Nearly every family has in it that one person that doesn’t fit the mold of the values that the remaining members have attempted to portray to the world, the standards that have been set within the family unit for acceptability. Although the one who is not adhering to the agreed upon values is rarely completely ostracized, they are usually looked upon as different without disrespect to the individual and can and will be re-admitted for complete acceptance when they abandon the path that they are on that is seen as errant within the family unit. The passage of time is rarely an issue in these matters, for they are still seen as part of the family, but by their own free will they have chosen not to accept the precepts of it. Most generally these modified values within the individual are ones that reflect poorly on the ones that have been agreed upon by most of the family, they are seen as a negative, a blemish if you will.
Many of these negative traits were once seen as reprehensible, a young woman pregnant more than once out of wedlock, a homosexual son or daughter, alcoholism and even certain drug usages though are now seen as normal behavior, the things that were once hidden are now clearly visible and some are even celebrated, completely contrary to the Word of God, “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:32).
There seems to be at the top of the list two main reasons why these actions within the “fallen” member of the family are acted upon by those desiring to bring them back into the fold, as it were, the health of the individual or the dishonoring of the family name. Many of these actions are frowned upon, even addressed occasionally, but after a period of time the inability to correct these paths are generally met with the same result, enablement. We live in an enabled society today, the general conclusion is to throw money at the problem, but one does not need to look far to see that this is not the solution, evil begets evil, and evil is not satisfied with any amount of money. When these issues arrive within the family unit, love also seems to be the appropriate response, but love and enablement never work together, and the love of the lost is no love at all, it knows no foundation in the One who is love.
Rehabilitation clinics, phycological counseling, temporary and slow withdrawal from the issue are the ways of man, but the calls within the mind of these individuals will remain, the craving is still there, but they are, hopefully, taught how to face them and once again live in what is called normal society, once again to fit properly into the prescribed path that they should have never left in the first place. They will then be wholly accepted as part of the family; they are productive within it and within society and are prepared to accept their place in the world. There is only one place in all of humanity where I have witnessed complete failure of any of these tried and true measures of the world to bring the individual back into a right relationship within either the world or the families ideologies, the Christian. “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
In the days of my youth I sampled many of the enticements of the world, and though many of them were far from what my immediate family saw as normal behavior, they were never quite frowned upon but were also rarely questioned. It was not a Christian home, but as all the places of residences of the lost, there were certain value structures that had been put in place and were expected to be adhered to, to step beyond these borders rarely incurred discipline, but only frustration, for we would not want to stifle the growth of the child, would we? The morality of the world today has become laxed in the extreme, freedom of choice knows very few boundaries in society. The believer in Christ who stands his ground is the exception.
No twelve-step program, no psychological counselling, no amount of prescribed medication will alter his path. The fear of being ostracized by the community, friends and family is of no concern to him, loss of the respect of anyone because of his convictions never even comes into his mind, his own life is of no value to him, it is the Lord’s to do with as He wills. The loss of the things that the world has offered him but no longer does he counts as anything, for will they not all be given to another when he leaves? The loss of those that he loves, with a love that in no way they can understand, sorrows his heart, and although he prays for them to also know the Savior, he will not be coming back to their world, he searches for a world made without hands. (Acts 17:24)
The progression is usually the same, this individual has been searching in the world for fulfillment, and those around him have stood by and watched, criticizing, frustrated, but enabling in one form or another. After they have heeded the call of Christ, to those who have known this individual the best, it is seen as just another of the various and many paths that they have placed themselves on, but this “phase of life” doesn’t go away, it is not replaced by the next new desire. Christ becomes the standard of their life, there is continued growth and try as they might, they cannot pull him back into the accepted norm of the family unit, nothing they have to offer him from the world is of any value, all that they attempt to do to get him to relinquish this new found faith is of no avail. Any type of enablement that they offer is of no use, he is enabled to the tasks that are set before him by the power of the Holy Spirit, a power they cannot understand, his path is set before him and he will not deviate from it, he is lost to them.
When he falls, they tell him that perhaps this “Jesus stuff” was a bad idea, but they watch as he remains on his knees in prayer and repentance until the Lord his God tells him that it is time to return to the work. He loves his immediate family still, but it is with the love of Christ, a love they cannot understand, for he seems to share this love with all he meets. He has forsaken the world and its pleasures, the fellowship of his new family, those in the family of God, he seeks above their companionship, they have lost this family member to a new family, and they have no answers for what they see as a problem. Their love was not enough, yet he seems to be overflowing with love, their care and concern could not bring him back into the fold, yet he seems to care for all that he meets. He seeks things that they have no concern about and follows one who is invisible to them. They put up with him, and he prays for them.
If you my friends are going to follow Christ with all of your being, then you will find life both more lovely than you could ever imagine and more full than you ever thought possible, He is always there and this is not something that you can even say of your own brothers and sisters in Christ, not even of your beloved spouse even if they are serving Christ with the same ferocity as you are. He is always there because He is all we need. When our Lord allows me to go through trials, troubles, suffering and pain, my mind’s eye likes to envision that very first time that I will meet Him, for in that moment I will know that it was all worth it. If you have Christ, why do you fear the abandonment of your family and friends, if the riches of His glory are yours for the asking, why are you searching for happiness here, if your treasures are being laid up in Heaven, then why would you still be burying them here. All left Him and forsook Him, everyone, should you except any less?
One thing I always try to remember to tell those that I am witnessing to that seem prepared to make a decision is to count the cost, this isn’t a game, our Lord not only expects but deserves everything, all the time, no matter the cost to ourselves from His servants. When nothing in your life matters but Christ, then you will know that you are on the correct path, He is all we need, He is all anyone will ever need.