Showing a family resemblance

Published 12:23 pm Thursday, April 6, 2017

The other day I was sitting and thinking, and there is a little habit I’ve picked up. When I’m sitting and thinking, I find that I sort of tap my fingers on my lips. It usually happens when something has struck me and I need to think about it.

And after I noticed that I was doing this, I wondered why and where in the world I picked it up. One day I was doing it and I looked up, and saw a mirror, and saw myself in the mirror, and for a second I froze, because I saw my dad in the mirror. My dad was sitting there tapping his lips with his fingers. And it dawned on me that was what my father had done, one of the things that characterized him was that tapping on his lips when he is thinking. I had seen that before, and just had forgotten about it. And I realized for the first time how much I did look like my father.

In 1 John 3:1-7, John says, “See what love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” What kind of family resemblance is there in us? How do we look like God, how do we act like God?

John says we are God’s children now, what we will be has not been revealed. It is something we grow into. As children of God, we are growing into that resemblance.

John says what we will be has not yet been revealed, but what we do know is that when he is revealed, we will be like him. We need to do what is right. We need to have his faith, we need to have his trust, we need to have his hope. And we cannot do this ourselves. It is God’s work. We are transformed since we are God’s children.

I didn’t work at taking on that trait of my father — it happened. But there is work that we need to do; when we learn more about Jesus, we can become more like him. When we start consciously acting like him, loving one another as he loved us — lending a kind hand when we see a need, feeding someone who is hungry, clothing someone who is naked, sheltering someone who is homeless — we are taking on traits of Jesus. We are becoming more like him. I’m more and more like my father. We need to be more and more like God, like Jesus.

Rev. Dale Brown is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian Churches. His email address is