The other day I was reading my Facebook© news feed and came across an interesting question posted by a friend of a friend. To paraphrase, the question was:
Has anybody else taken a break from ‘family’? Just stopped going [to your father’s house]? How long? What did you do instead? Would you do it again?
The responses revealed that, in fact, many ‘family members’ have decided to stop getting together with ‘the family’ and actually have no plans on ever returning. Some people stated that they have no problem with their father, but just cannot handle the hassles of their siblings. It seems that in many ‘families’ brothers and sisters share their opinions, express their preferences, dictate their conversations and play their politics. Rather than sit next to Dad at the supper table, they are content to sit alone and avoid the abuses of other family members.
I understand. My ‘family’ has its quirks. There are times that we can be judgmental, heavy-handed and distant. We don’t always listen to one another, interrupt each other and often express our opinion without regard for the sensitivities of younger ears. We are not perfect. We all, at one time or another, have disobeyed or disappointed our ‘folks’. We all, at one time or another, blamed our brother or sister for something of which we were guilty. We all covered our shame by striking out against another at the table.
But we are still ‘family’. Whether we like it or not, we were born to live together. We were brought together without our consent but from the first day onward have been nurtured by the one who gave us life. We were raised to know right from wrong and provided with every need and necessity. We were loved for who we are and encouraged to utilize our special gifts and abilities. We were regaled with accounts from our rich family history and reminded to dream about what the future could hold. Despite its dysfunctions, our ‘family’ is a place of love and peace. Yet, some of the kids refuse to come ‘home’.
I have no doubt that this breaks the heart of any parent whose children refuse fellowship with the rest of the family. Perhaps if we went ‘home’ occasionally simply to spend time with our father, to glean from his wisdom and gain from his provision, we could overlook the glaring faults of our siblings sitting beside us. Perhaps we could, while sitting there, spend time listening to one another; we could offer to bandage one another’s ‘wounds’ and correct one another’s ‘crazy’. What if we would reflect our parent’s love and act in ways that encourage and edify our brothers and sisters? Perhaps more would want to come ‘home’.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24–25 (NIV)