Is there a rift in your family – a relative who won’t come to a reunion, a sibling you never speak to, an in-law considered an outlaw and shunned?
Welcome to America, where around 67 million people are currently involved in a family rift! That’s close to 27 percent of our population. . .maybe even more after the 2020 election.
It’s a widespread problem and deeply painful, especially as we age. Cornell University sociologist Karl Pillemer was struck, as he interviewed very old people, how many cited a family estrangement as their biggest regret.
This Sunday we continue our sermon series, Fresh Starts to Finish Strong, an exploration of six Christian imperatives for our older years. Our first two Sundays considered Growth and Friendship. This Sunday we come to Restoration – restoring our broken relationships, particularly family bonds.
Family rifts are a complex topic, expressed by that phrase from Tolstoy: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” So, family rifts may involve divorce, complex financial matters, unacceptable in-laws, memories of poor parenting, favoritism, extreme sibling conflict and rivalry. A person may break from their family to protect themselves from abuse or its memories.
How can our faith help us?
If there is any one word that captures the purpose of Jesus Christ, it’s this: restore! Christ came to restore a broken world with his teachings, love and death. His living power in our world is felt as restoration — we are returned to being those persons, communities and creation that God designed and desires for us.
This Sunday we’ll think about Christ’s power to restore broken family ties. Restoration is not just an imperative for aging well – it’s Christ’s very purpose!