Reason tells us that it is better to be raised in a family by loving parents rather than be orphaned, yet there is a trend today whereby children are choosing to abandon parental love to live as orphans. What is the driving force behind this strange phenomena? Who are these children and why are they doing this? Find out in today’s message.
Let me begin by telling you that I have some personal life experience that helps me appreciate the difference between living as an orphan verses living in a loving family. You see, I was adopted at birth. My older brother and I were both adopted and raised by very loving parents. They never talked much about our adoption, and we never had a desire to know more, because we knew we were loved.
A few years ago, my wife and children gave me a surprise gift. They sent away my DNA to determine what ethnic heritage we had to go with our Italian name. It revealed that I was mostly of Irish, Scottish, and British decent. I had a smattering of other western European DNA. I even have 3% indigenous American DNA. Not surprisingly, I discovered that I have 0% Italian DNA. Determining my nationality was the sole reason for the test, but as it turned out, we discovered so much more.
I actually discovered the identity of my biological family. Like my mom and dad, my biological parents are both deceased. I have now met and developed friendships with a few of my biological siblings. It would require a short story to explain all that I learned. Here is the bottom line as best I understand it. In all, my biological mother had nine children. One died as an infant, four were divided up between their father, other relatives, and an orphanage. Three were blessed to have been adopted into loving families. I was fortunately one of those three. She kept and raised her youngest child. Having now talked to a few of my siblings, I can tell you that being adopted into a loving family is better than being orphaned. My siblings who spent time in the orphanage had a more difficult life than me. Life as an orphan is less than ideal.
Studies reveal that life as an orphan can be very difficult. Orphans are not able to experience the love and care of their family. Orphans are usually deprived of a sense of permanency. Orphans have their lives micromanaged, and as a result they often have difficulty coping with free time as adults. Orphans are forced to rely on themselves and when they grow up, they sometimes struggle to follow authority. The orphanage environment does not build family skills. This can negatively impact these children when, as adults, they have families of their own. Trauma is often a big part of growing up as an orphan and this trauma leaves a lasting impact on them throughout life.
Research shows that parents do much more than make sure a child has food and shelter. It shows they play a critical role in the brain development of their children. Charles Nelson, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital says, “Without someone who is a reliable source of attention, affection and stimulation, the wiring of the brain goes awry.” This can cause long-term mental and emotional problems.
With the negative aspects of living as an orphan well documented, why would anyone choose to be an orphan? Yet, Satan did just that. He chose to rebel, leaving the loving care of his heavenly Father and choosing instead to live the lonely life of an orphan. Misery loves company, so now Satan is hell bent on trying to get us all to join him in eternal misery. He wants us to chose to live as orphans. Satan not only left the Father, but he forfeited his inheritance. Now he wants us to forfeit our eternal inheritance with God as well.
The story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15: 11-32 starts off like Satan’s story but it ends much differently. The son initially opted for the orphan life, but soon changed his mind. The son left his father, squandered his inheritance, and found himself lonely and in dire need much like Satan. But then the story takes on a twist. Jesus teaches us by telling us what happened next. He said the son came to his senses, returned home, and repented. The father in the story, ran to his son, embraced and kissed him, restored him to the family, and threw a party.
Ephesians 2:1-3 tells us that God is ready to do the same thing for us. God is ready to make alive those who are dead in sin. God wants us back in His family. There are three passages in the Bible referring to God as ABBA. They are found in Romans 8:15, Mark 14:36, and Galatians 4:6. In Romans 8:15 we are told that we have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Abba is an adaptation of the Aramaic word that meant “papa,” or “daddy.” That’s the kind of relationship God wants to have with us.
As Christians, we are adopted sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Matthew 12:50 tells us that we are brothers and sister to Jesus Christ if we do the will of the Father. In John 15:11-15, Jesus calls us His friends. Our free will gives us the choice to trade this all away to live as orphans. Sadly, some people do.
God wants us to be part of His family. He wants to be our daddy. Jesus wants to be our brother and friend. Together they want us to have abundant joy. The Holy Spirit wants to guide us back to our eternal inheritance: a life forever in heaven. On the other hand, Satan longs for us to be miserable for eternity with him. It’s time to choose. Will we choose to be orphans?
Heavenly Father, I have sometimes walked away from you. I have, at times, chosen the orphan life. Now I want to come back to you. Forgive my transgressions and restore my inheritance. Through His death and resurrection Jesus has made this possible. I profess my faith in Him. I desire to live with you forever in Paradise. Amen!
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