Several years ago we were on vacation, and one of our kids was upset with a decision that we had made. In the heat of moment, they blurted out, “I wish I wasn’t part of this family!” It was not one of our finer moments. Without any prompting they apologized and as a family we have chuckled about that episode over the years. That is the funny thing about siblings—you can’t get rid of them. You can get frustrated with them. You can ignore them. You might even be estranged from them. But none of this changes the reality. Regardless of your mood, whether you like it or not, your family is your family. They aren’t going anywhere.
There is a needed lesson here for us as believers. If you have turned from your sin and turned to Jesus as your Savior, you have been adopted into God’s family and given privileges as an heir. It is a wonderful reality. But it also means that you have spiritual siblings. You are not the only child in the family. In her recent book, Why Can’t We Be Friends?, Aimee Byrd pointed out the obvious, “If you are born into a family full of siblings, you can’t pretend you’re an only child. It just doesn’t work that way.”
But it seems that many professing believers are attempting to do just that. They have come to view their faith as a purely private endeavor. It is between them and God and involves no one else. I was officiating a funeral earlier this spring. One of the family members came up to me after the service and expressed appreciation for the message. I asked her about her story. She responded sheepishly, “I am a Christian but I don’t attend church.” Excuse me? How does that work? What would make us think that we can claim God as our Father while ignoring our siblings?
I see this played out in countless smaller ways—when we express worship to God on Sunday mornings but avoid deeper relationships with other believers, when we refuse to share in family responsibilities by not giving of our finances or engaging in ministry, when we don’t take an active interest in the welfare of our siblings, when we pray for ourselves but not for the family (i.e. “Our Father…”), and when we make decisions with no regard for our siblings. My brothers and sisters, we have not been given the option to live as only children. If you deny your siblings, you have to ask yourself whether you are really part of the family.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/VNjNtdu0yCw