In my Bible class, the seventh grade and I have been going through the lineage of Jesus. For many of them, these are stories they’ve heard over and over again, and yet for others, this is one of the first times they’ve ever heard them. We are going through and reading the verses together, and interpreting them by remembering that these were real people just like us and for many of the students, things become more real for them.
We started this study off by me asking them an important question, “What does someone’s family tell you about them?” The most popular answers were “Who they are,” or “What is important to them.” One student gave an answer that is interesting in the context of Jesus, “What they will be like. If your family is good then you’re usually good, if they’re bad then most of the time you will be too. Not always, but a lot of the time.”
We are currently learning that the people in the line of Jesus were not always the people we would label “good” people. Many of them were liars, cowards, prostitutes, widows, outcasts, and some of them were murderers. Thinking about these things as older students is helping them to realize that in God’s plan sometimes He uses brokenness to create beautiful things. He takes sin and darkness and uses it to create light, and that’s what Christ is. He is the light in our dark and sin filled world.
Many of them find so much hope in realizing that God can do this and often does do this. As we enter into this season of hope and new beginnings, I thought it appropriate that we learn that even in sin there is hope. If we turn to God and cling to Him, He can and He will, take that sin and darkness and use it to shape our stories. It will influence our future and the lives of people around us. God doesn’t see what you did in the past. He sees the love of His son for you and in you. It doesn’t matter if your family was “good” or “bad.” What matters is that He is good, and if you invite Him to dwell in your heart, He will help you shine that goodness too.