ODJ: families and pendulums
July 7, 2014
READ: Genesis 25:19-34
Isaac loved Esau because he enjoyed eating the wild game Esau brought home, but Rebekah loved Jacob (v.28).
My middle-aged friend was struggling to value his local church. He was raised in a home that emphasised a personal relationship with God but didn’t care much for organised religion. When his parents were younger, their church had stopped preaching the gospel, so they became suspicious of all churches. They passed their scepticism on to their son. I’m hoping he won’t over compensate and allow corporate worship to replace his own time in prayer and reading God’s Word.
Pendulum swings are hard to avoid. People who strictly follow the rules—like the Jews in Romans 2:17-29—can respond so eagerly to the gospel of grace that they become the sinners of Romans 6:1: “Should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?” On the flip side, some who know the freedom of grace may yearn for the false security of the law, and begin to strive “to become perfect by [their] own human effort” (Galatians 3:3).
We’re all born into an arc of the pendulum swing, raised to react to forces we don’t even know are there. Jacob favoured Joseph over his brothers just as Jacob’s mother favoured him and his father favoured his brother Esau (Genesis 25:28). Jacob deceived others just as his father and grandfather did (12:10-20, 20:1-18, 26:7-11). Our families influence us, even though we might try to deny it.
Can you articulate the values that your parents passed on to you—not just the values they taught but the values you caught? Were any of these reactionary—a spendthrift mum responding to her tightfisted father or an authoritarian father responding to his passive dad? You can’t stop the pendulum until you know that you’re swinging. —Mike Wittmer
365-day plan› Luke 7:36-8:3
Read Exodus 2:1-25 to learn how the values Moses learned from his family sustained him even as he grew up in Pharaoh’s palace.
What values did you receive from your parents? What of your values intentionally differ from those of your parents? How can over correction be a problem?