Looking at our large back yard last night with family members, it occurred to me that a half century ago, I was 14 years old. That was a somber thought.
I also thought that in those days a yard this size would have been filled almost everyday with neighborhood kids playing softball, even if it was with a stick sometimes, or football. But that was before video games.
My thoughts then drifted to my childhood. I became a Christian when I was 5 and surrendered to the ministry when I was 17. But I missed having essential temperament needs met at home in my early life (especially for validation and affection), and as a result, I was not only left broken, but also unsupported later in life for meeting the redemptive leadership needs of others - especially my family.
We can recover from some failures. For example, our bodies can recover from the foolish choices we make that break our health. We can also recover financially, vocationally, and even psychologically. And sometimes, elements of a relationship can also be repaired. I can give testimony to all of these.
But recovery of lost leadership influence with those God gives us to serve is very difficult. It has something to do with the addictions and anger those relationships fall into because of the pain of their unmet leadership/support needs.
Of course, this is not the same as codependent (make-me-feel-better) relationships. Those relationships seem to never be lost because they do not depend on effectual leadership to meet redemptive needs but on performance (also handouts) to accommodate superficial pain relief needs.
Even if the support leadership is good, those it serves may still temporarily drift away. We see this in the Gospels during Christ's ministry on earth, and also in the New Testament account of the first century church. Paul expressed grief in his letter to some he had pastored at
What happened to you!” he lamented. “You have fallen from grace (the grace
But, as a rule, the falling away is because of poor leadership, not regardless of good leadership.
The support we offer in our counseling to parents warns about this – that we may not get but one chance to get it right. This means the fallout of our failure to meet the redemptive needs of our children (lost leadership influence/opportunity) can be passed on to several generations (become a "generational curse").
But if we do get it right - that is, if we are enabled by our experience of Christ to provide effectual leadership to those we serve, it will support them for getting it right with those they serve.
This is included in the meaning of
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."- Ephesians 3:21-22
DonLoy Whisnant/Journey Notes 13C21/The Grace Perspective 13D03