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Al & Lisa Robertson / Redemption  / A Seat at the Table | Phyllis Robertson Thomas

A Seat at the Table | Phyllis Robertson Thomas

By: Phyllis Robertson Thomas

The top question I’ve been asked after learning that Phil Robertson, the Duck Commander, is my biological father is, “How are they treating you?” This question is always about the whole Robertson clan. It’s as if my own personal well-being is at stake, and that’s what worries people the most. I think it’s because they know as well as I do that my beginnings were sketchy, to say the least. Adultery, abuse, drunkenness, and lies. This was the setting from which I came. Add to that a celebrity father and family, and there’s a potential recipe for disaster.

I understand the concerns some have had about how well I would be treated, but the truth is, I’ve been welcomed with open arms. I’ve felt a sense of belonging, acceptance and love from my newfound family. Not only that, but my “original” family, including my mom, brother, and sister in Missouri, is happy for me too.

While the vast majority of people are praising God to see how well I’ve been received, there are accusers out there. People have outlined the sinful acts of my dad’s past, as if the enemy is trying to remind me that I was unplanned and unwanted. Fingers were pointed at my mom for keeping the truth from me. I’ve been attacked as well, accused of pursuing my dad for money. These are spiritual attacks, lies from the evil one in an attempt to undermine the work of the cross in my life.

What have I learned from this experience? What exactly did Jesus do for you and me when he hung on that cross, was buried, and was resurrected? Our Father in heaven laid out the blueprint in His word that provides the perfect response to the evil one’s accusations. We are redeemed! 

Colossians 1:12-14

“…and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Colossians 1:20-22

 “…and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”

Just as the Robertson family has welcomed my family and me into their lives and made space in their hearts for us, we see from these scriptures that God has a seat for us at his family table too. Flowing from these beautiful words in scripture are mercy and grace. Mercy is showing kindness or offering forgiveness to someone who deserves harsh treatment, and grace is freely gifted forgiveness available for every one of us, no matter our sinful acts. In light of God’s forgiveness of my own sins, how else could I respond to the sinful acts of my parents and my accusers? Love, forgiveness, and kindness. I respond with mercy and grace, flowing from our Savior Jesus who loved us and gave his life for us. We can be like him.

God brought life-giving relationships from this experience. Before I began this journey to my biological dad, I already knew who I was in Christ, and my motives were pure. I only wanted answers, but I found much, much more. My Father in heaven has given beauty for ashes, joy for despair, and has joined together what the enemy meant to divide. Now, I know a godly, earthly father who has strengthened my relationship with God and brought a new, sweet dimension to my life. Phil Robertson was an evil man. Today, he is the epitome of godliness. I’m proud of the man he’s become, and I’m proud to be his daughter. Some of the sweetest moments in my life today are in the simple ways I spend time with him. Isn’t this a perfect picture of our relationship with Christ? Jesus wants that simple, sweet time with us.

Isn’t it amazing the great reward we have when we forgive? The enemy has no hold on us when we act upon scripture and live a life of mercy and grace. As for me, I’m victorious over my humble beginnings. I’m victorious through the work of the cross. This promise is true for me, and it’s true for you! My prayer for you is that you discover this life of forgiveness from the Father and offer it to others. Seek redemption in your broken relationships whenever possible, and build a longer table to welcome them home.