What exactly is Family?
I have a deep bond with blood relatives. They are family.
I have blood relatives that I have no bond or association with at all, neither good or bad. They are family.
I have blood relatives that I have no bond or association with at all and,
should the opportunity arise, I’ll put a fist in their eye. will more than likely never have a relationship with them. They are family.
We all understand this category of family. It is the basic mathematical expression of essentially a legal relationship.
I have a friend who has extended grace to me when I did not deserve it, listened to me when I was venting or ranting, and has made trips to come see me just to hang out. He is currently letting me store some of my furniture in his garage. He is family.
I have a friend who just got married. He lived with me for a little while and we spent several years nurturing our relationship. He asked me to perform the ceremony, but I was unable to get the time off from work. He is family.
My wife and I decided to call one of the grooms-men during the reception and have him put us on speaker phone, then hold the phone next to a microphone so that we could give our well wishes and toast to the couple. When the folks who were attending the reception heard my voice over the sound system, the place erupted with shouts and cheers. These people are family.
It takes 10 entries, but dictionary.com eventually gets down to:
a group of people who are generally not blood relations but who share common attitudes, interests, or goals and, frequently, live together
Key phrases here… generally not blood related… sharing common attitudes, interests, or goals…
Jesus was sitting around one day teaching a bunch of folks. As the day started to come to an end, His mom and brothers came to get him to bring him home. I guess it was family supper night at Team Josheph’s table. Jesus looks at the messenger and says,
“Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus seems to pretty clearly give us his definition of family. It seems as though he is saying that family is not so much those who share a last name, a historic lineage, or genealogy. Family, to Jesus, were those people who “do the will of the Father in heaven.”
Those people who live for the same goals, sacrifice for the same reasons, commit their time and resources to the same tasks, rejoice and celebrate in the same victories… those people are family.
I am so very lucky to have blood relatives that live, sacrifice, commit to, and rejoice over the same things that I do. These people are family of the most intimate kind. Such sweet minutes and hours of talking and connecting on an almost unspeakable level. I love these folks so much.
I am so immensely blessed to have non blood relatives in my life that live, sacrifice, commit to, and rejoice over the same things that I do. These people are family too. These people are closer to me, have a deeper bond with me, than blood relatives who do not value or engage in things similar to those in which I am engaged.
I have felt guilty for this at times. Having spent some time having coffee with Jesus before my little world starts to stir, I no longer feel guilty for having people who are more “family” to me than my blood relatives.
To all of you who have shed tears with us, for us, or because of us, who have laughed with us, been afraid for us and with us, endured the loss (and potential loss) of life with us, who have celebrated the victory over addiction and new life with us, who have let us live with you and argue with you, who have spent days upon days in the wilderness with me, who have let me be in the way in your environments while you worked and I “helped”, who have prayed with us and for us, who have encouraged us and been encouraged by us, who know Christ and live to make Him known…
Thank you for being my family.
Relationships with relatives can be difficult. I understand this well.
Life with family is rejuvenating and encouraging.
Please feel free to delineate the relationships in your life according to relatives and family, and understand that blood lines are not the lines of demarcation for these groups.