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Holding Up the Family Name

I remember a few years ago the great lengths almost any family would go to in order to hold up the name of the family. If someone did something that brought dishonor to the family, there were swift and difficult consequences. Where I grew up, if a young girl conceived a child out of wedlock, all of a sudden, she was not there. She was shipped off to a relative somewhere up North and you did not see her again for a year or so. If someone in the family turned homosexual, the family rejected them… even disowned them. There were stiff penalties for dishonoring the family name. If someone in the family was an alcoholic, the family covered it up with excuses and diversions.

Do I agree with that… certainly not. When people are in trouble, especially family, that is the time for them to pull together. Does that mean you have to agree with the sin or admire the action… No!

The family name is one of the most precious things we have on this earth. Some have more pride in their families than others, but all of us, to some degree anyway, want a good family name. We like it when someone refers to us and says, “They come from a good family.”

I’ve watched women cry and hurt over selfish, self-centered husbands. I’ve heard them call them almost every name in the book. I’ve heard them talk of their children as if they were cannibals or some kind of monsters. I’ve watched them go down the family line, lifting each member up, and working them over with a verbal baseball bat. Here is the interesting part; you listen to that stuff until you get into the rhythm with them. Suddenly your tongue slips and you make some off-stage remark about that “meat-headed” husband of hers or those “wild-eyed” children… and then the fireworks start. “Don’t you talk about my husband that way,” she says. He is good. He is kind sometimes. He knows how to be a good husband and father. “My kids are not so bad,” she says. Whoa! What’s happening here? This lady is doing everything to protect the family name. You’ve heard this. You’ve seen this. Perhaps… you’ve done this.

The family name is something to be treasured. Now to the point. What about God’s family? What about the name we wear as followers of the Christ? What about the name we wear that is a direct reflection on the head of the body, who is Jesus? Do we bring honor to that name?

As our children grow up and begin to test life for themselves, they often go through a period of rebellion. They push against every rule… challenge every statement… question every family tradition and generally make everyone miserable. We know it is temporary, but we always wonder what kind of damage will be done to the family during that time. What kind of damage will each member of the family suffer, including her or him?

In the church, we tend to park our brains a bit. Someway, somehow we disassociate the “ home” family with the “church” family. Maybe it is time we considered the family name. Do my actions or reactions in any given situation reflect poorly on the family of God? Did I take into consideration my brothers and sisters in my decision to do this or that? These are questions that should be asked.

People jump from one church to another without any consideration of the family that has come to love and adore them. They often do not consider the “ties” they have with people and the “co-dependancy” to themselves they developed in those who followed them so closely. They skip and hop with no consideration of family. It feels to the new convert or the ones encouraged by their lives like it does to a child when he wakes up one morning and discovers that daddy is gone and will not be coming back. Hearts are crushed… simply because we don’t honor the family name.

Our actions often bring shame on the name of the family. We often flirt with the world and get caught up in her web of evil with little consideration as to how it will affect the church family. How sad!

Think about your family name. Hey, the family of God is the one that counts the most. How is your reflection? Are you proud to be called by the name “Christian?” Can we too be proud of you?