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Family likeness is a given. This means that children will resemble their parents in some ways.

I have often heard people say to me, “Isaac looks so much like you!” My reply is usually that he resembles me because we have similar hairstyles.

Yet how do we achieve family likeness with God our Father? This is important to attain as we are all members and part of God’s family.

The Scriptures tells us that our resemblance to God is not a matter of physical attributes but one of perspective and behaviour.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus specifically mentions that by loving our enemies and praying for those who treat us badly we will become God’s children. This does not mean that we earn our status to be a member of God’s family through our works. God the Father has already accepted us through our Lord’s sacrifice for us.

Rather, we show ourselves to be like God through our actions and lifestyle of treating our enemies well. Living our lives this way is in accordance with God’s heart of mercy and love towards all creation, irrespective of whether they have behaved well or badly. God continues to give human beings an opportunity to repent and turn towards him in this age of mercy.

That is why we will have the family likeness of God when we also extend God’s grace to our enemies. By loving our enemies, we become God’s children in this sense. This is definitely not an easy thing to do, but Jesus calls us to such actions so that we can have as mature and holy an outlook to life as our heavenly Father does.

Ultimately, let’s be filled with God’s love and know that the greatest goal for our lives is not so much achieving something for ourselves in this side of eternity but growing in likeness to our Father!

God bless,
Revd Ian