April 6, 2009
It happened in the foyer of our church this morning. My pastor asked me how my week had gone, and I quickly said, “It was tough to see a family choose to curse instead of a blessing. We all get to choose whether we bless or curse one another.” He nodded knowingly and wrapped his arm around my shoulder.
It’s time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour. Easter is about remembering the cursing Christ endured from the Pharisees and Jews in Pilate’s square, the lashings under the watch of the High Priest, and the taunting of the criminal on the cross next to Him. In all that cursing, Jesus chooses to say to the Father, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.”
Read that line again. Insert your family member’s name. Forgive that person.
Every day we get to set a fabulous sunrise, stretch out our arms in praise and walk into a day of purpose. As farmers we are grounded in the seasons of life, the planting the raining, the growth, and ultimately the harvest. We see lots of life, and death as the cycles of growth surround us.
Some farm families are not growing. They are choking with negative energy, bitterness, and a lack a basic respect. They are choosing to judge each other, avoid talking through the tough issues and drowning in self-pity and sadness.
Why? They don’t know the love of God firsthand. God loves us just the way we are, and when we accept the love of Jesus, we are gifted with eternal life because the stone was rolled away on Easter morning. Jesus conquered death. He rose again. Many people saw Him after the resurrection. True Christ followers model the love of God in word and deed. They reach out to comfort hurting people, and offer the good news of God’s unconditional love. God loves you deeply.
Why do you refuse the love of God and His complete forgiveness? Do you not know?
Have you really considered the power of His words in the scriptures? You have a choice to choose to love one another as Christ has loved you. We are free people, deeply loved.
Yes, we all make mistakes in causing hurt, but that doesn’t mean the remainder of your life is doomed to misery on your 40 acres. You can reach out and ask for forgiveness. You can pass the olive branch of forgiveness, let go of past hurt, and walk into a new day of resolved, restored relationships.
Your farm, your family, your choice is my essential message. We all want our farms to be profitable and growing well. We want to be happy in our family farm teams. We all get to choose the type of behaviours and attitudes that will spew forth from our lips and bodies.
Christ’s body hung on a cross as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. His death was the bridge to God’s acceptance of us as children of God. We just need to accept the reality of the resurrection and live it out on our farms as a deep blessing to love others.
I’ve seen a fair few farm kitchen tables these past few months. Some are circled with hope and optimism for a new exciting chapter for the farm family. Others are pounded with despair and a deep lack of respect for building relationship, with conscious choosing to curse rather than bless.
What new life will you embrace this Easter? Read the Beatitudes in Matthew chapter 5. Read the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in the final chapters to get a full view of the life of Christ in his final week on earth.
I pray that you will consider ways this spring to bless your family and build up their emotional bank account. Too many farmers are in pain as their love tanks are very dry. As a believer who farms, I challenge you to encourage your neighbours with the good news of the gospel.
I am looking forward to the spring planting and the hope of a great harvest. I am also anticipating more time at my own kitchen table, loving the folks who matter the most, my own family.
Spring has come. Rejoice. The Lord has risen. He has risen indeed.
Elaine Froese coaches farm families to discover new possibilities for their business and family. She speaks to groups across Canada with practical insights and tools she has gleaned from over 30 years on the farm. Easter is her favourite celebration.