Friday, May 10, 2013

Family Ties

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends" - John 15:13 We're just returning from trips to Des Moines, Baton Rouge and Fort Worth to spend time with family. Whew. We put in lots of miles, ate a lot of food and carried lots of suitcases, but it's always worth the hassle. In the end, it's all about family. Blood really is thicker than water and I'm more and more convinced that God created us humans to need each other. We can claim independence, but we're all needy, especially for those who share our gene pool. One of my favorite movies is "Legends of the Fall." I know, it's intense and not suited for kids but it's a beautiful movie about family. I've discovered in all my years of working with families that they are always in constant change. Families are just a microcosm of ourselves- always moving and searching for truth. In Legends of the Fall, the Ludlow family, who live in rustic Montana, find their niche. Through loss and tragedy, two of the brothers grow apart. In anger, Tristan and Alfred go their separate ways. And the dad sides with Tristan. Fast forward to a scene at the end of the movie, when Tristan is about to be shot by the corrupt police. A shot rings out from nowhere to save the trapped Tristan. He and his dad turn to see that Alfred has protected his brother. The father walks over to his estranged son, pauses, and gives him a huge hug, the first in many years. In the end, the brothers and the father reconcile. I cry every time I see that scene. I cry because I love reconciliation. It's what I try to help others discover. Is it because there is some deep need I have to connect with my own family? Maybe, but I don't think so. I'm close to all my family. I think it's a God-given desire we all possess. We all have a void left by the wound of Sin. We long for connection, ultimately with our Creator. Connection with family won't fix it, but when we've corrected the connection problem with God, we're okay. And, connection with family stirs love. My favorite movie number two is even more intense. "Man on Fire" is about Creasy, a burned-out CIA assassin who is lost, addicted and unconnected. He is working in the civilian world as a bodyguard for a prominent family in Mexico. As time passes, he bonds with Pita, the little girl of the family. All is peaceful, as he grows closer to her. Then the girl is kidnapped and Creasy wounded. In love, he finds the girl and saves her. He saves her by offering himself to the kidnappers in exchange for her freedom. They grant the request, she runs to her mother and Creasy dies in the hands of the captors. I cry every time I see that scene too (I know, I'm a cry baby). That's the true definition of family: sacrifice. It's about giving up something of ourselves for the benefit of those we love. And then we become the beneficiary. Jesus gave up Himself so that we might have a relationship with God. It was and will always be the ultimate example of selflessness. Reach out to your family today. Sure, they're weird, hard to understand and different, but so are you! Go see them, if you can. But it's not about geography. Connect from wherever you are. And let the blood grow thicker and thicker. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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