My Brother’s Keeper
Debbie Wright, Assistant Editor, Crosswalk.com
“What should I write my next devo on? I probably should start it this afternoon,” I typed into Google chat.
My fiancé wrote back quickly, “Not sure. I gotta go meet my family now.” He then inserted an excited smiley-face emoticon.
Ah, I thought, smiling. Family.
My future in-laws live in Florida and are driving up for a visit this week. Ever since my fiancé moved up to Virginia to attend college, it has been difficult for him to be so far from them. They are a close, love-filled family. My own family is also very close. We love referring to each other by our family titles. When answering the phone from a sibling one is likely to hear “Brother!” or “Hello Sister.” There are no “in laws” in my family. My brother’s wife is simply “sister” – she calls my parents “Mother” and “Father.” I thank God for blessing me with such a beautiful family.
Obviously not all families are close and loving. But nevertheless, Scripture has some pretty hard-hitting things to say about familial relationships. In fact, some of the harshest, most straight-forward words Paul wrote had to do with how we are supposed to treat our families. In his first letter to Timothy he said this:
“If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 1:8
That is convicting. That means a lot of things.
That means my family members are my responsibility. That means I cannot ask, Genesis 4:9, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” It means when our grandparents and parents become elderly, we are responsible for making sure they are cared for. It might mean hassle, time, and money, but they are family. It means that no matter how wayward and rebellious my siblings might become, I must still love them, pray for them, and not speak slander about them. They might not deserve my love and devotion, but they are family. It means that, when I become a wife, caring for my husband and providing for him is never a responsibility I am allowed to shirk, no matter how tired I am or how grumpy he is. It means that, if I ever have children in my care, making sure their needs are met and their safety is my priority.
Because our God is a God of community and family. The Father, Son, and Spirit lived in community before the world was made. God filled the earth with animals that live in family units and care for one another. And after he created one man, he said “Genesis 2:18,” and created woman. He created family. Family is a reflection of God’s love. Whether we are fortunate enough to have a thriving relationship with our biological family, or if our family is a rag-tag blend of church members, neighbors, and friends, we are still charged to care for them. If we neglect this duty, we have “denied the faith;” we have denied the importance of love and selflessness that Christ came to proclaim.
Intersecting Faith and Life
How can you love your family today? Maybe call up a family member you’ve not spoken to in a while and see if you can do anything for them.