Last week, millions of people had birthdays, but when my son turned 3 and my daughter turned 6, those were special days. Why? Family. The wall at my daughter’s school is full of pictures of "Students of the Month." But one is more heart-warming to me than any other. Why? Family.
Family makes things better, doesn’t it? Then again, I’m sure there have been plenty of people upset with you or disappointed with you in your life — but when your wife won’t talk to you without that anger in the voice — or when your dad told you that you let him down — that hurts so much more, doesn’t it? Why? Family.
You see, God has given us family. Just like he did for Adam in our text from Genesis 2 — he has done for us. He made a "helper suitable." Then he tells us not to do anything to harm those "helpers suitable" he’s given us. But let’s be honest, we do. We fail our spouse, and our kids, really anyone we have relationships with. God wants us to give them perfect love to make it easier for them to love — but our love is flawed, all too often selfish. Instead of composing poems of appreciation and excitement over our wives like Adam did, guys, how often do you find your head making a list of the things that are disappointing you about her? Or wives, how often don’t your conversations mimic the sitcoms where it seems that a husband is closer to a nuisance than a gift of God?
That kind of thinking wrecks relationships. And what’s worse is that it also destroys the relationship between us and God. If a husband’s love for his wife is to be like Christ’s for the church and hers is like the Church to Christ — what does failure there say about what we think about God? We need help for our broken and breaking relationships.
Here it is: The same one who put us together with each other in the first place stepped in and put us back together with him — through the blood of his son. Here’s what the writer to the Hebrews said: But we see Jesus…, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10 In bringing many sons to glory…. 11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.
There were irreconcilable differences between us (sinners) and God (holy). Those two don’t meet. But — "Glory be to Jesus" as the writer to the Hebrews said, he suffered, so that by his grace, he might taste our death. He drank the cup of our suffering. You know how when someone wrongs you, you sometimes want them to taste that pain, you want them to have to suffer for it, and you twist that thorn in a little…Jesus felt those thorns. Jesus drank to its dregs the cup of all of that vengeance and repercussion for our sins. He tasted death to bring us to glory — and look at what it says — he made us a part of his family. Because he has — in all actuality and fact — changed what we are from sinner to saint — he is not ashamed to call us brothers. God is proud of us — that is how forgiven we are. That is how perfectly he has restored our relationship with him.
When we remember that, we won’t just celebrate that we have a helper suitable, we will be that helper suitable. Get into God’s Word to remind yourself of his love. It will show in yours.
Rev. Jonathan Scharf is pastor of Abiding Grace Lutheran Church in Covington. Full sermons and more information can be found at www.abidinggrace.com.