Divorce and HolidaysDecember 9, 2017
…He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted….
— Luke 4:18
Although Christmastime was a joyous time for our family, Christmas Day itself reminded me about the pain of broken families. My grandfather had been married four times; two of my grandmothers had been married twice; a great-grandmother had been married five times; an uncle had been married three times; and the list seemed to go on and on. I had six grandmothers and three grandfathers — some natural, others added by divorce and remarriage.
I always felt this brokenness at Christmastime because Dad and Mom faithfully took us to visit every single faction of our multiple family branches. We’d spend a little time with one set of grandparents, then the next, then go on to the next, and then we’d start on visiting our various grandmothers. In a certain way, Christmas Day felt a bit like geriatric ministry as we spent most of the afternoon trying to see and honor all the old people in our family who had been married various times.
Those Christmas afternoon “tours” each year were difficult for our family in that they brought up painful memories for those old enough to remember. This particular childhood memory of Christmastime always makes me pray for people who are from broken homes and are confronted with this brokenness during the holidays. It’s just a fact that holidays are not always easy to celebrate for people who have fragmented families.
However, I have a scripture I want to share with you — one that I believe will encourage you during this holiday season if you are confronted by painful memories or brokenness. In Luke 4:18, Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted….”
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
I want to particularly look at the word “brokenhearted” in this verse. It is from the Greek word tethrasamenous, the perfect passive participle of thrauo, and it depicts a person who has been shattered or fractured by life. It is the picture of those whose lives have been continually split up and fragmented. It well describes the situation that I saw in my family when I was growing up. If you are from a divided family, this word could describe you and the shattered emotions you may deal with as an aftermath of the broken relationships you’ve experienced.
But Jesus said that He came to “heal” the brokenhearted! The word “heal” is the Greek word aphiesi, which means to set free or to loosen from the detrimental effects of a shattered life. In the King James Version, it is translated to “heal,” but the Greek speaks of a release from the destructive effects of brokenness. In other words, although there is every reason to experience and feel brokenness, the anointing that is on Jesus is more than enough to release you from its adverse effects. Even though you were once broken by life, the anointing of the Holy Spirit has the power to restore and release you from this captivity that has held you in emotional bondage.
I can say that although our family was filled with the brokenness of failed relationships, God’s powerful presence was enough to restore those failed covenants. There was no hate that I can remember, and people who were once at odds with each other were congenial toward each other as we fellowshipped during the holiday season. It was a true miracle of God’s grace. It didn’t fix the relationships and put them back in their original order, but the grace of God made them peaceable.
If you have been through the experience of failed relationships and broken families, I want to tell you that the anointing of Jesus is sufficient to release you from the pain of that experience. It may not happen overnight, but with the grace of God working in you — and you cooperating with His grace — He can restore what the enemy meant for destruction. Today I encourage you to throw open your arms and receive the grace of God that empowers and restores. It’s yours for the taking — and if you are in a difficult family relationship, you need it!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, my family grapples with the aftereffects of different situations that have caused fracturing of relationships. I have felt pain and cried many tears over the brokenness in my family. Yet I can also see Your faithfulness to me and to each one of us through the years. No matter who may fail, forsake, or disappoint us, You have always kept Your Word to intervene and lift us up. Today as I read about the anointing of Jesus that comes to release us from feelings of hurt and brokenness, I am greatly encouraged. I throw open my arms to receive His healing and delivering power! Although things can never be as they once were — or perhaps never were but should have been — I ask that the peace of God and the anointing of God release me and my family members from the pain that has hurt each one of us so badly in different ways as a result of these failed relationships.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I am not an emotional slave to the dysfunctional ordeals my family has been through over the years. Although there may have been times when I felt trapped by the pain of hurt and misunderstanding, the anointing of God has set me free and I am now liberated from these past wounds and inner hurts. I am not shattered, fractured, or inwardly torn to pieces. Regardless of what the enemy tried to do, I am whole, free, and full of love for every member of my family!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Do you find yourself in a fractured family situation? How has this affected your holiday season each year?
- Have you experienced the healing power of Jesus’ love as it invades those broken places within you and your loved ones to set you free? Can you recall a time when the Lord has ministered His love to you in a special way during the Christmas season?
- Has God placed love and restoration in your heart for those broken relationships within your family? Are you ready and willing to allow the love of God to work through you as you yield to His leadership through all the challenges attached to the holidays?