Many Christians refer to the people in their church as the “church family.” We call fellow Christians “brothers and sisters.” But do we as Christians really live like a family — a loving family, minus the bickering, feuding, and conflict? Here are six ways in which we might better better live out the loving family reality that Scripture describes.
- Actively help family members in difficult circumstances. In the New Testament, family members who had never met and were separated by hundreds of miles, nevertheless took great responsibility for their family members by sending them money, housing them, and caring for them in tangible ways. Could we do the same for family members — even those in the extended family, churches abroad — who are starving, who are in need of medical attention, who are in need of Bibles, who are in need of Bible training, who are in need of clean water?
- Look for the needs of family members. We can easily become so preoccupied with our own set of needs and circumstances that we fail to think that our own family members might be experiencing difficulties, too. Ask about them. Find out. Seek to help.
- Get to know your family members. In our individualistic, materialistic, and megachurch-driven age, personal relationships are infrequently forged, even within churches. Nonetheless, there is still a need for gathering together, fellowshipping together, and befriending one another. Meet your brothers and sisters. Find out who you’re worshipping with, and get to know them.
- Care for the young ones in the family. As in all families, there are members of different ages and different maturity levels. If there are those who need more care than others, give them the care and attention they need. 1 Peter 2:2 discusses those who may still be spiritual “babies.” Don’t neglect those who are new in the faith. Rather, seek them out, and try to be a help and encouragement to them.
- Avoid sibling rivalry. It is a sad irony of human relationships that those we love most, we hurt most. It’s our family members, of all people, with whom we sometimes find it so hard to get along with. Sibling rivalry may exist on the church level, too. Take measures to root out the rivalry, and restore the love.
- Pray for other family members. Christian love is expressed by prayer for one another. The Apostle Paul was a man who loved deeply, and he had a lot of people to love — all the Christians in the many churches he influenced. Paul prayed for these Christians, and even wrote down his prayers for their benefit and example. (See Ephesians 3:14-19). Christians are commanded to pray for each other, because we are members of each other — family members.