Monday, August 31, 2009


Jesus says he didn't come to bring peace to the Earth, but that instead, of all the things you might not expect, he came to bring a sword, because swords violently divide things. Have you ever read Matthew 10, verses 34 through 39? He says that my enemies will, or at least could be my own family! I don't want to be divided from my family, but there's Jesus, threatening to chop us up. When his family shows up to see him, he says they're not his family, people who do the will of God are his family. That makes sense, because then we all have one Father, but it still sucks for families. But on the other hand, if your family is more important to you than doing the will of the Father, then you're not following Jesus (he says so). So much for Jesus valuing the nuclear family! Now, for me, a good thing to keep in mind is that my family are Christians. At the same time, however, Jesus says that being a Christian redefines who my family is. So although my family may still be family, my family is not longer restricted to them.

I often wonder what it means to be family, since both the existence of adoption and the teachings of Jesus tell me it means something other than blood relation. Personal experience suggests it means the people you love best. People say you don't have to like your family, but you do have to love them; I've never been clear on how to love someone without at least not disliking them, but personal experience may help here too. At Camp, there are plenty of people who, if not for Camp, I probably would never be friends with. To be more precise, I would not consider them a friend, if not for Jesus. This, I think, is significant. Here are people I would not love except for the fact that we follow Jesus, and, indeed, I consider them my brothers and sisters, despite that we enjoy different things, think different ways, come from different places, etc. If we weren't brothers, I'd probably dislike some of them even, but instead I want to love them, despite our differences. Maybe family means that you hold in common your most important bond. For many, this is blood, DNA, relation. For Christians, this is our Father.

I'm supposed to love my neighbors, which means people who help me when I'm beat up, and I'm supposed to love my enemies too. So how do I treat my family any different? If there's no difference in how I treat them, why does it matter their family? Laying aside that complicated issue, what would it look like if I treated all Christians like family?

If all Christians are my family, and we're supposed to be a family that loves each other, not some kind of dysfunctional mess, then we can't just move away and stop talking if we disagree about stuff. If all Christians are my family, then I need to eat with them, I need to talk with them, I need to live with them, and I need to take care of them.

If I treated all Christians like family, I'd let them live in my house whenever they needed to (presuming I own a house, I guess). Of course, Jesus tells us to do that for people, because when we do, we're actually giving Jesus a home, somehow. I'd give them food when they needed it, and much the same comments apply here. I'd love and trust them above all, because ... well, because they're family. Trusting everyone who loves Jesus?

That really is the problem, I suppose: loving people.