I recently got married, as regular readers probably already know, and with a new wife came a new family. I have another mother, a father, new brothers and sisters, and even a couple of nephews. Then there are grandmas, aunts, and cousins I’ve never met. I’m part of her family now and she’s part of mine. And in a couple years, we’ll start trying to add to the family.
Fortunately for us, our new families really like us. I haven’t heard anything negative about her from any of my family and she hasn’t heard anything bad about me from hers. And we really like our new families as well.
Even if we didn’t like them, though, they would still be part of the family. Leah and I married for life, meaning that her family is now mine for life. I could get upset with her family, start to not like them, even not care if I see them again…but I would still be stuck with them.
When you became a Christian, you became part of a family, too. Other Christians, whether you agree with them or not, are your brothers and sisters. They may hurt you or dislike you, but that doesn’t mean you’re not family.
My brother and I used to fight often growing up. Even now we’re not as close as I wish we were. That said, when I asked him to be a groomsman at my wedding, he said yes without hesitation, knowing that it would cost him a flight out here, hotel stay, dry cleaning for the suit, and his time off work. We’re there for each other when the other person needs something.
I hate hearing about churches splitting because of some disagreement or scandal. I hate the arguing or elitism that goes on between some denominations. We’re called to be one body of believers. Jesus didn’t say that Peter should start one church with a certain set of beliefs and James should start another with slightly different beliefs and Matthew should start a third. No, they were called to be the church, one group of believers who worshipped Jesus and accepted His sacrifice for them.
They were also not told to reject their brethren. At one point (and that point is Matthew 18:21-22), Peter asks how often he should forgive his brother. He offers seven times, which he seems to think is quite generous and merciful. Jesus responds that he should forgive up to seventy times seven. He didn’t literally mean 490 times, but rather a countless number, more than Peter could imagine. We’re supposed to forgive that often as Jesus forgave, without reservation or hesitation, without judgment or condemnation.
We are supposed to love our neighbors; how much more so are we supposed to love our brothers and sisters?