Jesus came bringing ‘grace and truth’ (John 1). Last month at Glo Church we were learning that family is the mechanism God uses to develop all he has invested in us, by offering a context where both support (grace) and challenge (truth) can be offered.
We all have potential, and sometimes that potential needs to be supported, encouraged, nurtured, embraced. Father God does this through accepting us just as we are; we see through Jesus on the cross that even to a humanity which rejects him, he offers forgiveness; grace. When we are broken, sad, when we don’t feel we can do what we know we should, there is our supportive loving God.
But he also loves us enough to challenge us to fulfil the potential that is there, to tell us the truth about ourselves. He called humanity to steward what we have been given – both around us and in us. And sometimes we need to be stirred into action; we are all guilty of retreating back to the lowest common denominator, doing what is easy rather than what is best.
Family is the mechanism that Father God designed for this to happen as we grow into adults: supported and challenged to grow into becoming all that our potential allows.
But sometimes the support goes too far: being wrapped in cotton wool, or being taught that something is never your fault, never encourages a healthy sense of responsibility. Support can become over-protection. Conversely, truth can be used to damage rather than as a catalyst for change – the most extreme versions of this being abusive relationships: using manipulation and control. This is not OK, and families and people can become damaged by it. But these extremes are not good examples of a mechanism functioning well, and we need to be there to love and support those going through such a time; this kind of family is not a picture of how God treats us.
The Holy Spirit never manipulates us, controls us, or wraps us in cotton wool. He speaks grace and truth to us within the context of the family of God, the church; us.
This is family: to learn to give and receive support and challenge, to live in the light of both grace and truth – not alone, but with each other. And family is the mechanism which God has given us to do this. Whatever your biological family looks like, and whatever your family of faith looks like, thank God for it, and ask him to use you to give and receive grace and truth through it.