It has long been said that blood is thicker than water. And, in some cases, blood runs extremely thin, and water clings like blood.
Family issues are never easy to deal with. And, one would think that the addition of prayer, and spirituality, would all but make it easier. But, as I’ve learned, that is not always the case.
In late 1994, long after I had drifted away from the church, a friend of mine, who was still going to church faithfully, found out that her daughter had been molested by a young man(not the father) that she had introduced into her, and her children’s home.
She was devastated by what had happened to her child. And she was angry, disappointed, and filled with guilt. So, knowing that her mom had a devout relationship with God, that she knew a word of prayer, and knowing that her mom loved her granddaughter, that was the very first call she made; she called to tell her mom the gruesome story about what had happened to her child.
After hanging up the phone with her mother, she called me. All I knew to do was to tell her I’d be praying. I couldn’t imagine what she must be feeling, so I didn’t want to offer any advice for fear of saying the wrong thing. She told me that she was going to drive over to her mom’s house, and that she would call me once she got back. She left my house confident that by the time she returned, after having her mom pray for her daughter, and for her, it was all going to be alright.
About 10p.m. that same night, after I didn’t hear from my friend, which was unusual in it’s own right, I decided to give her a call, and check on her. When she answered, the gurgle in her voice, the hurt that came through the phone, sent a chill through my entire body.
“What happened? What’s the matter? Is everything alright?”
I asked her the questions knowing something was extremely wrong. That kind of hurt is apparent. The questions were out of simple courtesy.
“She told me my baby was lying on Derek. She actually looked me in the eye, and told me that if it were true, then my daughter let him! She’s nine. He’s twenty eight. And she said ‘she let him’!”
I was floored. I know her mom. She is one of the highest ranking mother’s in the church; one of the most dedicated-to-God individuals that you would ever meet. She has one of the most compassionate hearts that I’ve ever encountered, so I just could not find the words.
“Oh, my God Dierdre. What did you say to her?” I asked.
“I didn’t say a thing. I just dropped my head. I looked at my daughter, tried to guage her reaction to make sure she didn’t break down. But, I didn’t say a thing. I didn’t want to get in trouble with the Lord.”
After all was said, and done, Deirdre ended up going through her trial alone. Her mother, being as strong as she was within the family, ultimately ended up turning the whole family against the Deirdre, convincing them that she must be, for some reason lying on the guy. They stood against her, the entire family did, and stood with the accused. Even after the courts presented evidence of Derek’s guilt, even after his guilty plea, because her mother did not want to accept what had happened, Deirdre was outcast from everyone that she loved and knew. But, they didn’t take one factor into account: They were not just her family; her mother, her siblings. They were also her church family.
How sad is that? The very person who had taught this young lady about the grace, and mercy, and love of Jesus Christ, couldn’t manage, in those first few moments, to show her own child any mercy at all. And, the very people who should’ve been there to support her, her ‘church family, her pastor, her siblings’, turned their back on her. That would be a bitter pill for any of us to swallow.
To this day, although Deirdre prays, and occasionally attends service, she cannot find her way completely back to the church. While knowing that every person has to seek for him/herself a place in the Kingdom of the Most High, I completely understand her apprehension.
It matters. When we preach, and teach, the Word of God, we often think first about how we will be viewed by those who have zero knowledge of God, and the inner workings of the church; we think about winning stray souls to Christ. But, why do we disregard our behaviors around our children, and other family members, when they have souls, too?
We must stop taking for granted the fact that we believe they know the truth of true holiness, especially when we are the first example, the first to introduce them to Christ. We must stop, and think about them first being human beings. Then, empathy dictactes that we mentally place ourselves in their shoes, and ask ourselves “How would I feel if this were me?”
Far too many “church kids” are being lost to the world simply because the way that they see family members behave at church, comes nowhere near to what they see at home. At church, other’s kids are being spoken to with love, they are given hugs, they are shown patience, by us! But, we get our own children in our presence, whether they are toddlers, or teens, adolescents, or adults, and we are short tempered, unmerciful, and sometimes, down-right nasty.
It matters. Our children, for the most part are, are intelligent human beings. And, news flash, all their peers talk about is “fake”this, and ” keep it real” that. So, when they see you contradict the very thing that you’ve worked so hard to instill in them, you virtually undo all of your Gospel teachings. And, you are leaving them to find a way to figure it all out on their own.
Yes, we are to “train up a child in the way that’s he(or she)should go”as stated in Proverbs 22:6, but all of that is moot if your actions at home fall out of line with the will of God.
It is time to realize that IT ALL MATTERS.