2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
I have a friend named Martha. When she was very young, her father left the family, leaving Martha, her brother and mother destitute and mourning. Martha’s mother began to eat to deal her with emotional distress. Martha’s mother eventually was diagnosed with diabetes and died when Martha was still a teenager. Martha’s younger brother tried to commit suicide to cope with losing his mother. Martha spent all her mother’s life insurance helping her brother recover from his suicide attempt and go to therapy, all while she was still a teen.
Incredibly, Martha rose above her family tragedies and went to law school. She found Jesus (or more like Jesus found her). She got a high-paying job in Chicago and met a man with an awesome family and they decided to marry.
The day before her wedding, Martha’s father showed up in Chicago to walk her down the aisle. He had heard from a family member that Martha was doing well and getting married. Martha’s friends (including me) could not believe this man who caused so much family tragedy and abandoned Martha was now here two decades later to reap all the reward.
Incredibly, Martha decided to allow her father to walk her down the aisle. She told me later of the incident: “Amy, if Jesus could forgive me, I can forgive my father. Besides, I want my own family to be different than the one I was born into.”
There, on her wedding day, Martha stopped mourning the family she never had and began laying the foundation for her own family. She began to live out the verse above: “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” As she walked down the aisle toward her new husband, Martha was showing all of us that day that her family would be different: it would be a family based upon Christ’s forgiveness and compassion.
Ten years and two children later, Martha’s own family is drastically different from the family Martha was born into.
Many of us (especially during the holidays) mourn the perfect family we never had. We watch the Hallmark commercials with disdain knowing our family of origin never looked that “perfect.” This year, I believe Christ is asking you to let go of the way you thought your family should look. Instead, like Martha, learn how to begin laying the foundation for the family you desire. It begins with forgiveness.
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