I was reading a story in the book “Counterfeit Gods” and it mentioned Anna who was a mother. Anna loved her children very much. Her primary sense of approval came from her children and family. She worked hard at being a good mother and controlled her environment in ways to make sure her “good mother status” was achieved. However, since her primary sense of approval came from her motherhood status she also controlled the environment of her kids to make sure this happened. Her children and family where child-gods and family-gods. This led to lots of dysfunction in her children.
Scripture talks about this kind of thing in great detail. The story or Abraham and Isaac showed God testing the paternal side of child-idolatry when God asked Abraham to take and sacrifice Isaac on the alter. The crushing weight of Anna’s love allowed sin to span generations of her lineage. Also because Anna had her child-gods (or made her children idols in her heart) she also seeked to get feedback from others and herself internally as to how well she did at mothering. This led to some dysfunctional love in herself and her chidren because she needed feedback on being a good mother to see herself as a good person. . So when she felt successful she felt worthy…. but when she felt like she was not successful she seeked to take re-claim her status as a good mother by taking control or getting depressed. God was really not in the equation of love.
Anna’s problem was never that she loved her children too much. Anna’s problem was that she loved God too little relative to her children
Maybe your aware of families like this. Maybe your in a family like this! Most of us probably are to some degree or another. Love without the gospel-centric vision at the center will at times be self-serving as it seeks to fill up its love cup with the idols of its heart and seek affirmation as to the level of its success. Love and life will become dysfunctional when it turns a good thing like family or children into an ultimate thing!!!!!
When these idols of the heart become other sinners and people idols …. dysfunction will reign.