I’ve got a really big family. And we don’t always get along.
I’m not talking about genetics. My immediate family has worked hard at connecting with each other.
I’m referring to that ever-growing family of people who are followers of Jesus.
There are those who’ve said, “They’re not really family. They just believe the same way you do.” Or, “There’s nothing else you have in common? That’s not a real family.”
The best one is, “I see no resemblance.”
Those who don’t want to deal with God may find this a challenge to understand, but He refers to Himself as our Father. And He is. God has created each of us in His image, and there’s a yearning in each heart that can really only be satisfied by knowing God in a personal way.
So God has a really big family, one that crosses many generations, countries, ethnicities, and stories.
There are times when I struggle with my two sisters and brother who are my blood relatives. We’ve similar stories, but significantly different experiences and perspectives.
We don’t always agree.
Throw a variety of ages, languages, values, and expectation into the mix and you’ve got a bubbling pot of different where the flavors are beginning to mix but just aren’t there yet. You take a taste and realize it’s missing something.
Time to simmer.
We’re in the midst of our big conference this summer, with over 5,000 unique people seeking common ground to be able to relate to each other.
That should be our common faith. But sometimes the lens we view life through is smudged by our own attitudes and expectations.
With a variety of incredible speakers, we’ve been encouraged, had our values prodded, and have been challenged to think outside our own boxes.
What’s fascinating is we’re all truly motivated by a deep love for Jesus.
At times we don’t agree on what that should look like.
To many that might sound like fake faith. If you can’t agree on what you believe, how can it possibly be real?
That’s the beauty of a Father who knows His kids well. He sees where each of us is and responds to us in our need. My parents couldn’t do that well–it was often easier to lump “the kids” in a group and deal with them as a unit.
God, however, sees our uniquenesses. Our stories give us different frames of reference for how we view what we understand about the world and God.
Life impacts how we view the big picture. Our upbringing, culture, traditions, the people who impacted us, positively and negatively, all speak into our response to one another. Every response is different. Sameness isn’t the answer–that’s boring. Beauty can be discovered in our distinctness.
Unity then becomes the choice.
Here’s the wonder in this. Celebrating our divergent views gives us a greater appreciation for the uniqueness of those around us.
And the voice to share how Jesus met each of us.
The family is a little dysfunctional. What family isn’t? But don’t judge us by how we resemble one another.
See how much we reflect our Dad.