Every family tree has some sap running through it!
In my family, it was my Uncle Art. It is difficult to describe my Uncle Art – the portly smirking fellow with the ubiquitous toothpick ever clenched between his teeth. Lecherous was a word a woman used one time – but maybe you don’t know what that means! (It ain’t good.)
Well, he was educated through the sixth grade… was often crude, coarse, silly, immature, tasteless, uncultured, uncouth, grizzly… again, with that dumb toothpick ever extruding from his otherwise vapid stare! Other than that he was a fine guy!
Actually, he was a very honest person in business, a man of surprising faith under the gruff exterior, and a dear uncle who thought I was the next best thing to Jesus Christ. When I first knew Diana, I wondered when I should introduce her to Uncle Art. If it was too soon in our relationship, it might completely scare her off! I eventually thought it was safe and chose a time. I warned her sufficiently in advance about what to expect, and he fulfilled it all! Good night, what a bizarre performance! But ultimately Diana replaced me on his “next to Jesus” list.
Do you have any relatives like that? I’ll bet most of you do! These are people of whom you are more than a bit ashamed to be known as blood relatives.
Imagine how difficult it is for a perfect person to be accepting of non-perfect folks as his family. But Jesus regards us as brothers and sisters. The word “brother” is used with great frequency by Luke, Paul, John, James and Peter to speak of others in the body of Christ. It is, if fact, one of the most common words of the New Testament. Not only these five authors, but the unknown writer of the book of Hebrews liked it also. Here is how he frames it…
HEB 2:10 In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.
It is really pretty cool that in spite of our sin, the author of salvation is not ashamed to call us brothers and regard us as family. So we are all brothers and sisters of each other… not just for this world, but for eternity! It might be good for us to get used to each other, since we are going to live together forever.
Do you actively and regularly think of others in the church as your family? This can be a wonderful concept, particularly for those who have no family locally, or for those who have family situations that are far from Ozzie and Harriet, or Leave It To Beaver.
So how are you doing with the brothers and sisters? Is there a sibling you are finding yourself walking a wide circle around – someone you would just rather not claim as your spiritual flesh and blood? Don’t you suppose that grieves the heavenly father? If you are a parent of multiple children, you know how you have no ability to rank your love for any one above the other – you love them all with the same intensity. And when you see these people you love so very much… just hating on each other… it grieves you so deeply. You wonder why they cannot just love each other as you love them! And so it is with God.
1PE 3:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1JN 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
HEB 13:1 Keep on loving each other as brothers.
So, hey… you gotta love the others in the family! God wrote you into His story to be family with each other, and the hero, Jesus Christ. So my brother or sister – don’t be the sap running through our family tree!