Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Family Blessing

The Word of God tells us that we have the power in our words to either bless or curse those hearing them (Prov. 18:21); so we must choose our words carefully at all times, but I believe there are certain times when we must be extra careful with what we say. I don't think we truly understand how powerful our words actually are and most of us certainly don't understand the Biblical concept of pronouncing blessings on those around us. Oh sure, we say 'God bless you' in passing or when we shake hands at church, but do we truly understand the great gift we are placing on that person that we are speaking to? We are pronouncing a blessing on them and that is no light thing.

We have always believed strongly in the idea of a family blessing. A blessing coming from a father or mother and deliberately spoken over a child; and we have practised doing that as well. But special occasions demand special blessings. Because our children are close in age many people gave me dire warnings as they were growing up, telling me to watch out for the teenage years. Because of that and because of my husband's Jewish heritage we chose the year they turned thirteen to pronounce a special blessing on each of them.

 On their birthday my husband read a blessing over them which he had written down so they could go back and read it again over the years, to remind them of who they are to us and who they are to the Lord. The blessing spoke of our dreams for them that they would be great men and a great woman of God, that they would always hold true to Him and follow after Him. It spoke of many things that we chose to bless them with and I believe those spoken blessings helped our children get through their teenage years with less trouble than many face.

In Genesis Isaac blessed his sons, Jacob and Esau and each of the sons knew how powerful their father's words were. They knew that this blessing would determine their future as will our blessings for our children. A blessing fitly spoken, will build up a child's self esteem. It will let them know how special they are. It will remind them that God has a plan for their life and is watching over them. Jesus set the example when He blessed the children who came to Him (Mark 10:13-16). He placed His hands on them and pronounced blessings on them.

The words you choose for your blessing are not as important as the intent. The blessing should relay hope and   positive reinforcement. It should give the child a goal and a dream for the future, (remember it is more important that your child grow to be a man or woman of God rather than they attain riches). Put your own words into your blessings, by all means, but use God's Word as well. One such blessing is found in Numbers 6:24-26 "The LORD bless you and keep you;  the LORD make his face shine on you  and be gracious to you;  the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” 

Don't just bless your own children but make it a habit to bless children you come into contact with because maybe their families don't understand the importance of the family blessing. I have seen the effects of pronouncing a blessing in the life of a little boy who began attending our Kids Club at church. When this little boy first came to our church he was wild and unruly. He had a terrible, angry attitude and a sullen disposition. I began putting my arm around him each time I saw him and said a quick blessing to him. Many times I would say things like 'you are a good boy', 'you are going to be a great man of God', 'you are a blessing to your parents' and the most important of all: 'God loves you and I do too'. 

It was amazing to see the change that came over this precious boy. He now walks a little straighter, he has a bounce to his step and he is constantly smiling. He's not angry any more and while he will probably always be an active child, he now wants to listen to the lesson and participates in the activities. This child comes from a non-Christian home so it is even more important that while he is in my care during Sunday School or Kids Club, that I speak blessings over him. 

The words that we speak to our children and those around us every day can either speak life or death, hope or discouragement.We  can either crush their spirit or strengthen them. The results of our hastily spoken words or our carefully chosen words can be devastating or life giving. Choose to speak blessings over your children and those you come in contact with and you will not only be carrying on a Biblical teaching but you will see the results right in front of your eyes.   "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (Prov. 12:18)

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