Within This Woman’s House
Who is My Family
Family relationships can be wonderful in so many ways. Sadly, many are tense. Certain holidays and events seem to call out those relationships and make things hurt more. Not in all relationships, maybe just a few or maybe just one.
Have you ever been in an uncomfortable family setting, wanting to escape, not attend or thinking thoughts you could not say?
We deal with it in different ways…we clam up, we drink alcohol to get through it, fake a smile and nod, or worse of all speak out and make a scene. Known anyone like that?
This question of who is my family came up recently with a young woman who was adopted. We were having several conversations about how she felt hurt by a birth sibling that pretty much showed little interest in her. This situation had been hurting her for many years, her whole life actually. It was evident that when she spoke about it, it was a struggle for her.
As we were talking one day, I shared with her this story in the gospel of Mark.
While teaching, Jesus answers the question “who are my mother and my brothers?” While speaking to the group gathered around him, Jesus is specific when he states who is to be our family.
Mark 3:31-35 Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”
So I asked this woman, “Who is your family then? Is it the ones we know by blood? Or is it the ones we are connected to by believing the same way?”
This message from Jesus seemed to ease her tension. It actually released the stress knowing God had an answer of the topic that brought her so much pain. She realized that God did provide for her needs to have a brother. And parents who cared for her well-being. God had provided her with another sibling, and parents, not by blood. A family seeking to do God’s will. It was an amazing moment for her. She understood and hugged me. She hasn’t given up on her birth brother. She prays for him instead. Maybe one day he will understand and seek God in a similar way.
Jesus said families would divide over him.
Luke 12:51-53 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
It can be difficult to accept. It is not comfortable to feel alienated from a family we grew up in and will always love. Yet, God calls us out when we choose to follow his ways. How do we belong to a family that doesn’t want to do God’s will? Or is the case that we can still love our family of origin and grow to have another family?
Can you relate? Write down or discuss your thoughts on this.
Blood relationships are primary. We expect them to be healthy, happy and like TV shows/movies tell us they should look like…it is true that blood is thicker than water. But what happens when we feel disconnected to our own relatives? Aren’t we supposed to love them anyway? It’s hard when you don’t like their behavior or they do not treat others with the same respect. And in close encounters like family celebrations, tensions can mount, even if you are the only one stewing inside!
When God brings understanding, he bestows his peace. Let me repeat that…when God brings understanding we will develop a peacefulness inside. That is how his Spirit moves and blesses us.
That peace will give us strength to deal with uncomfortable family encounters. And even the encounters that last a very long time. Not all will come into agreement. Actually it is our job to be an example and teach in love.
Allow God to do the work of moving someone else’s heart to know him, if it is his will. In other words, leave the heavy lifting to him. It is not heavy to him at all!
Ask God to help you to stay in the Spirit.
He will honor that request.
What he requires of us is to stay focused on him. Let him take care of what we cannot control…others.
Blood may be thicker than water. And Jesus will meet your needs of having a “family” whether they are biological or not.
God’s family is forever.