My Cousin Kelly

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At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:25-30

Insight

I'll set the record straight once and for all: I'm not related to Kelly Ripa, or at least, I don't think I am. I've lost track of how many times people see my last name, start to grin and say, "Any relation to Kelly?" It happens at the bank, doctor's office, restaurants and even when I'm calling about my wi-fi being down (not the time for jokes). When I meet someone for the first time, it inevitably comes up. Depending on my mood, I'll play along with it and say she's my distant cousin.  

Who knows, maybe she is? Perhaps I should buy the Ancestry DNA package that "my cousin" keeps promoting in commercials for conclusive answers.  The emergence of companies like Ancestory.com and 23 and Me speak to our human desire to know where we came from. We instinctively long to know who we are. Something deep inside us searches for our identity. 

Who do you think you are? A question like this cuts us to our core. It not only puts our actions on trial, but it also challenges our character and identity. We respond to this question by either attempting to prove ourselves or second-guessing every decision we make. When we aren't confident in our answer, we allow our identity to be defined by our shame or driven by our fear of it. There's no opportunity to rest when you're burdened with the constant search of figuring out what makes you-you.  

We discover who we are by knowing who we belong to. Our relationship to our father is the origin of our identity.  The tendency is to read a statement like that and reflect on our relationship with our biological father. No matter how good or bad our earthly father might have been, they all pale in comparison to God, our Heavenly Father. In Christ, we are children of the promise. It's part of our DNA. Our first birth doesn't have the final say because Jesus gave us a second birth. 

He didn't conquer death on the cross just to punch our ticket to heaven; He came to reestablish our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Christ offers us more than salvation. He provides us with reconciliation and restoration. Having encountered Christ, we are free to stop searching for our identity and begin to live it out. A promise seals our identity, but it gets forged in the relationship with our Father. 

Reflection

  • “Who do you think you are?” What is your typical response to this question and outlook? Do you attempt to justify yourself or second-guess yourself? Why do you tend to respond in this way? 

  • My relationship with my father was/is _________. What makes you answer in the way that you do? Over the years how has your answer influenced the way you approach God as your Heavenly Father? 

Prayer

God, when I look at Your Son, I have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of Your heart. I'm thankful for Jesus and the restoration He provided me. I will trust that I'm Your child and nothing I can say or do will ever be strong enough to change this freeing reality. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.


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