Gary Smalley and John Trent wrote a powerful book a few years ago entitled, “The Blessing” which dealt with the importance of being blessed by your parents. They make the point that “No matter your age, the approval of your parents affects how you view yourself and your ability to pass that approval along to your children, spouse and friends. Many people spend a lifetime looking for this acceptance the Bible calls… ‘The Blessing.”
The search for the blessing is not just a modern-day phenomenon, but it has its roots early in the Old Testament. We find a vivid portrayal of a person who was bypassed when it came time to receive the family blessing from his father. Esau, the first-born son of Isaac, was fully expecting to be blessed of his father, but Esau’s twin, Jacob, had usurped the blessing by tricking the aged and almost-blind Isaac into laying his hands on him and giving him the blessing instead of Esau.
When Esau eventually arrived to get his blessing, he was too late. The deed was done and Jacob was the one on whom their father’s blessing had been bestowed. Even though Esau sought a blessing for himself, it was to no avail and he was devastated. “Esau did receive a blessing of sorts from his father, but it was not the words of value and acceptance that he had longed to hear.”
Importance of the blessing today
Today, as in centuries past, orthodox Jewish homes bestow a special family blessing on their children. This blessing is much like the patriarchal blessing we were introduced to in the story of Esau. This blessing has apparently been an important conferring of acceptance for children down through the generations. It has been documented that when children are deprived of “The Blessing” from their parents, it can cause incredible damage to their spirit, their self-esteem and their joy in life.
That is why it is so vitally important for fathers and mothers to definitely convey to their offspring that they are accepted and considered of great worth in the eyes and estimation of the parents.
Of course, scores of folks somehow get through their early years and never hear “The Blessing” from their parents. Cult leaders around the country know how to tap into this void in the hearts of young people and provide a sense of counterfeit parental acceptance, affection, attention and affirmation. This is a major magnet for many false religions or worse situations.
If you are a parent, learning about the family blessing can help provide your children with a protective tool. Genuine acceptance by you will counter the longing for imaginary acceptance from., some bogus source.
Many people look back on a life where “The Blessing” was absent. Perhaps well-meaning, yet uninformed, parents failed in the area of showing acceptance and affection when it was called for and now there is an emptiness that has lingered for these many years. Is it too late to make up for lost time? I think the good Lord is well able to restore what the years have taken from us.
We should first bless and forgive our parents for any lack on their part of failing to confer upon us “The Blessing,” for Scripture is clear that we should honor our father and mother.
We should also make a concerted effort to confer blessing upon our own children in every appropriate way. We ourselves should become encouragers of our family, friends and co-workers. There is something very significant and special about giving blessings to others. Our Lord Jesus said, “Give and it shall be given to you…”
Dear friends, this column may not hit home to many of you, simply because you had first-rate parents and you are able to rejoice as you consider their outstanding way of blessing you as you grew up in their home.
Some of you may feel otherwise and many times have wished you could have received “The Blessing” referred to by Smalley and Trent.
When all is said and done, remember, we have a Heavenly Father who takes note of all that we have been deprived of in this life; all that we stand in need of, including “The Blessing” we may have never received. Let’s purpose and determine in our hearts that whatever we may have not received, we will make sure to give our next generation “The Blessing.” The Lord is counting on us to do it. The greatest blessing of all is to help our children accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Dr. David Sparks is senior pastor of Flat Rock Pentecostal Holiness Church & National Chaplain, U.S, Landing Ship Tank Association.