God Designs Family to Love One Another Through it All

To know that you are genuinely loved makes such a difference on a psyche.

 Everyone can see we're together
As we walk on by
And we fly just like birds of a feather
I won't tell no lie

All of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We're giving love in a family dose 

Those are lyrics from We Are Family, a 1979 song by vocal group Sister Sledge. The song was originally rejected by Atlantic Records and later was released and became a monster hit. In 2017, the song was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant."

We Are Family popped into my head recently as my family was returning from a short vacation in Austin where we celebrated Vanessa’s 30th birthday. (Again smile.)

The five of us – Vanessa, me, and our three sons, Andrew, Jordan, and Joshua, along with a family friend – had a great time with scavenger hunts, and capitol tours and ziplining and more.

(Oh, and lest I forget – our chihuahua Noella also took the trip. If you’ve seen a certain woman’s Instagram account, you can guess whose idea that was. But I digress.)

On the three-hour drive back from Austin, I spent some time joyfully reflecting on God’s incredible plan for humanity, and on the ways and means He uses to accomplish His plan for mankind.

Family is HUGE in the working of that plan. There is no suitable price tag one can place on the value of a functional and healthy family in society. Better families make everything better!

Yes, the 21st-century family can look different – there are traditional families, single-parent families, childless families, extended families, blended families, and more. Let me hasten to add that humanity has sought to tamper with the definition of family, even redefine it, but God’s design and intent for family has not wavered one iota. He is still God and He changes not!

I’m also grateful for extended family – there are precious souls in our family circle who are not related to us by blood or marriage. But they have commiserated with us in bad times, cheered us in sad times, cautioned us in mad times, and celebrated with us in good times. They didn’t steal our hearts – we gladly gave them over and are glad to walk with them wherever they might go. They are family!

As each day brings us closer to our expiration dates, I for one choose to recognize the great value and treasure that family is. Family means more and more to me. No family walks perfectly, but my family is there for me. We all love and support one another. I go to sleep each night resting well in the truth that I know that I am loved. There are those who cannot say that with full confidence, and that is such a sad, sad travesty. Prison for instance. Low mood and depression are often common in state prison, where only about 31 percent of inmates report a personal visit in a month.

And for the hard-hearted who might think of saying, “Well, they messed up. They don’t deserve a visitor.” To you I would say that we were also once prisoners, guilty of our sin. We received a visitor in the person of Jesus Christ. Yes, crime deserves to be punished. But all have sinned and fall short of God’s spectacular glory. I am so grateful to be a recipient of His amazing grace. Hallelujah, somebody!

To know that you are loved makes such a difference on a psyche. God intended us to love one another. The Lord Jesus said so. In John 13:34-35, Jesus said: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Starting with the very first family, Adam and Eve, God blessed and encouraged families. He commanded our first parents to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,” Genesis 1:28.

When Moses received the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, God gave a direct command to offspring with regard to their relationship with their parents. He said, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you," Exodus 20:12.

Jesus furthered the family talk when He taught how essential marriage was to God’s plan for man: “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate,” Mark 10:6-9.

Jesus gave us yet another of His supreme examples of caring and value of family. As He was near to leaving His last holy breath on the cross, He commended the care of His mother Mary to the disciple John. Hear His words, putting others before His agony, even on the doorstep of death. “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home, John 19:26–27.

Bottom line – family matters! We live in an age and time where so many families are dysfunctional and unhealthy. Now most families I know have something that’s not quite right about them, be it an unsaved family member, a black sheep, a funky attitude or two, an offense that has caused division, financial problems, health problems, and on and on.

The questions on the floor for you and me are these – am I doing everything I can to makes things right? Does my behavior and do my responses emulate the character of Christ, especially if the wheels have fallen off for someone else in my family? Is there enough evidence available to convict me of loving the unlovable, forgiving the unforgivable, offering hope to the hopeless.

In a conversation with God, would He have to remind me of what He did for me, when He CHOSE to love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable, and give hope to the hopeless?

Why is family important? Well, even studies from the secular world have shown that a functional and healthy family can help reduce stress and anxiety, lead to a healthier lifestyle and lengthen your life. The benefits of a good family are such critical components of a full, meaningful life. Control what you can control – do your part!

♫ We are family ♫
 Get up everybody and sing ♫

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