Spending a day with the family got me thinking about how people can live without being close to their family. My ties to my family are stronger than i even realize. The old saying that “blood is thicker than water” is true but in my case it isn’t necessarily genetical blood. My family is made up of not only a maternal brother and sister but also an adopted brother and many people who have been accepted as one of our own. Perfection isn’t something that my family sees a lot of, in actuality my family is full of flaws and downfalls, but that is the very thing that keeps us together. My family accepts each other for who they are but still cares enough about one another to address certain situations because we care.
My wife, son, and myself spend 90% of our free time with our families. I really cant recall a weekend in which at least one day wasn’t spent at our parent’s houses. It isn’t like it is a stress free time either. If you were a stranger looking in the window when we all get together you would swear you were watching an underdeveloped production of a family vacation sequel! RRRREEEEAAAAALLLLLL. NNNNIIIIICCCCCEEEE Clark!! Thats what makes our family keep growing together instead of apart. We thrive in our differences. We truly are a melting pot family. All of these things keep my family number three on my priority list of life, just under God and my spouse. When my family hurts, I hurt. When my family is happy, I am happy. I think this is the way that God intended it.
Maybe your thinking……sure its easy to feel that way when your entire family is in church and many of them are leaders of the church. Sure that makes it easy to love your family and many times avoid relationship problems but that hasn’t always been the case! There has always been myself or someone else going through what I like to call a “lost sheep phase.” But, our family always treated whomever was lost with the same love as they showed when they were found. The love of a family is what draws a person closer and makes that blood thicker than water.
So why does the bible say in Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.” Yeah that is actually in the bible! The bible tells you that unless you “HATE” your family you cannot be a disciple of Christ. But you may recall that the bible also says numerous times that “you should love your neighbor as yourself.” So why should we love our neighbors and hate our own family? Did Jesus just have one incredibly messed up family? If you think about it he had to catch some serious flack over the being born from a virgin thing! I am sure that he received some bully battering during his teen years.
The bible however wasn’t literally telling you to hate your family. It was using a comparison. It was saying that no matter how strong your love for your family is or how much thicker your blood is than water that in comparison to the love you should have for Christ your love for your family should look like hate to everyone else. Our love for Christ should be bursting through to the point where people don’t have to ask if we are a Christ follower, instead they can see Christ through our love that we show for him!
Least of these,