So many examples of what family isn’t.
Not so many examples of what it is.
However, I think we see, through the collective group of those that follow Jesus’ example, what it could look like:
Intimate. No blanket statements allowed here. No general truths or “fix em all” solutions allowed. Every thought and interaction is intentional and personal…no one wants cookie cutter face time.
Family doesn’t mean you’re obsessive, but you sure as heck gotta see each other more than once a week. I’m not sure what parenting looked like in your world, but coaching, advising, teaching or growing your kid 1 time a week probably wouldn’t reap the best fruit would it? 1 interaction a week seems to be the gold standard stateside. Not sure when relationship was reduced to a checklist.
Not easily offended.
Love truly seems to create this anti-offense barrier. When you truly have someone’s best in mind, you don’t scrutinize. You seek to understand. “Why are you doing this? Is it intentional? Am I misunderstanding how you’re approaching this situation?”
I spent quite a few years expecting everyone to be this way or that. Otherwise my reaction would look like disappointment, frustration or anger. I hadn’t really experienced love yet. I had, to an extent, interacted with compassion, forgiveness and some level of empathy…but not love Himself fully. Not to where it consumed my ability to be offended. Where I could see people’s value past their performance.
Love isn’t easily offended…and it’s hard to be a family without love at the center.
Family has the ability to reason. It’s not that everything has to occur in a meeting…it’s just more complicated than texting. It’s more complicated than observation and reaction…family requires synthesizing big picture things, approaching people and learning the phrase, “Okay, where do WE go from here?” Why do you do the things you do?
I think we’ve all seen it. Where the “master” is so worried that the “learner” isn’t going to do “well” that they sorta overly control everything and flood that persons life with what is probably not healthy boundaries…just like in a marriage where one spouse is overly worried about their mate’s relationship with Jesus…they overlord and carry the other’s burdens…however to know God, is to know that God is dramatically, passionately and concernedly interested in growing every child into whom they were designed to be…and good leaders and good friends simply host or help that process along…they don’t need to become the life water…they simply point others to Him.
I think at some point in time you realize that God is your provider. While laughter, celebration, expression and mourning can all happen within the context of groups, and should, I believe Jesus is the true life giver. When you open up the fire-hydrant of God’s provision and teaching, you begin to realize that Abba has your back. He’s going to have your every step, every bill, every issue.
I believe the more we experience Jesus’ love…the easier it is to show that same self-less love to others. It becomes more and more our heart, to provide a personified example of how love interacts with a person.
For me this looks like acting like a Father. Fighting for, protecting…seeking out and pursuing people…despite what they give back to me.