by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
I ran across a profound story that shows what happens when the family structure breaks down -- but this didn't have to do with people -- it had to do with elephants.
In Kruger National Park in South Africa a group of adolescent bull elephants whose family members had been gunned down during a culling operation were transported to another wildlife reserve. While at the other reserve, the young elephants embarked on a killing spree that lasted several years leaving more than 100 animals dead, including 40 white rhinoceroses. To stop the killing, a strategy was implemented to ship in older male elephants from Kruger to establish a new male hierarchy which would keep the adolescent elephants in check. Thus the killing stopped.
Like human society, the elephant family defines established roles for training and discipline in family life. And like humans, young elephants require a prolonged period of nurture with family units to prepare them for adult life. Damage and loss in family life will produce painful and sometimes devastating results. In this situation the loss of the mature males was catastrophic.
Many of us in the body of Messiah have not had healthy parental role models, and some have had none at all; but our life as a believing family will generally begin to improve, correct, and heal the results of broken family life which many suffer from. Mature believers ought to be role models and examples, not only to our children, but also to younger believers.
Ideally, Christian leaders will be healthy role models, but many are themselves, deficient and unhealed in certain ways. We all ought to have grace when it comes to this area of body life. Our expectations will not always be met and may even be severely disappointed. Our saving grace -- and it is truly an amazing one-- is that we all have a Heavenly Father who is a perfect parent, and who can love and nurture us in both male and female ways, and who is also able to provide human role models and healers to help bring us to wholeness.
Be thankful for any good parenting you have received; forgive all that was negative or deficient. Then ask your Heavenly Father to parent you by His personal parental love and providence in your human relationships. This will free you from deep resentment and bitterness, and will begin to move you toward maturity and peace, and will prepare you to be a good parent and role model for others.