What do you do when family bonds feel more like bondage?

There’s an unspoken expectation of Stockholm Syndrome as they hold your history hostage. You do try to acknowledge your past’s hot garbage without submitting to the darkened carnage of sin…

but you get sucked back in.

The familiarity makes you grin, but then your Christ-likeness stretched thin holds your attention like a hymn in a prison.

Then you’re reminded: you’re not the person they think they know. Gone is your scarlet sin, you’re born again and purer than fresh snow. Paul lovingly bestowed and showed the truth you need to grow when he said, “such were some of you“. You, yes you; writer, reader, mistake repeater. Wisdom is here, now come and greet her. “Come out from their midst and be separate; do not touch what is unclean and I will welcome you,” says the Lord of truth. Let the sins of your youth die, without dispute. Remember Jesus, your true food before you feud with the family who knows only what you used to do.

You were lewd, you were crude, subdued by a sinful attitude that only sought to devalue truth as if it intruded on “you doing you”. But now you’re excluded from sin’s wealth because you’re included by God Himself. This wasn’t simply “the hand you were dealt”; you belong to God even though you were way beyond flawed. As His image, you were a fraud in the same way you can’t call a prostitute a girlfriend: she’s a bawd. That’s exactly what this is all about.

Even a fool looks wise when he shuts his mouth.

You don’t need to debate and shout. Far better to exercise discretion then let your lips become a spout. Far better to die in wisdom’s verbal drought than flourish in the sin of familial clout. Do not engage with sin on sin’s terms, which only leads to a bed of worms. Even if it makes your father and mother squirm, you must affirm what you’ve learned in Christ. He paid the price, so you belong to Him. There is no synonym for this technique. The Lord speaks, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

The Lion of Judah roars as He wars against your flesh, that old, dying man in your bones. Even when it reminds you of home and when FOMO makes you feel cold. Christ is better even in cold weather. Your human will is going to shriek and be shrill, and it craves the old way which kills. Did you expect this life to be tranquil or free of emotional distress?

Do not fear the groans of the flesh, but be refreshed. You will find rest in Christ in times when your strength runs dry.

Because Jesus saved you, He can save them too.

Bring to mind those chained memories gripped by your families. You were there, buried six feet deep in a spiritual grave, unable to see, unable to taste the goodness of God in Christ who saves. Were you not rescued and resuscitated? Do not be intimidated, nor be infiltrated by your past, but hold fast to Jesus when their love grows cold, freezes.


Preach repentance, salvation, justice and eternity’s duration! Preach of unending cremation and warn of Hell’s deadly humiliation! Walk in love, not scolding, but molding. Sandpaper is rough, but smooths, eroding well-worn grooves until the Builder approves. Watch as He moves to soothe. Show them the God who loves, who is above death and darkness and whose joy is enough. Stockholm survivors they may yet be if grace flows free.

Be what you need to be to walk in step with Jesus the King. You may yet sing with joy.

He may yet bring them in for Him to enjoy, to love His story. Do not worry; only wait to see Jesus receive the fullness of His glory.

-Cliff Tomkulak