Warm and Affectionate
"So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." Luke 15:20 NIV (Prodigal son returning)
"Then his father Isaac said to him, 'Come here, my son, and kiss me.' So he went to him and kissed him." Genesis 27:26-27 NIV (Isaac and Jacob)
"So Moses went out to meet his father-in-law and bowed down and kissed him." Exodus 18:7 NIV
"Jacob was half blind because of his age and could hardly see. So Joseph brought the boys close to him, and Jacob kissed and embraced them." Genesis 48:10 NLT (a grandfather's kiss)
Thoughts for Today
This week we have been looking at five types of dysfunctional families (described in The Thin Disguise by Pam Vredevelt) that can lead to the development of eating disorders. Perhaps you or someone you know has a loved one struggling with an eating disorder. Or perhaps you will identify some potentially harmful characteristic that needs to be addressed in your family.
Healthy families are warm and affectionate. Rules, as well as people, are flexible. In dysfunctional "Rigid Families," flexibility is a nonexistent concept, and affection is seldom expressed. The father especially tends to be obsessive about the standards in the family. There is no warmth, no emotion. Each family member should be able to take care of himself or herself. This emotional neglect leads the child to believe that emotions and longings are wrong.
(Note: We are grateful to Pam Vredevelt for her keen insights.)
Consider this …
We serve a loving God who demonstrates his love for us in so many tangible ways. And so he wants us to show love through our words and actions. This is especially important in our family relationships. Our children need physical demonstrations and verbal expressions of our love. Nurturing—hugging, kissing or saying "I love you"—is so important.
Today's scriptures are examples of family members showing their love for one another with embraces and kisses. Appropriate, healthy demonstrations of our love for each other can mean so much in our relationships and in the emotional and spiritual development of our children.
Father, I thank you so much for my children. Thank you for demonstrating your fatherly love to me in so many ways. Help me to be warm and affectionate with my children. Help them to develop emotionally and spiritually in a way that is pleasing to you. In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from …
Seeing Yourself in God's Image: Overcoming Anorexia and Bulimia by Martha Homme, MA, LPC. Written by a counselor with experience helping those with eating disorders, this study is born from her own struggles in adolescence. The group challenges members to find their identity in Christ as they overcome this difficult struggle. This guide offers understanding of distorted body image, denial, and the family systems influence. It also explains how to break free of social pressures and how to restore the temple and tie the recovery process together. A companion booklet Seeing Your Loved One in God's Image, can be used as a quick reference guide dealing with issues associated with eating disorders. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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