Devotions

We Are Family

January 23, 2019
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)
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Family is supposed to look out for each other, but that doesn’t always happen. My daughter had a bit of a lisp, and some boys on the school bus were making fun of her. They’d tease her, call her names and mimic her talking with her lisp, of course exaggerating. Spit actually flew from their middle-school mouths to my little girl’s face!

She came home in a puddle of humiliation.

I wanted to climb aboard the yellow bus like a mildly deranged mama bear and have a swipe or two at those hooligans, but of course, I restrained myself. (I aspire to be sanely involved with my children’s conflicts.) I prayed for grace, forgiveness and wisdom, because the main instigator was my friend’s son. Yikes!

And the worst part — my son was a witness to what was happening to his sister.

“Sweetie, what did you do when those mean boys were picking on your sister?”

My usually reliable son averted his eyes and lowered his head.

“Nothing.”

Grrr. I wanted to jump out of my skin. But motherhood is all about gulping those deep breaths and praying those “Help me, now!” prayers. “Nothing? You watched your sister get spit on and you did nothing? Why? Help me understand.”

Before he could respond, I kept going (as I sometimes do):

“Honey, we belong to the same family — we are Bultemas. We stick together. Family doesn’t stand by and do nothing when our sister or brother needs help. Family members take care of each other.”

I was trying to teach my son about family, about unity and how to pursue it in our broken, hurting world.

The bus drama with my daughter sparked negative emotions in me, but it was also an opportunity to remember I am called to pursue unity, with bullies and moms of bullies, and with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

“Unity” is kind of a churchy word, but like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:10, it just means agreeing with one another, with no divisions or conflict. “Division” in ancient Greek has a connotation of ripping or tearing fabric, so literally, Paul begged the church members in Corinth to not be ripped apart.

But … drama and conflict come up all the time — can I get a witness? It pops up with friends, kids, siblings and between husbands and wives. It flares on the playground, the workplace, the big yellow school bus.

We can’t avoid conflict, but we do get to choose how to deal with it. Do we make the rip worse, or do we do all we can to mend and heal?

When he wrote his letter, Paul knew the local church in this Greek city was a hot mess of overblown drama and bitter contention. Four cliques had formed — each was sure they were right, and everyone else was wrong. Church members were even suing each other!

I love how Paul writes with a pastor’s heart, using family language. At least 20 times, Paul addresses his “brothers and sisters,” his “adelphos” in Greek. His loving-yet-firm tone is one we might use if we were going out for coffee with a sibling or a friend who had lost their way. “Oh, friend … I love you, but this has got to stop.” Let “there be no divisions among you,” Paul writes.

No drama.

No he said/she said.

No spitting on each other.

No hurting each other!

Instead “… be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

Build each other up.

Gently, patiently, kindly.

At peace.

By the way, the instigator in my girl’s bus drama? With his mom’s encouragement, he came over and apologized, giving my daughter a gift card he bought with his own money. Grace ruled, and harmony was restored.

Life delivers many reasons to be at odds with our sisters (and our brothers). Let’s look for ways to be at one with them instead. Let’s also look for ways to be family to each other, to stand up for each other as dearly loved daughters and sons of a Good Father. Because family takes care of each other, always.

Father, help me see ways I can bring unity and peace in Your Name today. Fill me with Your love and grace in the midst of drama. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY

Ephesians 4:3, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (NIV)

Philippians 2:2, “Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES

SHINE brightly and Sparkle Magazines help girls know God’s love and what it means to be a part of His family. They’re a lot of fun, too! Check them out here: SHINE brightly and Sparkle.

Encourage a sister in Christ with these free “I’m glad we’re family” cards, available for download on the GEMS Girls’ Clubs website when you subscribe to their newsletter, here.

CONNECT

Learn more about GEMS Girls’ Clubs here, bringing girls everywhere into God’s family with the message of God's love!

Enter to WIN a free year subscription of SHINE brightly (for girls ages 9-12) or Sparkle Magazine (for girls ages 6-8) from GEMS Girls’ Clubs by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and individually notify each winner by Monday, January 28, 2019.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND

How do you respond to drama and conflict? What’s happening in your life right now where you can bring unity and respond with Christ’s love?

© 2019 by Cindy Bultema. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks GEMS Girls’ Clubs for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

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