For this reason Jesus had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way so he could be their merciful and faithful high priest in service to God. Then Jesus could die in their place to take away their sins. Hebrews 2:17 NCV

People put a lot of stock in heritage. It seems like the smaller the town you live in, the more that is true.

“It’s really no surprise. You know what his father is like.”

“I went to school with her mother. She was the same way. Never finished school as I recall.”

“Don’t hang around with those kids. They come from bad families.”

It’s easy to fall into the trap of a critical spirit when we look at other people and their families. On one hand we look at them and make decisions on their motives based on their past. On the other hand we can go the opposite direction and compare our family to theirs (I wish my spouse would do that for me; I wish our kids could be as responsible as theirs.)

Families matter and today they matter more than ever because the very concept of family has fallen into disrepute, attack and confusion. Jesus knew about families. He grew up in one. He learned the struggle of dealing with younger brothers and sisters. He endured the mistakes of young, first time parents. But more importantly, he had a strong heritage before him.

Jesus had a direct line to David on both his mother’s side and his earthly step-father’s side. That’s impressive. But don’t forget about the others that lined the path to the manger inBethlehem. Some were swindlers that thought nothing of cheating their brother. Some were murderers. Even David, his namesake, was a poor parent, slept with a friends wife murdered to cover up his crime and quite often protected himself at the expense of his countrymen.

Jesus had a dysfunctional family heritage. That’s good news for us because most of us come from families at some level of being dysfunctional. The paths of our lives are lined with lust, affairs, failure, financial struggles, divorce, abuse and a wide range of other issues that keep us defeated. Since Jesus’ ancestors struggled with the same things he knows what your family is like.

You may say to those who judge your family, “But you don’t understand”, and from a human perspective you may be right. No one knows the pain you have gone through as the result of your family. But Jesus does!

Talk to him about your family. Tell him your struggles and fears. Remind him of the hurt others have caused you. He understands because his family, like yours, was imperfect.       

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank you for the fact that you understand the pain and frustration of my family. Empower me to overlook the accusations others throw my way regarding my past and my heritage. Give me the grace I need to accept my family, just as you have given me grace. Amen.