Who’s Your Family?

            Sometimes I may come across as being  anti-family, but keep this in mind.  .  As believers in Christ, we have a high and honorable calling to care for and minister to our own immediate families as Paul spells out in Eph. 5:22-6:4.  He says in I Tim. 5:8 that someone who doesn’t provide for his family denies the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

            Extended family can be another matter.  Here’s an example from a couple of years ago at a big family gathering, where everybody seemed to have a good time.  Such events always make me uncomfortable.  I’m not a “people” person.  Consider an encounter with a second cousin I haven’t seen for over 20 years.  Susie told me I wasn’t old enough to have some gray in my beard.  What could I say to that?  We ended up comparing our ages.  She’s nine years older.  Now, I’m not sure what that has to do with the price of smoked pickles in Lower Slobovia, but it’s typical of all too many family conversations I’ve either had or overheard.  I didn’t go that day looking for any intellectual or spiritual stimulation, and believe me I wasn’t disappointed.  I didn’t try to bring up anything that could be considered controversial in the least.  If I would have, Susie would have witnessed evidence as to why I’m turning gray.

            It so happens that I owed Susie’s mother a letter, and I wanted to send along a sample of my recent writing for her.  She would have appreciated my post on “The Dandelion in My Life,” which had been originally written about that time.  I realized there were things I knew she’d find offensive.  I’d have written things differently if it had been intended for her.  Imagine that.  I can tell you some things I can’t share with blood relatives.

            Looking back, when I was in my mid and late teens, I couldn’t wait to get away from home and my parents.  I thought my dad was far too critical of me, and I was rebellious.  Church was another matter.  I was a fairly new Christian and getting acquainted with Godly people and God’s Word.  I was learning about my new family—brothers and sisters in Christ.

            Did you know there’s the reward of a whole new family when we put Christ first? Mark 10:17-31 tells of a righteous, rich young man who couldn’t put Christ first.  Only God can do the impossible and turn our hearts toward Him.  Peter said the disciples had left all for Him.  Jesus said, “…There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this life, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life” (vv. 29-30).  Being a believer makes each of us part of Christ’s Body, as Paul discusses in I Cor. 12.  James 5:16 says we should confess our faults to one another.  Can you do that with relatives?  John talks much about fellowship in his three short epistles.  True fellowship can’t happen unless there’s a common bond between people.

            If you’re a believer, we’re family, warts and all.  The greatest family reunion of all—and definitely worth looking forward to—will be the banquet for Christ’s Bride in heaven (Rev. 20:9).

Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Life, Thoughts from John

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