Many years ago while completing my undergraduate degree, I was studying the experiments of Josef Mengele. One experiment was on the effects of touch and affection on infants. One set of ”subjects” were given only the bare essentials. They were fed, changed, and given a bed. Many of the children were dying. Only those children from the second group, who were held, cuddled, and engaged with verbally, survived as well as thrived. Of course all of the subjects were prisoners, and even if they were in the second group, their worth was determined by their usefulness and they could be discarded or disposed of like any other laboratory animal would.
In Galatians 3:23-29, Paul paints an image of what life was like “under the law”. Our worth determined, our behavior evaluated, and our future limited by it. We were on our own and kept as prisoners by the legalism of the world. Only when we became part of the Body of Christ were we set free. But what is freedom if you are alone and an orphan? Paul says that we are “Children of God”, no longer under a category of separation. Paul goes on in Chapter 4 to speak about our “adoption to sonship”. “Sonship” is the status of being fully vested with the rights and authority of being born into a family.
It is a remarkable feeling to be adopted and considered as part of a family, to be loved as though you have always been there regardless of how long you were on your own or were refused participation anywhere you wanted to belong. It is life-changing to be called a son, father, mother, or daughter, but just as life-changing is being called brother or sister. Our place in the Body is not for anyone to deny because we are children of God. We have always been His, so it is we who have gone from bondage into family.
We have been given a wonderful gift from birth, even before birth. God has loved us from our conception and we are Children. A place to belong, a Father who loves us, and a family to embrace and be embraced by is waiting for us to accept, open, and redeem as Children of the Most High. While there are always some who would make family seem a burden or those within a family are difficult to endure, you are welcome at the table, you are invited, and your family is waiting for you to arrive.
Perhaps you are one of those who makes it difficult for others to feel welcome. You are a Child of God. You may need a reminder of just how precious you are and have His love poured out anew into you. I invite you to simply reach out for that love and let go of what keeps you from fully engaging with your family.
Am I resisting God’s love and therefore a place in His family?
What would have to happen for me to finally open up to God’s family?
What doubts can I suspend to free me to seek a family/church to love me?