Let’s start with true confession time—
Although I’d love to share sappy rainbow and unicorn stories of what our famiy home life is like, the reality is our four
perfect-angel normal kids sometimes squabble, tease, and bicker with each other.
Okay, or maybe a lot.
Take this summer, for example: My husband John and I went for a quick evening walk around our neighborhood.
Given that our kids are ages 12, 13, 15, and 22, one wouldn’t think it would be problematic for us to leave home unsupervised for a thirty-minute stroll.
However, that assumption would be incorrect!
Imagine our surprise when we returned we discovered our son pounding on the outside of our front door, which had been securely padlocked from the inside.
His younger sister decided to lock him right out of the house!
(Now “sweet sister” says “bratty brother” wouldn’t let her watch her TV show—even though it was her turn—so she tricked him into going outside, and then hurriedly bolted the door behind him.)
After hearing both sides of the shocking story, my mom-lecture went something like this, “Honey, yes, he does watch a lot of ESPN, but you cannot lock your brother out of the house. Sisters and brothers should treat one other with respect, love, and kindness. Family members take care of each other, always. Sweetie, we are family.”
There is a certain protocol as to how family members should function.
The same is true for the family of God.
But sometimes church members forget this too, don’t they?
Take for instance, the ancient church of Corinth. The church members addressed in 1st and 2nd Corinthians had forgotten how the church family operates. From hurling insults to stabbing each other in the back, the local church was a hot mess of overblown drama and bitter contention.
And the Apostle Paul was extremely concerned about their lack of unity.
(“Unity” may seem kind of a churchy word, but like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:10, it just means agreeing with one another, with no divisions, no conflict. “Division” in ancient Greek has a connotation of ripping or tearing fabric, so literally Paul begged the church members in Corinth to not be ripped apart.)
And when Paul penned them a personal letter—we now know as 1 Corinthians—he refers to them as “adelphos” in Greek, translated “brothers and sisters” in the NIV, which refers to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family.
Read 1 Corinthians and you’ll note “brothers and sisters” was one of Paul’s favorite ways of addressing the church members, using the word twenty times in 1 Corinthians alone. By using “brothers and sisters,” Paul emphasized all Christians are part of God’s family and should be living together as such.
Yes, all Christians are part of God’s family, including:
• Hymn singing Christians
• Gospel singing Christians
• Hand-raising Christians
• Christians with tattoos
• Christians with no tattoos
• Christians who attend a mega church
• Christians who attend a rural church
• Spanish-speaking Christians
• Chinese-speaking Christians
• Single Christians
• Married Christians
• Baby Christians
• Christians who voted Democrat
• Christians who voted Republican
• Christians who forgot to vote
Sweet sister, the family of God is a beautiful thing!
We may have various preferences on worship style and church size, enjoy different ways to get our praise on, speak in a wide variety of languages and dialects, and even cast our votes differently—but in Christ, we are family.
Forgive me as I have flashbacks of my 4th grade roller-skating party—complete with my sparkly Shaun Cassidy satin jacket and bell bottom pants, jamming to “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge.
Ready, everybody sing:
We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up ev’rybody and sing
(For the younger women, trust me. It’s an oldie but such a goodie.)
As Christ followers, we are family.
So how in the midst of all our differences do we get along with our sisters and brothers?
Thankfully the Bible is filled with instructions on how to get along with “one another.” In fact, did you know there are over 50 “one another” New Testament references, and nearly one third of them address the church getting along?
Let’s peek at a few:
1. Be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50).
2. Don’t grumble among one another (John 6:43).
3. Be of the same mind with one another (Romans 15:5).
4. Accept one another (Romans 15:7).
5. Don’t envy one another (Galatians 5:26).
6. Gently, patiently tolerate one another (Ephesians 4:2).
7. Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to one another (Ephesians 4:32).
8. Seek good for one another, and don’t repay evil for evil (1 Thessalonians 5:15).
9. Don’t slander or judge one another (James 4:11).
10. Confess sins and pray for one another (James 5:16).
Can you imagine how different our world would be if we lived these Truths out in the midst of our everyday, ordinary lives? Wow.
As we reflect on the current hot mess of overblown drama and bitter contention taking place in our nation today, let’s ask God to help us be part of the solution, not the problem.
Life delivers many reasons to be at odds with our sisters (and our brothers). Let’s look for ways to be at one with them, instead. Let’s also look for ways to be family to each other, to stand up for each other as dearly loved daughters and sons of a Good Father.
Because family takes care of each other, always.
P.S. For the month of November, I’m hosting a daily (Monday—Friday) #coffeechatwithCindy at 2 PM EST. I’d love to have you join the conversation. Just follow me on my FB Ministry page https://www.facebook.com/CindyBultemaspeaker/, open up Facebook at 2 PM EST any weekday in November, and say hello/ask any questions in the comments section, either live or on the replay. I’d love for you to join us!