Thank you so much everybody for your kind remarks about our family Christmas video!
Appreciate each and every one of you who have Liked our family video. Thank you also for all of you who have left your nice comments on Appeal for Purity Facebook (A4P) page as well as other A4P social media pages. Appreciate you all very much!
Until New Year comes around, which is going to be next week, we said goodbye to the holiday spirit and here we are today, back to our normal routines.
Praise God that He has given us another day to do what we are supposed and called to do. May the name of Jesus Christ be glorified and magnified in everything we do and say!
Today I want to say few words about the importance of striving to fill our homes with peace and joy.
Before I say anything about that though, let me say few words about my older son, Abel Banko who is, by the way, a 21 year old young man. My! Guys, this young man is an independent man. He is not under me now. I am not raising him. I am done once he turned 18. When I mention my kids age, I am purposely doing it but sad that you didn’t seem to notice that or probably a 21 year old young man in Ethiopia is considered as 12 or 13. I am not sure.
Anyways, some of you dropped your comments and some sent me emails asking me why my son, Abel, a 21-year old young man, is wearing earrings and beads on his hair.
My friends, I am a follower of Jesus Christ and the only thing I desire for my kids to have is Jesus Christ in their hearts, not a certain hairdo or a hairstyle that will make them look like a typical Christian.
Yes, while they were under us, means while they were 18 and under, we did not allow them to wear certain clothes or get a certain kind of haircut. But even then, that was not really our focus. Berhan and I always focus on our kids’ minds and hearts.
My friends, while I help many young people who look, dress and act like Christians but live secretly with all sorts of addictions such as drug, alcohol, porn, one-night stand sex and all that, do you expect me to focus on my kids’ hairdo and hairstyle, and on my kids who are older than 18?
In the first place, these people are adults. They are not my toys. They are now my peers. We sit and discuss like how Berhan and I discuss with our friends.
Reading through those comments about my son’s hairdo and earrings, this passage came to my heart. Please read the whole chapter when you get a chance:
“You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matthew 23:24-28
Did you read that?
If you notice, Jesus’ ministry wasn’t about keeping traditions and cultures, hairdos and dress styles but it was all about waking “a person” up from eternal death so she/he can see his/her hopeless situations and perhaps run to a Savior.
That was why Jesus was not a famous man among the Scribes and Pharisees. Scribes and Pharisees were coming against Jesus because their number concern in life was a person’s outside look, how he/she presents herself/himself before others.
Scribes and Pharisees were very respected people among the Jew and they pleased the community by the way they carried themselves, very religious people. But with God, Scribes and Pharisees were despised.
That is why Jesus called them in all kinds of nasty names such as “You snakes! You brood of vipers!” (Matthew 23:33), “whitewashed tombs” and “hypocrites” (Matthew 23:27).
Do you see that?
Wow! My friends, I think, this is the number one reason why many children don’t want any of “their parents’ Jesus,” because their parents don’t introduce them to Jesus but to their preferences and choices, to their likings and dislikings which usually don’t go with theirs.
I personally don’t waste my time criticizing my older son’s hairdo while I can sit and discuss with him openly and candidly about his sexuality, how his sexuality is the weakest side of his life and how he needs to fight for it.
In the same way, instead of picking on my daughter’s hairdo, I sit and discuss with her how God created her, how her body is created for a greater purpose than for sexual indulgence. I rather sit with my only daughter and tell her the grace and mercy of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus.
Do you see my point?
What pushes a person into all sorts of sexual indulgence and destructive and life threatening addictions is not what they put on their outside body but what is sitting in their hearts and minds (Romans 7), the original sin.
That is why the Bible says, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). And the Gospel is targeting that, the heart and mind of the person.
Making/forcing our kids to wear what we consider “good and Christian style” is nothing but vanity, useless and worthless! What do those things do to them? Absolutely nothing!
Please listen to me, my brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those of you who are raising kids: Instead of wasting your time in preaching to your kid about certain hairdos and styles, share with them about the love and mercy of God, teach them how to read and study the word of God, how to apply the word into their lives and how to commune with the Holy Spirit in prayer. Then patiently sit and watch how God transforms their lives from the inside out.
Then, only then will you rejoice in the unfading and glorious changes you see in your kids. That change came from the Holy Spirit. That kind of change is a lasting and permanent change that impacts a generation.
No, my kids are too far away from being perfect kids. I know that! As many young people today, they too have many struggles. But in the middle of their struggles, while their tears are rolling down their cheeks, I love to hear them say, “Mom, I know this is for my good! God is in control. I may not like what I am going through now but it is for my good. God is with me, mom, even if I don’t please Him now. I know, this fire will make me look like Jesus. It is okay. Let God finish His work in me. I am His unfinished work.”
My friends, unless we focus on their hearts, we cannot hear their deepest pains and hurts. Unless we try to understand their struggles and the peer pressure they are facing on a daily basis, we cannot be their allies in the fight against their sinful flesh, this dark world and the devil. We cannot intercede for them before God. We cannot comfort them in the word of God.
Do you see my point?
May the LORD reveal to you what I am trying to explain here!
The Bible says, “Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous:” Psalm 118:15a
If we say we follow Jesus Christ, the Bible calls us saints/the righteous.
If we are what the Bible calls us to be, our homes have to be filled with joy and victory/peace. Joy and peace are not the things of this earth, but heaven. God’s presence is the thing that brings joy and peace into our home and hearts.
But, the question is, is that the case in our homes? Do we have peace and joy in our tents?
We have to take responsibility for the absence of joy and peace in our homes. A family means, a mother, a father and their kids. This is the small “church” God built for our well-being and for His greater purpose, glory of God. This is called “home, a family!”
Every member of a family, especially parents, have to take responsibility to contribute to the well-being of the home by cultivating their individual intimacy with the Holy Spirit. When parents build that intimacy with God, they automatically build intimacy with each other.
When a couple has a healthy and intimate relationship, their children grow in joy and peace because God indwells the tents of those who honor Him.
The one pillar we need to build this healthy tent, the tent where shouts of joy and victory resound, is called “accepting one another in the same way Christ accepted us for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7)
When we love one another in our home, when we accept each other as Jesus accepted us, our tent will be filled with shouts of joy and victory.
So, here is the punch line:- Parents, let’s strive to make our homes “children friendly” by cultivating our intimacy with God and with one another. ///