Families. They can carry a lot of emotional baggage for people. Even people with the best families all have memories or moments from childhood that they work through as adults, whether that means navigating family drama, unmet expectations, or figuring out that your “perfect” family wasn’t so perfect after all. So how are we supposed to respond to the invitation into God’s family when we might not have the best experiences with our own families? While we may not be able to provide all the answers to that question in a single post, this excerpt from the Neighbor: Embrace Families Bible Plan is a great place to start.
Families are our first connection to everything we need to thrive. They are where we’ll first feel accepted—or rejected. They’re the people who are supposed to celebrate us on our best days and give us shoulders to cry on during difficult days.
We all have different histories and backgrounds when it comes to the families we were born or raised in. But we’re all invited into the only perfect family ever to exist—God’s family.
As with all invitations, God gives each of us a choice whether to accept it or reject it. But we’re all invited into it. Some of us have accepted the invitation, some of us are unaware of it, and others have rejected it.
Sometimes it’s easy to then view people in two categories—those who are in the family of God and those who aren’t. But what if we thought about it another way? What if we chose to treat people like they belong to God’s family even before they believe they’re in it?
Jesus modeled this principle for us in three different parables in Luke 15. The first was about a shepherd who had 100 sheep. One sheep wandered away, and the shepherd left the 99 to go after the one. When he did, he brought it back on his shoulders.
The next was about a woman who had 10 silver coins and lost one. She looked high and low until she found it, then took time to celebrate with her friends.
The third was about a son who left his father, squandered his inheritance, and returned home in shame, hoping his father would let him work as a slave. What happened instead is a picture of grace. The father embraced the son, rejoicing that he returned.
The sheep, the coin, and the son never lost their value, and they were never uninvited. The same is true for us.
As followers of Jesus, let’s be known for treating everyone like family—because, ultimately, we’re all invited into God’s family. In fact, Jesus said that His followers would be known for the way we love.
As we see from those parables, love isn’t passive. It’s active. It’s not content with simply being in God’s family—it calls us to expand His family.
In God’s family, we’re accepted. We’re cared for. We’re abundantly loved. And living from that love and acceptance allows us to show that same kind of care to others. So how do we get started?
One of the best ways to start loving others like family is to start with your own family—no matter what that looks like. So today, spend some time thinking about these questions:
- Do I fully accept and believe that I’m invited into God’s family? If not, how can I take steps to fully believe it?
- How can I treat others like they’re invited into God’s family?
- What are some ways I can show love to my own family? What about the families in my community?
Pray: God, thank You for calling me Your child. Help me live confidently in this truth so that I can invite others into Your family. I know that families matter to You, so they also matter to me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Challenge: How does it feel to know that you’ve always been invited into God’s family? How will you treat others, knowing that they’re invited into God’s family, too?