We are knee deep into the Holiday season, so as I reflect on how the Gospel functions in my life I am forced to face ‘family’. Isn’t this one of the great and not so great things about holidays for most people? Don’t we all have a weird uncle who shows up at the most inappropriate times and makes a bunch of rude comments that ticks off all the mostly sane members of the family? Relationships are what we are made for and long for, so why are they so often our greatest point of hurt, stress and regrets? How does the Gospel lived out affect these important relationships in our lives?
We have been studying the book of Genesis at PAXnorth, as you can tell if you read some of the more recent blogs. One of the things I love about the Bible is that it doesn’t pull any punches. We don’t get a beautiful ‘saintly’ utopia feel from the lives or family life of those we often call saints. More often we get the full on truth of their messy families, broken relationships and poor ungodly decisions. If you don’t believe me read Genesis 3-11 and count how many messed up relationships emerge. The good news is that we are not alone, the challenge is how do we do something different in our relationships? For the next couple of Friday blogs I want to address some of this family brokenness in light of the Gospel.
First let me remind you of the irreducibles of the Gospel of Jesus. What is the Gospel? I Corinthians 15:1-3 reminds us that the Gospel is Christ, crucified, and risen from the dead on our behalf. What does this have to do with my relationships?
Take a piece of paper and list on one side all that the Cross of Christ means to us:
Forgiveness, Atonement(at-one-ment),temptations of sin waded through and overcome, God’s holy just wrath satisfied (propitiation), our sin removed from us (expiation), a relationship with God is possible and a reality by an exercise of faith in Jesus! These are only a few things, read Ephesians 1, and Romans 8 to continue the list. Now on the other side of the paper list how this matters to my relationships. For instance
because God does not hold my sin against me because of His son- I can live out of a posture of forgiveness to my spouse, my parents, my family. After all isn’t this the process of “working out our salvation?” (Phil. 2:12) or also called the process of sanctification. Over the next couple of Friday’s I want to blog about how this fleshes out in our relationships. How does this address generational hurt, abuse sin? How does this work out in conflicts and criticisms? How does this work out in even the mundane, everyday maintenance of relationships. So take some time this week…make the Gospel list…. try and work out the reflections of this in your relationships…I think you’ll find this has the potential to change your outlook and bring about incredible change in your relationships! You never know it may actually help us to enjoy family in a whole new way over the holidays.