Family Factor

We are not made to be alone. This is a truth that God said about us in the very beginning. “It is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18a).” That’s pretty straight forward, something I love about the teachings within the bible, simple ideas that radically change lives. I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, the idea that we are not made to be alone, and because of that, God gives us a family. This then lead me to think about what exactly a family is. Sure one way to view it could be your direct biological family, but I think there is more to it than that. One of the best definitions of family that I found while researching this idea was simply this, a person or people related to one and so to be treated with a special loyalty or intimacy. To be treated with special loyalty or intimacy. How powerful is that? Family is a factor that each of us needs in our lives, a community that is loyal to each other and can be there for us in times of need. The traditional idea of what a family is has changed. I used to think of the Norman Rockwell Freedom from Want painting, the one of the turkey dinner, all the family gathered around with big smiles. This simply isn’t the same, family goes through hard times. Families aren’t all white picket fence home owners, we are unique and different. We have families of divorce, children who have been victims of abuse, families that have experienced the death of a spouse, homes being combined after parents re-marry, and countless other looks of family. My family has stayed together, but we have seen what addiction can cause within the family and the death of grandparents. In these hard times of family it can be hard to see the essential factor in family, but family is so much more, and there is always hope when God is a centerpiece in your life.

You have a family. We often think of family as being strictly biological, but there’s more to it than that. Family is a group of people that treat each other with loyalty and intimacy, you have a family designed by God. If your family life has been strong, that is fantastic, but you have more family. If your family life has been difficult and sometimes unbearable, I’m so sorry, but take heart, because you have a better family. You see, when we make the choice to have a relationship with Christ, you gain a stronger family. A family is not just your biological, but your spiritual family. You enter a community that is there for you, a place where you can fellowship and share your struggles with, a place where you can belong. You see God designed us for this kind of community, that’s the whole point of the church. Acts 2:42-44 says, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common.” Family is a vital factor that we all need in life, family is designed by God.

Family is present.

The most memorable thing from my childhood is not the specific moments or the movies we would go out and see, the most memorable part is that my family was present. They were present when I struggled with bullies, they were present when I felt alone, and they are present now when I doubt my purpose. A family is present in the lives of its members. We need to find community, a family where we belong. This is why small groups are such an important part of our walk with Christ. A small group is present in each of our lives, and we are present in the lives of those in the group. Being present in the lives of others gives you credibility in their life. If you’re in a small group be present in the lives of those around you, and if you have a family, be present in their life. Being present means that you don’t miss the life changing moments that God sets for you. Be present in the life of your family, and they will be present in yours.

Family is loving.

This can be hard for some. I have had many friends struggle from the pain of divorce or the hurt of abuse. A family that is abusive is not of Christ. A family that is loving is one of Christ. Love is an active verb, meaning that you are caring for the needs of others around you, and they care for your own needs. If you have a family, show them love, let them know even when it seems like you have said it more than enough times, always show love. In my life, my family has always loved me, they were always there to support me and keep me strong. In your community, show them love, we have no idea what someone may be facing. When we show love, we show that we care and we give others a voice when they feel alone. Showing love to others is what Jesus called us to, and when we do that, we are an example of the love that Christ has for everyone.

Family is strong.

This past year has been hard on my family. Most things that could go wrong, did, but family is strong. Family is strong because God is strong. Family is a place where we can come together and stand with each other in the moments when it feels like the world is crumbling down. It’s like when the Avengers or the Justice Society come together in the comics, a great threat that no one hero can do alone, but together, evil doesn’t stand a chance. The same is true for us, when we come together, in your biological family or family of believers, we can stand our ground. My sister is one of the strongest people I know, I’ve been able to count on her as early as I can remember, and over the past year she needed a strong community, she was able to find this community and we all came around and helped as much as we can, because family is strong. Family is strong because God is strong, and we are a community centered on God.

Fam

Family is a powerful thing. I look at a community of believers as a family, because it’s what God intended. I know some of your biological families are hard, dealing with all kinds of pain, but we all have a family with one another. When we follow Christ we have a new idea of what family is. Family is a group connected spiritually that is there for each other in all things. You are an important piece of the family, so step up. If you are in a small group, be there for your brothers and sisters, joining them in prayer and encouragement. If you have a family yourself, don’t miss out on the opportunity. Too many people have had absent parents or broken homes, don’t be one. Work hard at your marriage, and don’t miss out on the phases of your children’s lives. This past weekend I was walking around the sock section at Target (As I do, which is a habit at this point), and I saw something that kick started this whole post. The sock brand, Pair of Thieves, is sold at target and one of the packages caught my eye. It was a dad and kid sock packaged together, so a dad and a kid could wear matching socks. What a beautiful concept. It was just a simple idea from a company that sells fun socks, but God caused me to stop and think about it. What would happen if we made an effort to connect with our family? We have an opportunity to speak into the lives of people around us in community, and make the time we have with our families matter.

Don’t miss out on the power found in family.

-Joshua Thomas

Note: I talked about the pain of others who have been abused in this post. If you are in a home of abuse or are being abused, please get help at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). You are made in the image of God and you are so worth loving.

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