“Family” is a concept understood all over the world, in every country, culture, and language, but no two families  are  the  same.  We  all  have  our  unique  family  structures,  quirks,  traditions,  values,  problems,  and dysfunctions. It’s not always easy to love our families (or even like them sometimes), but the Bible is full of guidance on how to love each other well — we just have to be willing to apply that to our community.

In this 4-week series, we’ll take a look at some of the lessons learned by Jesus-followers in the early days of the church, because learning how to be part of God’s family might help us learn how to be part of our own families. In God’s family, we support each other, pray for each other, reconcile with each other, and love each other.

Family SUPPORTS Each Other

Family. In Spanish, it’s familia. There are more than 7,000 languages spoken today and more than 7,000 ways to say “family.” All over the world, the concept of “family” is something we all have in common, but no two families are the same. ]At their best, our families can be a great support system. But at their worst, our families can cause us a lot  of  hurt.

The  Bible  is  full  of  guidance on how to love each other well that can be applied to our families at home, our church family and the rest of our community. In the book of Galatians, Paul tells us we can love each other by “carrying each other’s burdens.” This is the passage we’ll be looking at week one, as we learn that in God’s family we support each other.

Week 1: 1/12 & 1/16 – Daniel “stallion” Stevanus
Scripture: Galatians 5-6 | Matthew 11:28-30

Family PRAYS for Each Other

Admit it — no one can make you quite as angry as the people closest to you. Often this includes your immediate family. Have you ever been so angry with a relative  that  you  found  yourself  saying  words  (okay,  maybe  yelling  words),  without  really  thinking  about  them? It was like your mouth suddenly had a mind of its own. It happens to the best of us, but that doesn’t mean these moments of harsh words are something we should just accept as part of our lives.

Our words matter. It’s not always easy to speak kindly to our family, but the Bible is full of guidance on how to love each other well with our actions and words — we just have to be willing to apply that to our community. Like in the book of Colossians, when Paul gives us a clear and simple instruction for how followers of Jesus can use their words to build up instead of tear down. Paul reminds us that, in God’s family we pray for each other.

Week 2: 1/19 & 1/23 – Allie Redmond
Scripture: Colossians 1:1-14 | Philippians 4:6

Family RECONCILES with Each Other

Every family fights. Every single one. Even if you have a friend whose family seems so perfect that you can’t imagine them ever raising their voices at each other, I promise, they fight too. But the way we handle our fights with our family members is often, um, not so great. Maybe your fights get a little physical. Or passive aggressive. Or straight up mean. Maybe your idea of “apologizing” is to just keep your distance until they get tired of being mad at you. Every community has its own set of unique unhealthy patterns.

It’s not easy to fight well with people that are close to us, but the Bible is full of guidance on how to love each other well — we just have to be willing to apply that in our relationships. Like in the book of Ephesians, when Paul challenges us to not just move on or try to forget, but to actually make things right. Because in God’s family we reconcile with each other.

Week 3: 1/26 & 1/30 – Daniel “stallion” Stevanus
Scripture: Ephesians 4:31-5:2 | Colossians 1:21-22 | Hebrews 12:14

Family LOVES Each Other

Is love a feeling? Or is love something you do? Is it both? Can you love someone without feeling like you love them? If all you do is feel like you love someone, does that make it true? Okay, maybe these just seem like hypothetical questions that don’t really matter, but I promise they do! When it comes to our families (or anyone who’s occasionally hard to love) we need to talk about what we’re talking about when we say we  “love”  them. 

Love  is  at  the  core  of  who  we  are  called  to  be  as  followers  of  Jesus.  It’s  not  just  a  feeling. It’s a choice. Look at God for example. God didn’t just say “I feel love for you.” God said “I love you” by coming to earth as a person named Jesus and proving He loved us with His actions. That’s what we’re called to do for each other too — to love with our actions. In God’s family we love each other.

Week 4: 2/2 & 2/6 – Palmer Dill
Scripture: 1 John 3:16-18, 4:7-12 | John 15:9-17 | 1 Corinthians 13:4-7