Loving Family
 
What is my Facebook feed full of these days? Kids crafting, snowman building, delicious meals being prepared, excerpts of funny conversations, and family games all wholesome byproducts of a mandate to stay home. 
 
My home experiences those moments, too. We eat well thanks to the talents of my wife. I have my evening cuddle time with my youngest boy just as the day winds down and his little body is ready to rest. My older boys have shared plenty of laughs as they raced anything with wheels down the hill in our backyard to the point that we have the start of a dirt track where there used to be a lawn.
 
But there are a lot of moments that are not so Facebook worthy. The house is not the cleanest as it serves as home, school, and the main source of entertainment. My wife says something and I respond for further clarification with a one word question that is asked more in a tone of one annoyance than one wanting to know more. The neighbors are likely tired of hearing tears from wounds that were either generously given from one brother to another or just self-inflicted by an infamous “Hey ya’ll, watch this!” moment.
 
Family is the source of great joy, the funniest moments, and mysteriously enduring love. Family also contains a crazy dynamic of conflict, frustration, and it’s frequently, well, messy!
 
It’s interesting and slightly confusing as to why God chose to speak of the church in familial language. “Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters (1 Tim. 5:2, 3).” 
 
The Chinese cultural emphasis on the need for others, especially family, has always impressed me. As much as we can be frustrated by our family, we cannot deny the fact that we need them. The love of a mother, the instruction of a father, and the camaraderie of a brother or sister. And, likewise, I hope through this pandemic we have learned the need for the community of believers. Yes, church, like our own families, can often be messy. In this context, though, one learns best what it means to be patient, forgive, love deeply, and enjoy another’s presence. By his trans-formative grace, it is in the context of the family, that we grow up to be more like our Father.
Ben – International Ministry