“Children who have strong perceptions of closeness and trust with significant adults are very resistant to peer pressure.”
So says Stephen Glenn, author of “Raising Children for Success.” Inner city gang members, researchers tell us, join a gang in order to find the sense of family they have missed at home. The major reason for the outlandish dress and behavior of some young people is that they are seeking the attention they do not receive at home. Even hostile attention, apparently, is better than none at all.
Everybody needs to belong. Have you ever heard a child identify his parent with an emphasis on the personal pronoun? “This is my Daddy.” That little tyke is declaring to all the world that she belongs to someone.
Imagine, then, the desolation of an orphan. Perhaps even more heartbreaking, a child abandoned by his parents, unwanted and unloved.
No wonder our wise and loving Father provided a family setting for his children. With God as the father, we have a place where we can belong to him, and to each other. Church families may be dysfunctional at times, and sibling rivalries may exist, but churches are a place where we can belong.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that we may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
There are no spiritual orphans in the church, no child of God who is (spiritually) homeless. We belong to the greatest and oldest extended family in history, the family of God. My family gathers for a spiritual meal several times a week, where we are nourished and encouraged. I am warmed constantly by the support of family members who gently forgive my mistakes, and smile their greeting whenever we see each other. When I face a crisis, I do not face it alone.
And my Dad, well, he can whip any neighborhood bully!
It’s good to belong to someone!
There are no spiritual orphans in the church, no child of God who is (spiritually) homeless.