On October 9, 2017, Jackie Alexander, a school administrator in Utah, posted the video of an 11 year old girl celebrating, after learning she was being adopted by her foster parents. “My heart was so happy. It was like ‘Ah!’ I was like screaming,” Tannah Butterfield, the girl, told a reporter from KUTV. Tannah, along with her siblings, were going to be part of a forever family after all. It was a dream come true.
“From the door of an orph’nage to the house of the King,
No longer an outcast; a new song I sing.
From rags unto riches, from the weak to the strong,
I’m not worthy to be here, but praise God, I belong!”
Many a little girl has dreamed of being part of a wholesome family, where there is a mother, a father, a sister, and, maybe even a brother. A family where there is love, traditions, and precious memories to be stored up for a lifetime.
Unfortunately, there are far too many families which are divided. The wife hates her husband, and the husband shows no respect to his wife. Children are pitted against their parents, and forced to take sides. Behind closed doors, a place designed by God to be a haven of peace, and harmony, is a battleground, where the most dark and violent emotions are displayed. There is verbal and physical abuse. There is the smashing of dishes, furniture, and sometimes a face, when a physical assault takes place.
Legislation cannot solve the verbal and physical violence, the unspeakable cruelty, and sexual abuse that far too often takes place in homes. Every law passed against domestic violence is violated by multitudes every day, in every way, in every state in the USA. Domestic violence statistics show every nine seconds a woman is abused in the United States. Here are some other statistics.
3.3 million: Estimated number of children in the USA, each year, that witness violence against their mother, or female caretaker, by a family member.
40 to 60: Percentage of men who abuse women, who also abuse children.
1 in 5: Number of teenage girls who said they have been in a relationship where the boyfriend threatened violence, or self-harm, if a breakup was to occur.
85: Percentage of domestic violence victims who are women.
175,000: Number of workdays American employees miss, each year, on account of domestic violence.
40 to 70: Percentage of female murder victims in the U.S. who were killed by their husbands, or boyfriends, often within an ongoing abusive relationship. (The Glendale Star, Arizona)
Money cannot stop people from hurting one another. The popular television show, Law and Order, has recreated the story of the Menendez Murders.
On August 20, 1989, 21 year old Lyle Menendez and his 18 year old brother Erik, slaughtered, without mercy, their parents in the den of the family’s home in Beverly Hills, at 722 North Elm Drive. The father, José Menendez, was shot point-blank in the back of the head with a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun. Kitty, the mother of Lyle and Erik, “awakened by the shots, got up from the couch and ran for the hallway but was shot in the leg. She slipped in her own blood and fell and was then shot several times in the arm, chest, and face, leaving her unrecognizable.” (Wikipedia)
While the actual murder of parents might be extreme, the hatred in the heart that led up to the murder is not. Wives openly confess to hating their husbands. Husbands openly acknowledge they despise their wives. Children cannot wait to reach a legal age to escape the hostility in the home. Many children go on to marry, and then produce a family, based on the only pattern they have known, a family of incredible verbal and psychological cruelty. The sins of the parents are passed on to the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate the Lord, because the love of God has not been modeled in the home.
Separation cannot stop people from hurting one another. There are individuals who stalk family members, and, many times, compel individuals to return to an unholy and unhealthy environment. Promises are made. Meaningless words of remorse are uttered. But soon familiar aggressive behavior is manifested when someone is offended, or feels disrespected.
There are children who grow up wondering all the way through their developing years if the cyclical madness they are caught up in is normal. Children experience times of peace and happiness followed by sudden angry shouting, vile accusations, and profanity. One parent or the other drinks to excess. Then, suddenly, like a summer storm, there is calm. No one seems to know what word, or action will trigger the next cycle of madness. And, if the trip wires are known, no one really cares about changing their own behavior to avoid confrontation.
Fortunately, not every family is dysfunctional. There are some very fortunate children who grow up knowing they are wanted and adored. There are families where mother and father love and care for one another. There are families where children are not ridiculed, but respected, and where every effort is made to give them moral values, wise counsel, and visible love.
Best of all, there is one family that is designed to manifest all that is good, decent, and holy. It is a forever family, which every person can be part of. It is the family of God.
A person becomes part of this forever family by being born into it by way of the new birth. This is a great mystery, but by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, a person can be reborn, and thereby become a child of God. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” (1 John 3:1)
When a person becomes part of the forever family, they will have God as their Father, Christ as their Elder Brother, and the Holy Spirit as their Comforter. They will have a book, the Bible, to guide them through life and answer any question of concern. They will have an extended family of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, through the local church.
“You will notice we say “brother” and “sister” ’round here;
It’s because we’re a family and these folks are so near.
When one has a heartache we all share the tears,
And rejoice in each vict’ry in this fam’ly so dear.
They will be given, by God, a pastor to love and shepherd them. Best of all they will one day live in a mansion in heaven with the saints of the ages, while holy angels circle the throne of God crying, “Holy! Holy! Holy!”
For every unhappy and displaced man, woman, or child, living in a dysfunctional family, know this truth. There is a forever family that you are welcome to become part of. It is yours for the asking, and yours for the receiving. You are welcomed and wanted. You will be loved, provided for, and protected all the days of your life, and beyond, throughout the ages. Come now, and be part of the Forever Family of God.
“I’m so glad I’m a part of the fam’ly of God!
I’ve been washed in the fountain,
Cleansed by His blood.
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod,
For I’m part of the fam’ly,
The fam’ly of God.” (William and Gloria Gaither)