Strengthening The Family (Part One: Vacating Shame Through Love)
Strengthen a family; strengthen a nation. If the family is holy, a nation will be holy. The time has come to redeem lost ground, and recapture what was stolen from the family as a whole. If we are going to strengthen the family and restore what was lost and stolen, if we are going to take back what should never have been given away in the first place, then we have to do it on the Father’s terms. We need to pattern our families after God’s design. There are some important questions to ask ourselves. Starting with, how does the Father treat His children? Secondly, do we treat each other as the Father treats us? Looking at the Father and Jesus, do our relationships even remotely resemble their relationship as One? What needs changing?
In this series, we will start with filling the house with love and vacating shame. We know that love is what holds relationships together. One of the ways Satan has struck at the family is by attacking our love one for another. A method he uses to keep the family void of love is filling the household with shame. Shame is the demonic counter part of conviction. While conviction will lead people to repentance and reconciliation, shame causes resentment and separation. Shame does not bring correction; it causes more damage as well as more isolation. Those who feel shame will run away from God, while those who feel conviction from the Holy Spirit will run to God. Likewise, those who feel ashamed will avoid those who have disgraced or humiliated them.
Parents who employed shame as part of raising their children become disappointed because their children will not talk with them. They cannot figure out why they will not open up to them. In fact, in many cases, as they mature into adulthood they rarely come around to visit. Shame has put a wedge in their relationship. Trust has long been broken because safety was removed from the relationship. Meaning, the children do not feel safe to share their feelings, hopes, dreams and failings with their parents because they belittled them in their past. The home should be a sanctuary. It should be a place of safety and healing. Children rely on their parents to build them up, and when they do the opposite, their trust is broken. Question for you parents: when the Father corrects you, does He use shame in the process? If you ever felt shame because of failure, that was not God! That was the enemy of your soul seeking to isolate you from the Father. God does not employ such methods!
The family also refers to the Church as a whole (see Ephesians 5:21-6:4). Therefore, these same principles apply to church families. When a congregation uses shame in its teachings, it invites a religious spirit. It encourages isolationism because no one feels safe to express his or her faults to each other (see James 5:16). Consequently, many silently struggle with their shortcomings because they feel that they will be judged by others if they do. Secret sins and hurts remain secret because there is no one they can trust to restore them in a spirit of meekness (see Galatians 6:1-2). Often such “houses of worship” are vacant of young adults because they chose to flee from such stagnant environments. They experienced religion instead of the relationships they were supposed to have with God and their church family.
Just as God loves us in spite of our sins and shortcomings, we must learn to do the same with each other in the home and in the Church. Because the Lord does not accept sin, and is not content to leave us in our shortcomings, He provided a way to rid them. Nevertheless, He does not use shame or humiliation in the process. Shame is selfish, whereas, love seeks the benefit the other. Those who use humiliation are generally more concerned that their children reflect poorly on them. The Father is more concerned about His children being all they can be. His is more concerned about us being conformed to the image of Jesus than He is about image altogether. This means when He disciplines His children, He does it with their best interest at heart. Everything He does is intended to draw His children closer to Himself; not push them away. The Father raises His children up; He does not beat them down. Love strengthens the family!