Equality: It’s All in the Family
I grew up with four brothers, two older and two younger than me. As a young girl, I remember a time when my brothers protected me from a teenage boy they knew was bad news. They saw how he used other girls, so my four brothers took it upon themselves to threaten this guy away from me. They did this because they cared for me, like a sister. They protected me and sought my best interest.
We also have spiritual Brothers and Sisters who have our backs. Really anyone in our lives who has placed their faith in Christ now equates to our spiritual Family (Gal 3:26). Ever thought about the fact that our natural parents and children, if they believe, are also our spiritual Brothers and Sisters? (That’s mind trip, right?)
I was recently reading in the Song of Solomon and wondered why Solomon would call his lover “sister”? How could he call the woman he’s madly in love with his sister … five times? (Song of Sol 4:9,10,12; 5:1,2). That struck me as so odd that I asked the Lord to reveal what He was trying to say.
Then, like a flashlight from heaven, I began to understand that Solomon called her “sister” to demonstrate that his love for her was not only passionate but pure. It was a love that sought her best interest. It was a selfless concern that cared for her as a human being even before a romantic interest, like my own brothers cared for me.
If we cared for our spouse like a Brother first, we’d probably have his back a bit more. Similarly, if we could spiritually see our co-workers first as Brothers and Sisters, we’d surely treat them with even more dignity and less like a tool utility. Our tone and expectations would surely come across with a bit more patience and compassion, considering these are the very people we’ll be with for Eternity.
Jesus refers to those who believe as co-heirs with Him. We have equal familial rights to the Kingdom and an inheritance through the promise (Gal 3:26-29). We are also on equal grounds with each other. None higher or lower based upon whatever our sin tendencies may or may not be. Family is family, all because of what Jesus’ death accomplished for us on the cross—the all sufficient payment for our debt of sin. He paid with His life, and we receive the free gift, not a result of one single good work on our side (Ephesians 2:8-9).
That’s amazing news, but it also necessitates an opposite reality. For those who do not believe or opt to not receive His payment, they are not reborn into the Family of God. They are not spiritual heirs and not children of Abraham (Eph 2:12; Ro 9:6). Even still, we are called to love those who are not (yet) in the Family, because they are created in the image of God and bear the likeness of our Maker, and we hope to draw them to Him with our love (Gen 1:26; 1 Cor 9:19).
So while children fight, we still gotta love. While we may not agree with everyone’s choices, we still gotta love. And though for a season, we may even have to separate from a Brother or a nonbeliever, we still have no other right but to love them while we are apart (2 Thess 3:6-15). John says, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness,” and “He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother or sister (1 John 2:9; 4:21).”
God loved us while we were still sinners (Ro 5:8). It is from this same love, we show compassion and concern for the lost and to our spiritual Family when they are loveable and when they are not. And “not only in words or speech, but in action and truth” (1 John 3:18). OUCH! That means in some ways, my thoughts and attitudes need to change. That means just because a Sister says something that offends me, it does not give me the right to ignore her at Kroger. Just because I feel like a Brother does not like me, it does not give me the equal right to snub him in the foyer of the church. Just because I disagree with someone’s choices, it doesn’t grant me the right to sabotage character. I can disagree, but my only familial right is to love.
And love protects, like my brothers protected me. Love also considers what is really best for the other, even if it may hurt someone’s feelings, temporarily. Of course, love doesn’t mean staying with a person who is abusive. But it does mean forgiving. While a separation may be necessary (for a season or permanently), love prays toward reconciliation if that is possible. In those sensitive situations, seeking professional counsel and involving the church is the key.
But for the majority of our family feuds, like hurt feelings, misinterpretations, and cold-shouldering grudges, let’s remember that the husband we throw the Heisman to or the Daughter we punish with our stern glares or the church member we cringe past ‘round the choir loft, are all in our Family. And Family is Family, so like it or not love rules. And love is an action verb; it’s demonstrative.
The Bible tells us that God took action and demonstrated His love for us by sending Jesus to die on the cross (John 3:16). So ask yourself: With this expanded view of Family, how should I demonstrate love for my Brothers and Sisters this Easter? Is my season of silence finally over? Is it still in the Family’s best interest to separate or to re-equate? Is it time to forgive, reconnect and protect the bond of love … for the sake of the Kingdom Family?
Take a moment to ask God for help:
- God, please show me any bitterness or resentment I am inviting into our Family?
- Lord, gift me with the capacity to forgive this person.
- Lord, show me how I can love this person in grace, truth, and action.
- If I need to speak to them or serve them, how can I do that in a loving way?
Here are a few questions to share with a friend to keep the conversation going:
Have you ever thought of your husband or boyfriend as a Brother in Christ? (If not, am I more focused on getting affection from him or empathetically serving and investing in him?)
Do I see my dates as Brothers in Christ? (If not, am I more interested in getting his attention or building him up and encouraging Him toward Jesus?)
Do I see my children as Brothers and Sisters in Christ? (If not, am I more focused on wanting things done my way rather than growing them up into who God created them to be?)
by Rockie Naser with Shabby Chic Ministries