A little background about this post: My wife and I are getting ready to enter into a ministry of reconciliation. We have been blessed enough to partner with Jesus in creating and restoring broken lives by providing a home for children that need to know the blessing of calling someone else “mom and dad” and to know the eternal down-payment that is hidden behind the simple ability to call a group of people “family”.
I think it is a great means of grace by which our heavenly Father parents us without the use of adjectives. Let me explain. When He calls me “son” he means it. Although there are many adjectives He could use: adoptive son, former rebellious son, my son that once hated me, prodigal son, and the list could continue throughout eternity with continued accuracy. He simply calls me “Son”. This is amazing. He looks at me and sees His Son, the one person that deserves all positive adjectives that language can ascribe to Him. He sees Jesus Christ’s righteousness, imputed to me, so that the blood bought sacrifice of His Son covers and removes my less flattering adjectives. The fact that Jesus Christ has freed the Father to be able to call me “son” is a glorious, sin crushing, rebellion squashing, worship producing phrase that allows my heart to know Him as a father and me as His Son, no adjective needed.
My goal, in the pursuit of being a good father to the unique situation that God has called me to, is to mirror that same adjective-less parenting. Whether they are my “adoptive” children, my “biological” children, or my “foster” children my goal is the same. Between the “my” and “children” will be a needless adjective. The Gospel allows me to remove the adjective and simply know them as my children. The goal will be to see the removal of that adjective as a powerful truth. It is not a naive cure-all for the truth that children are sinners and are sinned against, but it is a powerful start. All children wrestle against the same problem, namely sin. They all need to have the Father’s heart revealed and modeled to them through an earthly father. They need to be made aware of their great sin so they can be made aware of their Great Savior. So as long as my Father parents me from heaven without the use of these adjectives, so too will I long to parent without the adjectives. And I know in this instance the power of the Gospel is more on display by what adjectives are removed then by those used to make social distinctions.