This Sunday we will celebrate and honor the special men in our lives on Father’s Day! It’s a great time to look at what it means to be a family, to love one another. There are three things I believe we can do to follow God’s example for a healthy, loving family.
#1 UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
Jesus loved the disciples in an incredible way. Even though they were tax collectors, fishermen and zealots, he knew their strengths and weaknesses and he accepted and loved them, no matter what. He cared about them deeply and was willing to forgive them. They were loved in such a special way. If you look at them closely, you can see the disciples were very different after the resurrection because they had experienced the love of Jesus. After you know what it means to be loved, you can be loving. That’s really our affirmation as Christians! It is our belief that we have been loved by God. When you experience God’s grace, you know what it means to be loved by God and in turn you become more loving! “We love because He first loved us.” I think that’s how it works!
You can’t talk about love without forgiveness. The Bible tells us, “God loved us and sent his son to be the expiation for our sins.” That’s another way of saying God loved us and he sent his son so we might be forgiven. You can be sure in long-term relationships, we will get hurt, we will say things, we will have misunderstandings, we will make wrong assumptions, there will be problems! You have to have forgiveness if there’s going to be a family or any kind of long term relationship.
“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he hasn’t seen. And this commandment we have from him: that he who loves God should love his brother also.” This means your children, grandchildren neighbors, co-workers; anyone who might be different than you. The Bible makes it very plain that in the family of God there is neither Greek nor Jew, nor male nor female, nor slave nor free, we are one in Christ. Are we different? Yes, of course. Are we called to accept each other with our differences? Yes! Sometimes that is a hard thing to do. We want everyone to think and act just like us. We want everyone to look like us. Can we accept those who are different? Can we accept our children when they choose a different path than what we had in mind? How can you say you love God if you hate someone who is different or chooses something different for their life?
To know what it means to be loved, forgiven and accepted. That’s what we experience as a family of God and it’s also what we are called to create, as Dads, for our children and grandchildren!