#5: Be a habitual blessing giver (Eph. 4:29).
My wife, Diane, and I had the privilege of speaking a special blessing over all but one of our nine grandchildren in the hospital room soon after their birth. We have since written and spoken numerous other blessings over them through the years. Why do we do it? Because we believe spoken blessings make a major impact upon their lives. Their parents also need our blessing.
When God commanded Moses to tell Aaron to speak a specific blessing over Israel (Numbers 6:22-26), He had a reason for doing so. It was to remind them that His name was upon them and because of that, He would bless them.
A blessing spoken with sincerity on God’s behalf has the power to change how someone thinks of himself/herself when they realize God’s name is upon them as His child.
Powerful examples of blessings:
Other than the Numbers command to Aaron and his sons, there is no other Scripture passage where we are commanded to practice the spoken blessing in our families. There is, however, substantial evidence that the blessing is important to God.
Consider these passages:
1. The first act of God after He created man and woman was to bless them and give them a purpose (Genesis 1:27-30).
2. The Patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob—all spoke blessings over their children and grandchildren as an important way of communicating how God’s promises would be passed generation to generation.
3. Jesus forbade His disciples, or anyone, from keeping the children from Him. In fact, He gathered them to Himself, put His hands on them and blessed them in front of everyone (Mark 10:14-16).
4. The Father spoke an amazing blessing over His Son, twice – once at His baptism; the other at the Transfiguration. Pay attention to the words of blessing the Father spoke: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). He spoke very similar words in Mark 9:7: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!” What child wouldn’t want to hear those words from a father or grandfather?
Now, I don’t know about you, but these few examples are enough for me to realize that this matter of speaking blessing is huge. Paul comments about the importance of not letting any “unwholesome talk come out your mouths, but only what is helpful for building other up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
Our words matter, and when we deliberately and habitually speak blessing into the lives of our adult children (and their spouses), something transformational is possible. We become conduits of God’s transforming power to change hearts and mend broken relationships.
Three vital components of a spoken blessing:
1. Meaningful Touch:
A hand on the head or shoulder – or holding the other’s hand as you speak – makes it intensely personal. Touch communicates identity and value; it closes the distance between the giver and receiver; it expresses intimacy, something frequently missing in today’s relationships.
2. A Specific Message:
A blessing is a reminder of the high value each of us has as an image-bearer of our Maker. It also should affirm God’s plan for a purposeful future (Ephesians 2:10). Our lives have meaning and purpose.
3. A Personal Commitment:
The one who speaks the blessing is committing to being there for them as long as God give us breath. It is a commitment to be actively involved and supportive, dedicated to fervently pray for them.
Humility and gentleness combined with patience and restraint, compassionate forgiveness, an unwavering commitment to peacemaking, and the practice of speaking blessing—these are the secure handholds God will use to help us scale the mountain of family conflict.
Conflict is the fruit of pride, unforgiveness, impatience, bitterness, and unkind words. There is a better way—five ways, actually—with the power mend and restore those relationships. They are also amazing ways to keep good relationships strong.
GrandPause Action Step:
Embrace the truth in this quote by Tony Evans: “The blessing doesn’t stop the storm, but it shelters you under it.”
Cavin Harper is the author of Courageous Grandparenting, A DIY GrandCamp Field Guide, and Wayfinder. He is Founder and President of the Christian Grandparenting Network, and a contributing author for the Legacy Coalition and Joni and Friends. His newest book on grandparents raising grandchildren will be released in late 2019. He and his wife, Diane are the innovators behind GrandCamps, started in 1998. Cavin and Diane were married in 1969, have two daughters and nine grandchildren. Their home is in Colorado Springs.
This adapted article originally appeared on Christian Grandparenting in a series of five blog posts. Reprinted with permission.
Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Wayne Evans