The Father's house- welcome home
Updated: May 2
"Anyone who leaves his house, his brothers and sisters, his parents, his children or his possessions behind to follow me will receive all this back a hundredfold and will receive eternal life. 30 Many who now have a great name will then be insignificant. And others who are last today will be first there." (Mt 19:29)
"I will give them a place in my house and within my walls, and a better name than sons and daughters; an everlasting name will I give them, which shall not pass away." ( Isaiah 56:5)
"He who lives without Christ stands outside the door of the Father's house; homeless in the street." (Ambrose of Milan)
My dear friends,
it has been a long time since I left a friend's house hurt and irritated.
Young I was, and eagerly I waited for the man whom God would place by my side.
The call had come spontaneously. A good acquaintance called me excitedly in her overenthusiastic way, a world-famous preacher from the States had agreed to give an exclusive teaching in her living room. It was about the right choice of partner, and "that was also my topic". It was an unmatched honor that she, who carried so much anointing, was offering this.
So I went, slightly irritated by this cult of leadership that accompanied these words. The woman I met (and of whom I had never heard before) was rich. Obviously filthy rich, that was immediately revealed by a glance at her self-satisfied face, her gold bling and her designer clothes.
Researching, I looked into her eyes- and found coldness. No, I didn't like her. She seemed so self-confident that it bordered on arrogance.
With a patronizing face, she began to give us the instructions on how to choose our future spouses:
"You want a God-fearing man, not one who compromises."
"You must find him ( with a put on giggle) attractive, it's no good waking up with him later thinking, "Oh my goodness!". No, physical attraction is important too! No one wants an ugly man!"
"You want a man who has his stuff together and doesn't carry around hidden sin. You don't want an alcoholic and you want him to have kept himself clean. And of course, you don't want someone who has a problem with pornography!"
"You want a man who can provide for you. Who can protect you. Not a mama's boy!"
Up to this point, I still saw the checklist-at least sort of. A little much external factors and a lot of morals, I thought. There was no mention of love and connection. Something was askew. It seemed to me more like the bazaar for the acquisition of a breeding stallion- but- well. She was, after all, ...anointed! A great leader!
At least that's what my acquaintance said, hanging on her lips with beaming eyes. Maybe...it was me who was the problem....
But then it happened: As the last point she took out the all-round blow.
"Of course you have to meet his family. Of course you don't want generational curses to be passed on to you! You don't want a man from an unchristian house! Nor do you want a man with a broken past! Believe me, dear ones, there are enough good homes out there from which you can choose a husband! You don't need a wreck. If his family is a disaster, then turn around and leave. You don't need that, you are worth more. God wants to bless you with better!"
Her words were like a slap in the face.
I stood up in a jerk, grabbed my jacket and fled out the front door. Tears welled up in my eyes, my heart raced in pain and unbearable shame. "No!" it raged inside me, "not again!"
"Never, Jesus," I whimpered short of breath-"never will I find a Christian man."
All the shame of my lowly origins, broken family, poverty and exclusion washed over me like a huge wave and held me captive. Unattainable the dream of living for Jesus and doing better. Unattainable- the vision of being allowed to become the woman he had created me to be. Impossible- to find a man with whom I could live for Jesus. "
"Not for you. There are women from better, holier homes. Plenty."
Alcoholism. Illness. Strife. Poverty. Lack of Christian pedigree. Non-believing siblings. And a mother who was a heart, but -severely disabled. And I myself- was also not the pure virgin that was propagated here as the measure of all things. Worthless. Unacceptable. Grubby child. My "not being worthy" of the Father's good gifts- was poured over my head as if with a cornucopia of curses.
"If that's what counts, Jesus- then I will always be lonely. If those are the criteria for a good Christian marriage, then I have nothing to offer. You are all I have. I only have my heart full of love and longing for you. Doesn't that count for anything?"
Rarely have I felt more empty, meaningless, and worthless than I did that day.
Origin. The house you come from.
Are you a donkey or a racehorse? Your origin decides. Are you from a good home, or are you the child of a single mother? A child of a home?
Were your family circumstances blessed or destroyed? Did you grow up sheltered or unprotected? Was there love and carelessness or lack of everything?
From an early age, you are defined by what your family represents. By the clothes you wear, the part of town you come from: Are you rich? Are you poor? Do you go on ski trips? Do you wear Diesel, Benetton, Camp David - or do you wear second hand or cheap goods from China? Is your father a doctor or a street sweeper? Is your mother a manager or a cleaning lady?
Your status determines your value in this society. And if you don't fulfill it, then you are worthless - is the verdict of this cruel, fallen world. All the good, the desirable, the beautiful that is bestowed upon others seems unreachable, while you crawl back into your corner, from which you can only watch longingly and sadly.
A wound was opened that day.
No, I could not offer this demanded pedigree.
Instead, I had a lot of struggles, aberrations, missed goals and suffering in my luggage. A lot of fear and a chronic feeling of having fallen short, while the world demanded everything of me.
And now- also broke God's promise that His grace alone counted for me- or at least it seemed that way. Hopelessness. Giving up. Resignation. "The stain that I am better go back to the gutter from whence it came. How could I think there was any good for me?"
To this day, tears well up in my eyes when I think about it. And I think many, many feel the same way.
What is my identity? Where do I belong? And can I even be loved with my story?
It is one's own neediness, one's own brokenness that comes across when one is judged in such a way. But is it justified? No. It is the worst false teaching that exists in Christian circles.
It is a shame that in Christian circles one is judged for one's origin; that there is even talk of generational curses being passed on to one through one's partner's family history. It is not for nothing that God has put personal responsibility in the place of such clannishness:
How can a child of God still be under God's curse, God's wrath? How can a child of God be held responsible for the transgressions of his ancestors?
"For only he who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; but the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him alone, and the unrighteousness of the unrighteous shall be upon him alone." (Ezekiel 18:20)
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit, which quickeneth in Christ Jesus, hath made thee free from the law of sin and death. " ( Romans 8:2)
But it also reveals something that is not understood:
All that was before, that was without Jesus, it is washed clean in His blood. It was, it is no more. For God's children, it must no longer matter where you came from or what happened. You are placed in a new house, a new origin. And bruised as you are, you are brought into the Father's house, clothed anew and healed. You now wear the signet ring of His house, the signet ring of new life in Jesus, and on it is written:
"Saved by grace and added to the house of God."
Your identity henceforth is in him, in him alone.
And in his house there are no hierarchies of better and worse. In his house there are brothers and sisters who were all added to this protective castle by the same way-and none ever found their way there alone.
The entrance to this house, the only way was the admission of one's own failure. The only way into the greatest, most beautiful, most honorable house of eternity is Jesus and the acceptance of His grace:
"Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (Colossians 3,11; NIV)
Now, you belong to that house. He has called you by name, you are His-forever.
You are no longer what the world defined you as. You are no longer what your origin imparts to you. You are no longer what happened to you, what you did, where you failed, nor what filled you with pride. Now you are part of God's Father's house. This is where your identity lies alone.
What kind of house is this?
A rich one! A joyful one! A loving one! With a righteous Father who is so great and powerful that it could be scary if- yes, if he were not love in person. The house of a father who holds all the strings in his hand. A house where you are to learn what it means to be a child of God.
Do you live in his house?
No. You are sent out. You are clothed, you are identified as his child. But you have not yet been brought into his house. Jesus has left you behind - but not orphaned. He has placed by your side the Comforter, the Advocate, the Teacher you need. The Holy Spirit himself. He asked that the Father would keep you. (John 17).
But why do you have to live a little while longer in the fallen world?
Because there are many, many who are told just like you that they are worth nothing. Because there are many like you who chose wrong ways. And because there are many Pharisees who keep the door to the Father's house closed, out of pride, arrogance and vanity. And your task is to grow into your identity, to trust the Father, to let Him provide for you, and to trust in His provision and authority, while caring for those in whose faces you read how they suffer. How lost they are.
Because the Father wants them all to be saved.
The man I finally met, who has been by my side for 15 years now, with whom I have had a Christian marriage for 13 years now, was God's perfect choice. He didn't care what or how my family is set up- he has his hurts too. He is not perfect- and neither am I. The beautiful thing is that we don't expect that from each other. Often he holds a knowledge that I don't and I hold one that he lacks. And above all, we know that we belong to Jesus. And that he makes the imperfect perfect- as long as we do our best, and as long as we love.
What it means to belong to this Father's house, what provision you can expect, what the goals are and how you can find your way into your tasks- that's what this week's daily weekly theme posts on my Facebook page and in the community groups are all about:
And certainly in the next blog posts.
Be blessed, child of God. You belong to the Father, so don't be lied to, robbed or stolen from.
Sibylle bat Yahweh.
The Holy Bible: "Hope for all" translation, quoted with www.bibleserver.com
Worship: "Beloved" by Seth &Rachel Enos.