because they wanted to borrow money?” Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, asked me. I had told him of a sudden phone call and the subsequent visit from my long-lost cousin and her husband.  This cousin was from my mother’s family. My mother came from a large family with lots of kin and kind. I was the youngest cousin of the bunch with no cousins my age to befriend.

The cousin that came to visit is five years older than me. That is a big gap to bridge as a child. When she was five, I was a baby. At fifteen she a teenager and I a ten-year-old in public school. I was a shy farm kid, and she was a town kid. Her dad was a prosperous business owner while my dad worked in town to keep the farm afloat. She came to say hello because I am a family connection that is still alive while many of her other cousins have died. 

Families become an umbrella of connections of blood and marriage. The closest family unit is mom, dad, brothers, sisters, and sometimes grandparents. The next family unit is (grandparents) aunt, uncle, cousins. Our families are both our strength and our weakness. Everyone has an opinion about the state of their family. Families are described as: happy, well-to-do, poor, average, quarreling, dysfunctional, quiet, loud, out-of-control, etc. One thing for sure we cannot choose our family, they are God’s gift to us.

Ed believes that there was a mix-up somehow in his family tree because he should have been born into the Royal Family. I warned Ed that he might be like Rodney Dangerfield who claimed that, “I looked up my family tree and found out I was the sap.”

The Bible tells us that from the first family of Adam and Eve, that when things go, wrong members in a family blame, someone else. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they tried to hide from God. When asked if they had eaten of the forbidden fruit in the garden, Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the Serpent. Families often get into the useless and endless debate about who is at blame and by how much. The decisions by Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit upset God and had a consequence for themselves and their family. Their action led to their eventual death. All of us, as human beings will die, but we are not left hopeless concerning death for Jesus came to bring life over death.

Adam and Eve did not remain obedient to God. Neither are we able to be perfectly obedient to God. There is no difference, for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God. There are no perfect families or individuals. God gave Jesus, the word made flesh, to be perfect for us and to stand in our place absorbing the punishment of our sin. Those who believe in Jesus will rise from the dead as He did.

Our families and our lives disappear over time. The young will grow old and die. This reality, we see, but we cannot see Christ alive in heaven with new life for us after death. Christians trust what we cannot see.

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