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How big is your family?

I have friends who come from very large families, with siblings at every turn of the corner, sometimes nearing a dozen or more! I cannot imagine a household filled to the brim like that because I pretty much was raised as an only child. Born the last of three, but with 10 years difference between my sister and I, by the time they were graduating high school I was just barely in elementary! The remaining years left me still as the third child, but really as the 'only' since they had already flown the nest. In reality, we are an 'only child' in God's eyes - attention dedicated to our 'upbringing' as though there were no other kids in the family. Yet, we are one of so many more than we ever could count! We just don't all have the same last name, look alike, sport similar hair colors, or merely resemble each other by the shade of our skin. We are indeed many, yet one.

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in his family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen him. God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters. (1 John 4:20-21 ERV)

Brothers and sisters in his family - many, yet one. We cannot ever turn our back on one because they don't look like us, act as we think they should act, or come with all the accouterments we believe they should possess. It was Richard Bach who reminded us, "The bond that links true family is not of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life." While we are all 'bound' by a 'blood tie' - the blood Christ - we are not entirely 'similar' in how we walk out this life, are we? We have little things that give us very unique lives simply because of where we are born, who raises us, what we gain from our educations, and how we have experienced things in our lifetime. Unique, but the same. How can that be? It is because of the blood of Christ that are the same - it is because of the blood of our parents that we are unique!

Twins are said to be identical at times, but are they truly 'exactly' the same? If we look close enough, one develops just a little differently than the other, even though it may be the slightest difference we observe. We aren't meant to be 'clones of Christ' - we are meant to be his children, each unique in their own way, yet each bound by the blood that makes us 'family'. How are you treating the members of your family today? Oh, not just the ones that are born as your brothers or sisters in the family that bears the same surname as yours, but this bigger family we call the family of God. Are you guilty of turning a blind eye to someone's need that is right there in front of you? Are you dismissive of someone's struggle with sin? Are you unwilling to help someone be lifted who has fallen so low they see no way up? If you could truly see them as 'one of your own', would your response be different toward them?

We are asked to love each other as brothers and sisters - in turn, showing how we love God. We cannot turn a blind eye, be dismissive of a struggle, or neglect those we are called into 'family' to be with during our time on this earth. We are indeed 'family' - if you hurt, even if we don't really 'like' you all that well, we are called to partner with you in this time of your heartache and struggle. We love others first, and in turn, we are really showing how much we love God! Just sayin!

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