“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down the beard, running down Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes.
It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion, For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. Psalm 133
If you’re part of a family, you know the truth of the Psalm above, and you know what the reverse feels like. Family is wonderful when everyone is getting along and helping each other– it’s a blessing. When the family quarrels bitterly, life becomes miserable. Family members have the power to lift us up or tear us down.
In many places the Bible refers to the church in terms of family. It is the “household” of God. We are to treat older people as parents, honoring and respecting them. We are to treat those of our own generation as brothers and sisters. When a child is baptized into our congregation, we all take on the responsibility of raising them in the faith.
Unfortunately we don’t always take these “family” responsibilities seriously. When we don’t agree with someone, or they are rude to us, we just leave, thinking we’ll find a more congenial group; or we stay and gossip, forming cliques that divide and weaken the body of Christ. When a brother or sister in Christ stops attending worship or Bible study, instead of calling them up to encourage them and see what’s wrong, we just shrug and say, “oh well” or maybe we think, “the Pastor should check in on them.” We don’t want to risk confrontation or unpleasantness. When an older member can no longer drive, we consider our own convenience instead of offering them a ride to church. When a job needs doing, we tell ourselves, we just don’t have the time or the money or the talent to help.
The list can go on and on, and we’re all guilty of neglecting God’s family at times. It’s true no individual can do everything– but we can all do something, and we should prayerfully consider what it is God wants us to do right now — at this time, in this place, with the family He has given us.
“Let brotherly love continue.” Hebrews 13:1