My husband was remarking yesterday that one of our sons got my fine hair. What he was saying is that this particular son looks like he has thinning hair, and he is only in his 20s. My first thought was, “Well he has hair just like my brother (who has high widow’s peak and thin hair), so it must be in the family genes somewhere.” This makes sense, thinning hair and baldness usually comes from the mother’s side of the family anyway. The funny thing is … both my brother and I are adopted!
I never stop and think about my brother as being anything other than my brother. I don’t wonder about who his parents are. I know who they are. They are my parents, the ones who adopted us, and he is my brother. I feel the same way about my parents. I often forget that whatever they may be dealing with from a genetic point of view has no real bearing on me, but I find myself thinking about it the other way around, you know, like – “Will I get my grandmother’s arms when I get older?”
“That He might redeem them which were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of the sons. And because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:5-6
It struck me – this is the way we should be in our relationship with Christ and fellow believers. We may be different looking on the outside but we are all family. We share the same brother, Christ; and the same heavenly father. Galatians 4:5-6 says “That He might redeem them which were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of the sons. And because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Yes, we have been adopted by God. The scripture talks about us being grafted into the vine that was and is Israel (Romans 11:17) and so we become part of the family.
Sometimes, I can get frustrated with my brother and I am sure he does with me as well. But despite how frustrated I become with him, I love him and he will always be my brother. I will do whatever is needed to help him if the need arises. The notion that we are adopted has no bearing. However, can I say the same about my brothers and sisters in Christ?
Do I have the love for my fellow believers that I should as one of their family members? After all, Christians come in many forms and from many walks of life. That is one of the miracles of the Gospel. But I have my notions as to what it means to be a Christian. Some of those things are more a result of my denominational upbringing and what I am comfortable with. And I know that not everyone shares those same convictions. We are taught in Romans that some can eat meat sacrificed to idols and it is not sin, but for others who have a conviction about this to do so would be sin. Can I love, as I should? Are they my brothers and sisters more than anything else?
Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35). Before I judge, condemn, or even have that disapproving thought about my brother or sister in Christ; I first must ask myself – do I really love them? If not, I am nothing more than a sounding brass or tinkling cymbal. (I Corinthians 13:1)
What are your thoughts on why those who should demonstrate love can end up having such a hard time loving those different from themselves?