Today I am taking time to focus upon how blessed I am to have Amy as a part of our family. It was her birthday just a few days ago. I did not have the privilege of giving her the gift of life but she has certainly been a gift to me through her life. My question is whether I should call her my “daughter- in-law” or my “daughter-in-love”? Legally she is my daughter-in-law because she is married to our son. However, I love her for who she is and not because the law tells me I should accept her as part of our family.
My thoughts meander toward a spiritual application of my questions in the previous paragraph. The Old Testament is referred to as the Law and the New Testament represents love through the message of the gospel. In the Old Testament God gives His people the Ten Commandments as a guideline for living. (see Exodus 20:1-17 entitled “The Ten Commandments”) Many of the laws God presented were necessary for health reasons and for the good of the people. These commandments were written on tablets of stone. In the New Testament Jesus answered the question of which was the most important commandment by saying in Mark 12:29-31, “’The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (see Mark 12:28-34 entitled: “The Greatest Commandment”) These commandments are written on the tablets our hearts. The law was cast in stone while love is written in the heart.
The Law given to Moses through the Ten Commandments was good. However, over time man made the Law both legalistic and ritualistic. The Ten Commandments and the other guidelines given in the following chapters of Exodus became binding rather than freeing. When we hear and follow the teachings of Jesus, we gain new guidelines, motives and purposes for living. Listen to Paul explaining this in II Corinthians 3:7-11, “Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!” Here is freedom from the law rather than bondage to the law.
Ezekiel 11:19 is one of my favorite verses and it fits well with what I am sharing. In this verse the Lord says, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” If my heart is a hardened heart it will represent my life as being bound by the Law of the Ten Commandments written on stone while if my heart is a heart of flesh my life will depict the freedom of being filled with the Holy Spirit. With this freedom, I will be able to love God and my neighbors as stated by Jesus in the two greatest commandments.
Amy may be my daughter because of the law, but she is definitely a daughter I love! I do not consider Amy my daughter simply because the law tells me this is her relationship to me. She is more than a daughter-in-law to me; she is a daughter-in-love. I love her for who she is and I consider it a privilege to be able to have her as my daughter-in-love. II Corinthians 3:3 says, “You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” Amy exemplifies this verse by the life she lives. When others read the epistle of Amy’s life, they learn about Jesus because of what is in her heart. Her heart is not a stone tablet, but a softened heart filled with the Holy Spirit.
My Reader, as you think about what I have shared today, let me ask you a couple of questions. Do you live your life under the Law or in the freedom of Christ? Is your heart a heart of stone or is it a heart of flesh filled with the Holy Spirit? The 10 Commandments given to Moses had their place in the lives of the Israelites and are still meaningful for us today. However, may the 2 Greatest Commandments given by Jesus be foremost in your hearts and minds.
Even though they are now belated, I continue to extend birthday blessings to Amy, my daughter-in-law who I prefer to consider my daughter-in-love! My Reader, what is your relationship with your family members? Do you have “in-laws” or “in-loves”?