Have you noticed how often the Bible refers to the body of believers as a family? If we are found in Christ, we are given the title of “Children of God” – we are brothers and sisters by divine adoption! In 1 Timothy 5, Paul instructs his protégé to treat the men and women under his care as family members. Why would the Holy Spirit inspire Paul to make such a comparison?
It seems obvious at first, but upon further examination, some of us may ask, “Do I really want to treat my brothers and sisters in Christ the way I do my own family?”
Sadly, many families are broken and wounded. Disagreements and quarrels often lead to heartache. By the grace of God, reconciliation is possible, but the scars of past harm cause regret. Many families struggle in private and put on a mask to hide the dysfunction – especially around friends, co-workers and other Christians. How many times have we spoken harshly to one another on the way to church and then forced a smile to greet those who have no idea about our struggles? How often do we mistreat our family members, but go out of our way to be kind and generous to those whose approval we seek.
When Paul wrote to Timothy about family, he had a particular dynamic in mind – one of love, unity, honor and grace. A God-designed family draws others close – it invites, encourages, exhorts and forgives. Our faith and witness to the world are revealed by how we treat the family that God has given us – no matter what the circumstances. The love that starts in the family is a love that spreads to the body of believers and then to a world desperately needing Christ. The bond of a family is one of God’s greatest gifts.
BELIEF IN MOTION
- How can I demonstrate love and respect for my father, mother, husband, wife, siblings, children and extended family members?
- Can I fully love the body of Christ (and those who do not believe in God) if I am hostile towards my own family?
- If my friends observed a day in the life of my family, what would they see?
- Jesus says that the way I treat another person is the way I treat Him. How am I treating Jesus through my family members?