Illegitimate or Legitimate?

Last night, I told my life story at our Day 7 service at Harvest Christian Fellowship. To see that, click here.

It’s a story that will hopefully bring hope to those who feel the deck is stacked against them. I talked about how my mom was married and divorced seven times and I, conceived in between marriages, was illegitimate. I did not find this out until much later in life.

It’s rather disconcerting to find out that you are illegitimate. You find yourself asking, “Was I ever meant to be? Was my life an accident?” I became an angry young man.

I never had a father to guide me, for the most part, so I rebelled. My rebellion expressed itself in predictable ways, including getting in trouble with authority figures, drinking, partying and, in my case, drug use.

My older cousin Wayne, a psychologist, performed some tests on me when I was a teen and later reported, “There was a lot of anger in Greg and a lot of rebellion, although I don’t know if it was pathological or the normal family genes manifesting themselves. But all of us were a bit worried about the way this young man was going.” They had good reason to be.

Experts say that if you are a FATHERLESS CHILD, you are:

  • 5 times more likely to commit suicide
  • 32 times more likely to run away
  • 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
  • 9 times more likely to drop out of school
  • 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances
  • 9 times more likely to end up in a state operated institution
  • 20 times more likely to END UP IN PRISON.

Fatherless children have a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminal behavior. Not exactly a promising future.

But people’s destinies don’t have to be determined by their genes or their environment. Your future doesn’t have to be dependent on your past. There are no foregone conclusions.

We cannot change our past, but we don’t have to live in it either. The apostle Paul, formally the murderous Saul, had a lot to be ashamed for. Yet he wrote, “No, dear friends, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven” (Philippians 3:13-14 NLT).

Perhaps you were born out of wedlock, or your parents never had time for you. Know this — there are no illegitimate children in the eyes of God. Every one of us is LOVED! Even if you did not have a “hands-on” earthly Father, know that you have a Father in heaven who cares for you. God had a plan for my life, in spite of my inauspicious beginnings, and He has a plan for you.

You have His Word on it.

23 thoughts on “Illegitimate or Legitimate?”

  1. Pat says:

    Your story is a great way to reach us all. The Cleavers were only on television. Many of us grew up in the real world – divorce, absentee parents, malicious step-parents, bad influences . . . and there’s a bridge to walk over the chasm. You explain it very well.

  2. Tammy says:

    Hi Pastor Greg,

    I want to thank you for all you do. I am a regular at Day 7 and was so happy when my son Jon (12) wanted to come to church with me on Sunday. I’m a single Mother of 4 amazing kids..3 girls and a boy an have been divorced now for about 3 years. I’ve recently been struggling with my son and his negative attitude and behavioral problems at school. I pray from him daily..all day just lifting him up to the Lord and asking that He touch his heart and that He would turn this special boy of mine into the person He wants him to be. Well he sat through the service and didn’t really have much to say. As we were driving home he did comment on Rachel’s singing and said that “she’s cool”…which made me smile. But then last night as we were driving home from his baseball game I asked him how his day was at school. He told me “it was good Mom…didn’t get in trouble once”. I was so proud of him. But then what he said next brought tears to my eyes. He told me that ever since Sunday night he’s been praying. I immediately looked over at him and made eye contact. I asked what he had been praying for. He said “Mom, I just prayed that God would let me have a good day today”. He then said “I’m tired of getting in trouble and I know God can help me…just like he did that Pastor on Sunday”. Even remembering his words right now bring tears to my eyes. Thank you Pastor Greg…thank you!

  3. essie says:

    Dear Pastor Greg,
    What a tremendous testimony you give. I am inspired and anxiously waiting for the arrival of your upcoming book and documentary.

    I am thankful for the opportunity to attend Harvest, and so delighted by your sermons, your humor, your compassion and ability to relate to so many people.

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