In every family dynamic there is usually a person (or persons) who tend to be the glue. By glue, I mean the person who is the most stable in that particular family. When a family has more dysfunction and less order, the ‘glue person’ may tend to lose their adhesive ability due to their own loss or deficit, emotional, economic, health, or otherwise. As men, we are called to lead our families in righteousness; we are called to be the glue, as it were, for our families. I am not just talking about being a ‘bread winner’ for your family, I am talking about being a spiritual leader who leads his family in the things of the Lord, in righteousness, in holiness, and with the hope that we have in Christ. This, coupled with an understanding of God’s Word and how it works in conjunction with balanced living and leading, will help you to be better at being the glue. There are a lot of women who have had to take the reigns within a family because the male half of the relationship either walked out them, checked out on his family, or lost his way in the fray of life. Brothers, let me remind you, God has called us to a leadership role that begins when we’re inducted into a family, either by birth, adoption, or marriage; our leadership role and responsibility to our family always begins with our wives. As a man who is the glue in my family, I have come to understand that without the Lord’s constant help and empowerment, I cannot be what He has called me to be, beginning with being the glue, loving my wife, my kids, and now my grandkids. We were built for this, to lead, to love, to be the strongman for our families and raise them up in the ways of the Lord.
Last week I had a prophetic dream that really moved me. I felt let to share it as it best expresses God’s heart as it relates to me and my current journey with Him. I was in a beautiful meadow on a nice day with my godly dad and my sister Sandy, both passed two weeks apart from each other at the end of 2014. I surmised that I was in heaven because both my dad and my sister were there. My dad was holding a baby, I couldn’t tell it’s gender, but it was in swaddling clothes, completely covered in a white bundle. He held the baby by one arm, then he tossed it into the air, catching it as it came down. He dropped in once and picked it up. Sandy didn’t notice but I did. I thought the baby was Sandy’s miscarried baby, but later I would discover that the baby was me. The scene changed to the backyard of my Gardena home when the kids were little. We had swings, a fort, a trampoline, and other play equipment for kids over the years. The yard was always kempt and the kids enjoyed a safe place to play, even into their high school years with the sleep overs and friend parties and such. Then the scene changed again to two single mothers with their two children. They were working on a street, patching pot holes that were formed from explosions that were not their fault. Then the scene changed again to the young pastor who succeeded me in Gardena, Pastor Kevin. I trained him as my Lead Associate to be my replacement and the church voted him as the Lead Pastor for Gardena Valley Assembly after I left. Kevin was patching a wall in a house. I could see him working through a sliding glass door. I decided to help him so I opened the sliding door to help him when I awoke.
I got up and went into the living room to pray and ask God for the interpretation for that dream. Here’s what I got. My dad and Sandy are in heaven, as is her miscarried baby, but the baby that was being handling roughly by my dad was me. The Lord showed me that I had ascribed attributes from my earthly father to Him and this is why I was feeling a bit faithless, insecure, and unsure of myself. I thought all seasoned believers felt this way, but I need to see the Lord as a good, good Father. My dad was a good man, but he was a bit rough on me and my sisters. He moved out of the house when I was in Jr. High, but stayed close, he just no longer lived with us. This made things difficult for us because of my emotionally unstable mother; the main reason he left us was because of her. I never felt secure with either of them as a child and I learned to trust the Lord and build my faith in God through Christ because it was all I really had. I still work at fully trusting in God at times and building my faith up in His Word. I do believe in the Christ and I am continuing to develop that faith daily, but there are times when I wonder what I am doing. While I do believe that this is more normal than not for any believer who is growing in their faith, I do believe that I did ascribe certain attributes to God that came from my earthly father, who is now perfect in heaven. I am learning to not do that and to trust in the Lord further and fully, which has helped me to be a better husband, father, grandfather, and friend to so many that God has brought into my path.
The Hebrew writer said it this way, “Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:9-11
This is not a dis on my father, God rest his soul, but it is a statement of how I superimposed my dads attributes onto the Lord, especially as it related to my own insecurities toward him in how I (and my sisters) were treated at times. I learned a lot from him, some of what to do, some of what not to do. In the end, the lesson learned here was that I was not to impose the imperfections of my dad onto my heavenly Father, God.
The backyard, with all of the toys and play things, represented an environment that Debi and I developed and provided for our children and their friends. Even when we were in Brewerton we had a lot of toys and play things in the backyard, including a nice tree fort. God showed me that in the same way we provided a wonderful, safe place for our kids to play, so He has provided a wonderful life for me to live out. I tell Debi, some of the best things in have in this life are because of her; it’s true. I wanted my kids to have a backyard that was their ‘place of zen’ as it were. They needed a safe place to play and interact with each other and their friends and the backyard, and the outback aka the rock club (a detached, insulated rear room) was that place.
The scene with the single mothers working with their kids at fixing potholes in the streets has everything to do with a father leaving them to fend for themselves. Good fathers don’t do that to their kids or their mothers, yet this is the case with too many people, some even believers. They force these mothers to work hard, fending for their families, while they justify their leaving based on their own unhappiness, self-centeredness, and lack of commitment to their marriages. May it not be named among you man of God. Stay with your wife, get the help you need, but stand by your family; she needs you more than your pain, and your kids need you more than that.
The final scene with me wanting to help Pastor Kevin work at patching up a wall inside a house with a sliding glass door has more to do with being a good mentor to him as he leads God’s people in Gardena. While I help a lot of pastors and have helped in ministry, this young man is more of a responsibility. He has allowed me to mentor him and encourage him as he serves the Lord. Truly this is my honor.
All of that said, it’s hard at times to be the glue, to be the person who holds it all together in a family or a church (for all you pastors out there). Truth be told, it’s the Lord in us who is the glue and He is the one who enables us to keep it together through the hard times and the lighter ones.
The Apostle Paul, quoting the Cretan philosopher Epimenides, described God this way,
‘For in him (Him) we live and move and have our being.’ – Acts 17:28a
If God is in us (He is if we are in Christ), than we have what we need to be good glue for our families. Sometimes God calls certain people to be strong in a hostile marriage or family dynamic. They are called to love their spouse in the midst of tumultuous circumstances. My years of pastoring and police experience has led me to advise individuals that when a spouse becomes physically abusive, it’s time to separate to safety. If children are involved, they need to be secured also. There’s no excuse for domestic violence. God has not called us to be beaten or battered in any relationship. That being said, if the believing spouse is not in danger and they can display a godly example and lifestyle to the unsaved partner, then the Lord will honor and empower them to do so; but this will be a difficult thing for them. My advice; stay connected with other believers who are aware and can provide prayer cover and support. Get professional or pastoral help if possible. If things get toxic in the home, secure yourself in a separate room within the house for your own sanity and reassess your situation. The enemy will always be on the attack; but the God who is within you is greater than anything your staring down (1 John 4:4b). We do have some teaching on this topic as it was obvious an issue in the first century church.
The Apostle Paul said it this way, “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” – 1 Corinthians 7:12-16
The phrase ‘willing to live with’ is revealed in the action, not the words. Each person must learn to discern what that will look like for them. The point the great apostle it making here is that a Christian spouse can potentially win an unbelieving spouse to the Lord by their conduct, testimony, and prayer. I am sure that the believing spouse here needs to be glue for both the marriage and the family; they will need the power of God’s Spirit working in them. In the end, our hope is in Christ and we must keep our focus in Him, through it all. It’s seems easy to just leave a toxic person, and sometimes that’s what is needed, but if it is possible to work out the conflicts by getting the help that is needed, the Lord is very capable of restoring marriages and families.
One thing is for sure, we will all have to give an account at the Bema Seat judgment, or worse. I wonder if believers realize how close to the Rapture we really are. Spirit-filled Christians who are attuned to the Spirit’s prompting are observing the world conditions right now and they are pondering the times and seasons that we are living in. This is not the time to give up on the ‘true Glue,’ the Lord Jesus Christ, who really does hold it all together. We need to be holding fast to Him like never before. If we are called to leadership within our families, we need to be the best example of the Christ to our spouse and families that we possibly can. We must do our best to be responsible and reliable, like a good, good father does; not dropping the baby or being too rough. Our God is an Awesome God and He has provided us a way for salvation through Jesus. We need to receive that free gift of eternal life and ready ourselves and help our families to be ready to go home soon.
One more thing, forgiveness. We need to forgive any and all offenders who have hurt us in the past, even if they have passed away. Our hearts must be pure before the Lord and we must not have any bitterness or unforgiveness within us for anyone, particularly our spouse or family member. Sometimes people are the glue because they have to be, other times it’s because they are called to the ‘glue ministry.’ Either way, we must have total forgiveness in our hearts to be the best glue we can be for our families. As a father I have been the glue for many years and I couldn’t have done it without God’s forgiving grace on my life and the empowerment of His Holy Spirit working in and through me. It’s hard at times go glue right, but in the end, God is the real glue and if He is in you like He is in me, then you will glue just fine. That being said, no glue works well with unforgiveness and bitterness. As a pastor and a retired cop, I have seen the best and worst in people. Bitterness and unforgiveness only leads to a total separation from God and there is going to be a lot of people who thought they were saved, but who missed the Rapture or worse, miss heaven at death, because they held others in contempt and in unforgiveness. Please don’t be this person or do this terrible thing; please forgive them.
Jesus said it this way, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation (testing), but deliver us from the evil one.’ 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:12-15
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant: “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” – Matthew 18:21-35
Like I said, to be the best glue, you need to have total forgiveness in your heart and live and love like it. Jesus is coming very soon, please be ready people, the signs are everywhere. See you soon.
Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Central Missouri. He lives with his wife of 32-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren). Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate. He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry.