Adopted children bring a lot of baggage with them – some more than others, depending upon the age at which the adoption took place.
Probably the two biggest issues are distrust and the sense of being rejected. The adoptive parents will need to give an abundance of love, and exercise great patience if they are to overcome these high walls in their new child’s heart.
The Bible says that when we become followers of Jesus, God adopts us as well.
Do we have baggage? Oh yeah.
Let’s start with our first “father” – the devil himself. Think that won’t involve a boatload of over-sized suitcases?
He’s the kind of “father” who entices us to do every kind of evil imaginable – and then turns on us and begins to condemn us for the choices we made. The minute he tricks us into doing something wrong, he knows we’ve become “the children of wrath” – enemies of God. He’s got us, and he’s going to do his best to destroy us; and, at the same time, use us to cause as much damage to the people around us as possible.
He doesn’t really want us – only wants to use us to get even with God.
He is incapable of love – and can not tell the truth. Every word he utters is a lie…and most of them are about God, the rest are about us.
His destiny is hell – and he doesn’t want to be the only one there.
That’s the “father” we all start with.
Then one day, we meet Jesus. and everything changes.
The biggest difference is that His Dad, God, adopts us, and He desires only what is the very best for us.
Because of all the lies our first “father” told us about God, we don’t trust Him at all. Isn’t God all about keeping rules, and being boringly good, and never having any fun? That’s what we believe, and as a result, that’s how we approach Him.
Although our new Father showers us with love, we’re so head-shy that we flinch whenever we hear His voice; and because our first “father” taught us that “you don’t get something for nothing,” we feel buried under a load of obligation. We work and work and work, trying to “pay” for what we’ve been given, afraid of being dumped if we aren’t “producing” enough…and secretly we hate him for it.
Unlike some earthly adoptive parents have done (and I’m truly sorry if this happened to you), God doesn’t “give it His best shot” for a couple of years, then return us to the place where He first picked us up and say, “I’m sorry. I’ve tried everything, but this just isn’t going to work out.”
He will never leave us or forsake us – never!
I know this to be true, for I was one of the kids with the trust issues – one who was certain that it was only a matter of time before God my Father “put me back in the gutter where He found me.” When He says that He is looooong suffering, He wasn’t kidding. It took the Lord almost 30 years to win my confidence in Him. He put up with a lot of temper tantrums, accusations, and rebellion during those years. I’m so thankful that He did.
With this in mind, when we come across someone with a weak “faith walk,” perhaps we can extend some grace, remembering all that God our Father put up with us while we tested His boundaries, and tried His love to see if it was the real deal. We have no idea what kind of baggage that person came with (especially our fellow writers here, since we only “know” them by what they’ve written). We must share with others what we’ve experienced with our wonderful Father, and encourage them whenever possible.
At the same time, we know exactly what their “father” was like, and how he treated them, too. That should give us a great deal of compassion for their reluctance to just “let go and let God.”
Our former “father’s” way of getting us to do what he wanted was to manipulate us through guilt, shame, and condemnation. Let’s not partner with him and do likewise.
Adopted by the eternal God, invited to call Him “Abba Father.” Wow!
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