I have become absolutely convinced that
neither death nor life,
neither messenger of Heaven nor monarch of earth,
neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow,
neither a power from on high nor a power from below,
nor anything else in God’s whole world
has any power to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Romans 8:38, 39 (Phillips)
Over the years, I’ve had many home addresses. Spiritually, I’ve had only one: 83839 Romans Road – nothing can separate me from God’s love
A couple beginning a family may well spend some time dwelling on Paul’s mighty manifesto of our Father God’s unconditional love found in Romans 8.
As the years roll by, an annual review of the whole chapter would help keep their world from turning upside down, steady their spiritual perspective. And as children develop the skills to do this, parents would do well to bring kids into these wonderful truths and sit a spell to think about them…talk together about them.
For, the Christian family has many enemies…insidious whisperers about God’s unconditional love…challenging His intentions and ability to keep His promises. Three of the most powerful are anger, addiction, and apathy.
When anger becomes rage, when our needs control our good judgment, when fatigue saps our strength to do what is right – then, we have real problems. This triple-A threat is evidence that our Enemy – that Evil Whisperer – takes God’s good gifts, distorts and dilutes them, and turns them against us.
For unhealthy anger is really our saying, I don’t like you, God. Our addictions declare, I don’t need you, God, to satisfy me. And our apathy whines, I’m too tired to obey you, God.
We do well when we remember that God puts no restrictions, no time limits on His love. Like the prodigal son, when we forget this and then ‘come to our senses,’ our Father God makes everything that happens fit into a pattern for good. (Romans 8:28) And His arms are always open wide to welcome us home when we take ‘vacations’ from His providence.
Are there some practical strategies to help us keep a healthy, joyful home at Romans 83839? Of course, there are many and they are not difficult to find. Here is a just a sampling.
**I wonder if anyone can report that when meting out discipline, they’ve begun with , “God loves you; so do we, but we cannot accept this behavior. So, we must reward you with consequences.” Don’t laugh! This may keep you from punishing while angry, a very unhealthy response.
**We balance unconditional love with conditional acceptance when we refuse to respond to one of the injured parties reporting in until we’ve heard from the other party. Some parents have found it productive not to engage in inter-sibling conflicts at all.
** Some parents listen to their kids more than they lecture. Now there’s a novel idea!
**And blessed are the parents who don’t gang up on their kids. I witnessed it once when one parent ranted until he was out of breath, but no worry, the other parent was ready to take her turn.
So, please remember, and be encouraged:
If God is for us, who can be against us? Can we not trust such a Good Father to give us, with our Savior, everything else that we can need? (from Romans 8:31,32)