The church is the family of God, we must relate to one another as family members. It is never intended to be an organization with structures and hierarchy. When Paul gives instructions for the church, he emphasizes the family aspect of the church. We are to treat an older man as we would encourage a father and we are to treat younger men as brothers. Respect older women as mothers and younger women as sisters but in all purity. For Jesus, those who do God’s will are His mother, brothers and sisters. Our common faith in Jesus Christ binds us together as we all have become the children of God.
The problem with many churches is that we do not know how to relate to one another as family members. The reason is obvious: we do not how to behave in our own families. Paul urges the children and grandchildren of widows to first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for it is pleasing in the sight of God. If we do not honor our own fathers and mothers, we have broken the Fifth Commandment and we are in sin.
We must learn to take care of our own relatives, providing for them when there is a need. If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. The family is the place to practice our faith, if we cannot do it at home, we can never do it at church. The household of man is the training ground for the household of God. Our behavior at home is a true test whether we are a genuine believer or not. Today, we have seen many Christians not treating their family members well. They are dishonoring their parents, engaging in sibling rivalries and cannot get along with relatives. In fact, they are denying their faith and have disqualified themselves from being a part of the family of God.
Those who are closest to us are usually those who have hurt us the most. Family members are supposed to love and care for us but if they have failed to do so, we can be deeply wounded. When parents do not know how to love their children sacrificially or when they neglect their needs, children’s lives are damaged. I have seen many who cannot forgive their fathers, mothers or siblings because of past hurts. Very few of us understand that if we cannot take care of our relatives, our faith is in jeopardy and we become worse than an unbeliever.
How is your relationship with your relatives? Is there anyone in your family you have not forgiven? Your faith is to be practiced first in your own family, then in God’s family. Make it a priority to be reconciled with you family members. You may then reconcile them to God, making them members of God’s family.
Ps 118:5-21 Jer 35:1-36:32 1 Tim 5:1-25 Prov 25:25-27