David Bowie once said, “Everyone says that their families are weird… mine really are!”
That sentiment might “ring a bell” with all of us at some point! Families can be amongst the most blessed of communities on earth, yet also, sadly, the most cursed. Yet, when Jesus’ second greatest commandment calls us to love our neighbours, while it certainly includes all possible neighbours in the world, it starts with those nearest us… – i.e., our family.
As Christians, our next closest neighbours are our church family; and so the Bible calls us to love our brothers and sisters (see the whole of John’s 1st Letter). John makes the point that if we don’t love our brothers and sisters in the church, then we probably don’t love God the Father either. (1Jn 4:20)
Like all relatives, so too our church family, can be difficult, and “rub us up the wrong way” at times! Nonetheless, God has made us relatives whom He commands us to love. We can’t escape them; even if we switch churches, there’ll be another bunch of disagreeable church family members there for us to love too!
The truth of the Gospel means that, in commanding us to love our families and church family, God has provided the super abundant resource to enable us to do that – i.e., we are God’s enemies, and He loves us enough for His Son to die for us to get that love through to us, in forgiving, saving, and enriching us forever. (Ro 5:8)
Grace and peace, Jonathan.