When I was young I had a dream of becoming a lawyer then becoming the first female Chief Justice of Kenya. I was very determined, ok in my words, but my actions were not collaborating with me. You see I am a versatile learner. I get easily bored of doing the same thing over and over. So even though I have an absorbing memory and was able to easily regurgitate in the exams what the teachers had said during the term, I never kept still. If I was not skiving off to buy mandazi through the school fence in Primary school, I was skipping classes in high school and missing evening preps all together.
A few months ago we lost an angel in our ‘family’. I say family in quotes because this family is one though we are not related by blood has become more than blood family to me, to us. You know those people you meet and something happens, a connection that you cannot explain that binds you for life – yes – that is my ‘family’. There was a meme doing rounds a few moons back that said if you have been my friend for more than five years, you’re my cousin – you are officially my family. During the mourning period lots of words meant to comfort I presume were being said left right and center. But I felt most of these were not helpful at all, took me back to my loss of children and it would seem some of these phrases are standard – sadly so ???
As happens when a loved one, a friend, a colleague, a parishioner or a neighbor has lost life appropriate words are not easy to come by. Many people feel the urge to break the silence and in so doing end up saying such injurious things to the bereaved that it would have been better if they kept quiet. There is something in us humans that deceives us that we are only consoling the bereaved when we are talking: that was me until I was on the receiving end of such talk. I learnt the hard way, silence is golden!
Here are the 7 things to never tell a grieving parent.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, 4 who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
A couple of years ago (2011) I had my second miscarriage. To say that I was devastated is an understatement: I was a wreck, emotionally and physically. I had fought so hard to keep that baby and still lost. Walked in the hospital pregnant, left unpregnant (is that even an English word) and without a child ???
Our scripture reading for today is found in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10.
9 Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.”
10 Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that thou wouldst bless me and enlarge my border, and that thy hand might be with me, and that thou wouldst keep me from harm so that it might not hurt me!” And God granted what he asked. (1Ch 4:9-10 RSV)
Lets us pray:
Father speak to us. Open the eyes of our understanding and our inner ears to hear what you have to say to us. We are ready to receive from you, speak Father. In Jesus Name we pray Amen!
In school they taught us that a family is composed of father mother and children; it is the most simplistic definition of a family which leaves out more than it gives. Give it to the education system though, at least they gave us a definition to begin with. What they left out is that though everyone is born of a father and mother not everyone is brought up by both parents. Some have one, some have none: because of diverse reasons ranging from desertion, divorce, distance or even death just to name but a few. Other families don’t have children, and we could go on and on about the definition of a family.
Be that as it may today we tackle the topic of family by focusing on the household of kwa akina Jabez??. We are not told about his father but his mother and brothers though they remain nameless are mentioned. Jabez was born in pain and was named pain as the scriptures we have read tell us. I don’t know what your negative name is leave alone what it means or even the negative name your family is associated with but if it is in the family of names like Jabez, be of good cheer you are in the company of greatness. If only you follow in the footsteps of this man Jabez, then that negative name you bear/ the negative name your family is associated with will cease to hold any power over you In Jesus Name!
The virtue of self control is one that will guide us in our study this morning, because if there is a virtue that can ground, grow and guard a family it is self control; lack of it breeds the opposite and sadly many of us are testimonies. We will look at three ways in which the Lord is calling us to practice self control as relates to the topic of family and drawn from our scripture reading this morning.
These three things are:
Self control in words; self control in thoughts; and self control in deeds.
Lets us begin with the tongue, since as we all know that’s where most if not all our family problems begin; are rooted.