“But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Matthew 12:48
An old adage reminds us we can’t choose our family like we can choose our friends. You may wish you could. Perhaps you are not close to your siblings. Maybe you and your parents argue every time you are in the room together for more than fifteen minutes. Some reading this may have been emotionally or physically abused by a relative. During the “love” month of February, we may find we don’t feel very loving towards our kin.
Jesus asked the messenger sent from his family, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Jesus tells the man that the people seated around Him listening to his teachings are his family. “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (verse 50)
His admonishment to the messenger may seem a bit harsh taken out of context. Jesus isn’t choosing who His family is, but is saying we should treat everyone as family, and those who do the will of God become children of God, thus our spiritual siblings. He also preached in this Gospel about turning the other cheek, forgiving trespasses seventy times seven, and loving our enemies.
Further reading: 5 steps to loving someone you don’t really like.
This is the will of the Father: we are to love families, friends, and even strangers regardless of how they treat us. No, we can’t choose our family. However, we can choose to love them anyway and ask God to help us see them through the eyes of Jesus.
Father in Heaven, teach us to see our family members as they are in Your eyes. We have all fallen short of Your glory and none of us are perfect. Each of us are hurting in some way. Give us understanding and the tolerance to love them as our brother, Jesus Christ loves us. Amen.
The next time a family member rubs you the wrong way, pray before you respond. Allow the Holy Spirit to govern your words and actions.