Father’s Day is a special time for families—but that doesn’t mean it’s always an easy time. Like any holiday, Father’s Day can either be pleasant or painful, magical or mayhem. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on the heritage you’re leaving as a parent or grandparent, but that can be a cause for either celebration or concern.
Picture the family line of a good friend of mine. If the whole gang could somehow be brought together for a family reunion, I can only imagine the sparks that would fly.
- One of my friend’s female ancestors slept with her father-in-law and bore him twin boys.
- Another member of the family tree was a prostitute, known for being a very convincing liar.
- The family line included someone from a despised ethnic group that had its origins in incest between a father and daughter.
- Two ancestors were involved in an adulterous relationship, and the man ultimately killed his lover’s husband to keep the affair from being discovered.
- Several ancestors had multiple wives, and others were known for worshiping idols.
And you think you have some crazies in your family lineage?! The good news is that God is able to redeem terrible situations like these and transform them with His amazing grace.
How do I know? Because the Friend I’m referring to is Jesus.
Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1 reveals all of the sinful and dysfunctional ancestors I’ve described, and yet this was the human lineage of the Son of God. Instead of being able to boast of a spotless family lineage, the Bible describes our spotless Lord and Savior as “a root out of dry ground” (Isaiah 53:2).
So what does this mean for you and me? Several things:
- Experiencing and extending God’s grace. You need to experience God’s grace and then extend it to your imperfect, dysfunctional family members—just as you’re hopeful they will offer grace to cover your imperfections. If the twisted members of Jesus’ family tree could find grace enough to become a part of His royal lineage, then surely there’s hope for your weird relatives as well.
- No more blame-shifting. It’s time to quit blaming others and making excuses for our past. Sure, your family upbringing may have been a mess. But God stands ready to turn your MESS into your MESSAGE—if you’ll let Him. Through divine intervention, your family tree can undergo a new beginning today. You don’t have to fall into the same old sins and strongholds of your earthly heritage, because you’ve been redeemed from the “futile way of life inherited from your forefathers” (1 Peter 1:18). In Christ, you’re a new creation, no matter who your earthly ancestors were (2 Corinthians 5:17).
- Facing the facts. If I were writing the book of Matthew, I would have been tempted to doctor the records and “sanitize” Jesus’ family tree. Couldn’t Matthew have just listed all the success stories and none of the embarrassments of Jesus’ ancestors? Yet the beauty of the gospel is that it transforms sinners—people like you and me. If people were already perfect, they wouldn’t need to be transformed. So the next time you wish you could erase some names from your family tree, think again. Face the truth, and let it set you free (John 8:32).
During this special holiday, perhaps you’ll experience some regrets or face some things that deserve repentance. Yet as you allow God’s grace and mercy to fill your heart, you will be able to see your heritage in a new light, celebrating your family lineage more wholeheartedly than ever before.
Armed with this new grace-inspired vision, I pray the Lord will use you to bring hope and healing to those around you who need it most.