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  • Jo de Blois

Redemptive Relationships

Do you want a very important job in the Kingdom of God? Do you want to be useful, but you don't know how? Well, serving God is not that hard. One way of doing so is to form relationships that seem counterintuitive, or contrary to societal norms.

What Jesus did

Jesus looked down from the cross and saw a man, likely in his mid-thirties (or older) who needed a mother. A broken man, a very sensitive man, who, in his mind, had just lost his best friend. He saw a woman who lost a son and a sword had pierced her soul. A mother who needed a new son. He said: John, Mary will be your mother. And mom, John will be your son.

Why did Jesus do this? Did he do this for Mary? That’s what we tend to think. But Mary had several children, both boys and girls who could care for her. Even children who would very shortly after, believe in Jesus. Mary was not uncared for. Then did Jesus give a mother to John? In our western society, that is not our first thought. Today we tend to think that adults should not need a mother or father figure. We think that when we reach adulthood we should be able to do without them. That when we come to the arbitrary age of 18, we can go out into this world, ourselves as our guide, and that we will have to vent for our own.

Not age, but need

This is very unbiblical. Never does the Bible speak of age… but of need. I believe that Jesus gave John a mother just as much as he gave a mother a son. Jesus, living in the Kingdom paradigm, built a community across age, across gender, knowing that nobody outgrows the need for restorative, human relationships.

Let’s talk about the story of our individualistic western time for a bit. Far removed from teh Kingdom that Jesus presents. Rather, we live in a fatherless generation. I would say, a parentless generation. John Sowers, who wrote the book Fatherless Generation says that fatherlessness is linked to most problems in both boys and girls growing up. I don’t think it is just fatherlessness. Single mothers, no matter how brave and strong they are, often cannot provide for all the emotional needs of their children alone. And then, in our society, we think that children should figure it out on their own once they are 18. That the parent’s job is done. We live in a parentless generation.

How spiritual families heal

But the opposite is true too! Those who come from addiction and have a spiritual family and accountability structure, are less likely to fall back. Those who have a mentor or a father or mother figure who provides unconditional love and care, are more likely to grow. Great figures of our time and of the past had spiritual fathers and mothers and mentors and changed the world.

Let’s place the Kingdom over our society. The kingdom doesn’t look at age. And therefore Jesus gave a mid-thirty-year-old man a mother and a fifty orso-year-old woman a son. Nobody is too old to need a father and a mother or an extra child. Age is not a factor in the Bible. Need is a factor.

Don’t think Mary and John weren’t rewarded. The reward for being a spiritual parent is immense, in this life, and when you meet Jesus who will say: Welcome you good and faithful servant. You did on earth what I did too. So take the job that is offered to you. Be a mentor, a father, a mother, regardless of age, culture, or social status. You may give someone life who had no life. A future who had no future. Break free from your excuses of why you shouldn’t take care of someone… and change the world one story at a time and one relationship at a time.

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