Remember when Sister Sledge sang, “We Are Family”? That song always made me happy because I had an idea of what family meant and that mental association filled my spirit with joy. Like so many others, as I grew older I expanded my definition of family to include friends. Friends disappointed me though. Such disappointment reminded me that family is family in fact, not contingent on how I may feel.
One day, I found myself in another environment which challenged me to redefine my concept of family. Yes, one day I was entering a church building and someone referenced me as a Sister. Up until that point, I was not in the practice of identifying other Christians as my Brother or Sister. Initially, I frowned by these labels because outside of Sunday sanctuaries, these same people fell significantly short when compared to the behavior of my biological family and really close friends, who were my family. It took some time, but I began to understand what Jesus meant.
Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother. “ —Mark 3:35
These days, if someone identifies themselves as a Christian I take notice. I want to know if we are Family, so I pay attention to their traits. Truth is, for me being around family is fun and I am always open to meeting new relatives. It makes no difference if I see my family members often or not, the love that exists in the security of knowing that we are bonded through blood creates an unspoken fort of protection. It creates an environment where we can relax, be vulnerable, and love without fear of being taken advantage of or of rejection. We cheer, challenge, and assist each other to higher heights. Jealousy does not exist amongst Family. We understand the concept of being blessed by association. The unity we have is reflected in the verses Sister Sledge sang:
What a powerful image: FAMILY. Either we are, or we are not. Differences in our denominations, our complexions, our languages keep many sanctuaries segregated. These things become distractions, keeping many Relatives apart and diverting many away from one crucial question, “Are you doing God’s will?”