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    I’ve Been Redeemed

    January 16, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    Yesterday morning in our Newlyweds Ministry class at church, we began a new series on Galatians. One of the activities the teacher had us start in class, to finish later on our own, was to build a “relational” family tree. The relational part essentially meant giving more details than one would in a normal family tree. We were to put a star by those who had become Christians, put a “x” over a branch if someone was estranged from the family, put a dark box around someone who had an extremely strong personality, and add little details on sins like alcoholism or divorce.

    Galatians 1:4 speaks of Christ giving Himself for our sins and rescuing us from this present evil age. Our teacher mentioned that it has been his observation that those raised within the Church are sometimes handicapped in that they tend to forget what they have been saved from. I agree, mainly because I have observed this in myself. There is a verse that explains that he who is forgiven much has more gratitude than he who has been forgiven little. It’s kind of like that. Only in reality I have been forgiven as much as anyone and my handicap is that I’ve been so prideful, I’ve overlooked the fact.

    This building of a “relational family tree” was good for me in that it increased my gratitude. My grandparents did not raise Christian families. I can remember when my Grandpa {now deceased} became a Christian and was baptized. One can easily see that we do not have a solid legacy of faith as some families do.

    As I quickly diagrammed my family, I saw the results of rebellion against God. I have an aunt divorced once, an aunt divorced thrice {!!}, and an uncle divorced once. This last one is also an alcoholic estranged from the family. But then I also see the fruits of faith. My father and his brother both became Christians and tried very hard to raise families of faith {though they didn’t have an immediate example of what that really meant}, and they both are married to the wives of their youth, and have children who love the Lord. And then I see myself and Si, trying to learn and improve upon what was passed on to us.

    Si’s family tree is even more dramatic. His father’s parents remained married, but were not people of faith (they attended the Catholic Church and we have no reason to believe either one knew Christ). That side of the tree is full of divorces, illegitimate children, etc. But the Lord has had mercy on that family, too. Out of the six children of his grandparents, only one had sons {my father-in-law}, and all those sons are now believers. {In fact, the youngest, who is age 16, became a believer within the last few months!} Christ has redeemed our family name, and there will now be a different legacy for this part of the tree!

    These details are given to emphasize how thankful I now am. I suddenly became aware of who I could have been, what my marriage could have been like. The Lord, for some unknown reason, decided to cast His favor upon us, and change history. We now need not fear divorce or drink or the power of the flesh, for Christ has set us free. And though there are still struggles and areas in which we are learning to submit, we know we can rely on our Perfect Tutor to teach and guide us forevermore.

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    2 Comments

  • Reply Brandy January 16, 2006 at 5:41 pm

    Hi Nick! I really did find the exercise helpful. You and Rebecca will have to compare notes with us if you ever do the project. =)

  • Reply MountainPowerLineman January 16, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    Hey Brandy, I really like that idea. I’d have to do some investigating to find out more about my great grandparents, but it would be worth it. By the by, your blog page looks really good. I’m still bumbling around, and trying to figure out how this stuff works. Talk to you later.
    -Nick

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