The Stories That Bind Us

The Stories That Bind Us

I recently ran across an article by Bruce Feiler in the The New York Times (March 15, 2013) titled “The Stories That Bind Us.”  In it, Feiler cites research that suggests that families that share family stories are closer than those that do not.

His article pointed out that children seem to be more emotional secure when they know they belong to something bigger than themselves- an extended family.  Children also seem to be more self-confident when they know that their family narrative includes lots of stories about relatives going through, and getting through, some big ups and downs.  His bottom line was that families should spend time around the kitchen table, at bedtime, on car trips, at family reunions, or on holidays talking about the stories of moms and dads, uncles and aunts, grandparents and great-grandparents that create family closeness and inspire children to be optimistic in the face of challenges.

As I read the article, I couldn’t help but think of how everything he says applies to “the family of God.” (1 Peter 4:17)  If it is important that our kids know they are part of an extended family by blood, how much more important is it for them to know they are part of an extended family by faith in Jesus- the Church?  Paul talks about us and our kids being part of this spiritual family in Ephesians 2:

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:19,20)

How encouraging it is for our kids to know that they are part of a spiritual family that includes all the believers who have ever lived and died (and are now in heaven with Jesus)!  How important it is to them to hear from the Bible about the sins and struggles and suffering of all those people in the Bible (their family members by faith!), and how God forgave their sins and got them through their troubles- just like he promises to do for them!  How inspiring it is to them to hear what their spiritual ancestors were willing to give up or go through for the sake of Christ, and how Christ did not fail them, so our children can be confident that Christ will not fail them either!

Talk to your kids and grandkids about their ancestors in the faith, like Noah, Moses, Hannah, Deborah, David, Mary, and Paul.  Tell them everything that God did for them and how he worked in them and through them.  Tell them that their stories are just part of the grand story of God’s plan to send his Son to be their Brother and Savior from sin and death, so they may be comforted, encouraged, and confident in knowing they are part of that grand extended family of saints on earth and saints in heaven in Christ!