ReClaiming the Family- Part 1
A few days ago as I was enjoying some traditional gospel on youtube, a clip from the movie The Color Purple came on. It was a scene of a worldly woman attempting to sing in a nightclub but she was distracted by singing from a nearby church. The headliner then leads a processional of revelers down a dirt path to the church while singing the moving hymn. The parade burst through the church doors ending with the lady singing very passionately and finally embracing the pastor with these words, "see daddy sinners have soul too". As I watched that clip, tears began to well in my eyes, as I considered the family dynamics playing out in front of me.A young woman feeling shunned by a "holier than thou" father. And a speechless father who accepts and reciprocates his daughter's embrace. This scene of reconciliation moved me, because I love to see families gain victory over the enemy. Over the years, I have found myself a bit sympathetic toward this sinning daughter. All too often I am aware of the ravenous effects of rejection. But I saw something different in the scene on this particular day. I saw an exhausted father. I saw a father of two daughters. One who I am sure lifted them both before the Father and said Lord I give her back to you. We do not see their mother, so perhaps this man had to raise his two daughters alone. I can only imagine the tumultuous teen years as he tried to stir his little girls into adulthood. But, as all parents know, a child must choose his or her own path. While we may be quick to judge this father, we must attempt to understand the emotions he may have been dealing with. Having lived longer and with a little insight, I'm sure he warned his children of life's perils. We must not hear only one narrative. "Yeah, my dad is a preacher and he just cant accept that this is who I am and how I want to be". But there is another person with a story too. That narrative could be: "I've tried all I could, after we buried her mother, she became impossible, she wont talk to me or my sister, she started running with the wrong crowd and now, she lies to me and has disappointed me every time I let my guard down. I cant bear to see her body abused, but I cannot talk any sense into her. I tried to, just love her and I do. My home is always open but every time she comes she steals. How far do I go, I should not have to hide my personal belongings, but I'm willing." So you see this scene is about more than we see on the surface. The untold story of the daughters pain and anger that she lost her mother at a young age, believing she could talk to older men but not her dad, living in deception and believing things must go her way or people don't like her. The untold story of how dad lacked the skills to set healthy boundaries because he at first tried to compensate for their mothers death, the frustration of raising girls alone, the pressure of holding it together for them and never grieving for his wife". Or an combination of father-daughter issues. The added stress of being in the spotlight because he was a preacher and his family is not suppose to experience life like everyone else. Oh yes, I know what's its like to be expected to accept everyone's shortcomings and quirks, but not receive that same grace. You know, I cannot think of one parent who raises his or her newborn to the sky and says, Hey I want you to be a murder when you grow up, or a rapist, or thief, or an addict, or bound by sin. No, we all want the best for our children! In addition, when the Word of God is clear that sin is a bondage, no matter what the world says is ok...Christian parents are devastated to witness their children caught in the snare of the enemy. Just like the mom who didn't finish high school, wants to push her children to excel beyond her limited success. The Christian parent who was once bound in sin wants to empower their children to avoid sins traps. As I tried to imagine the many factors, that the movie does not show by the way, that may have led to this family diversion, I was overwhelmed by the power of forgiveness and reconciliation! God has given every family an assignment and our adversary is there right from the start to divert us from that plan. He began his attack back in the garden. Adam and Eve were to have dominion over creation but satan diverted them. Thanks be unto God, He allowed for reconciliation through Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ! And that same spirit of reconciliation can heal our families today. So I now have some compassion on that speechless father, who was blessed and fortunate enough to live long enough to see a transformation in his child. The scene is a powerful reminder to children and parents that God wants to reclaim your family and restore your dominion so you can complete your assignment in the earth for him.