The True Kindred of Jesus
31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters[a] are outside, asking for you.”33 And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”34 And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
Mark 3:31-35 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
This passage always amazes me but especially lately as I find myself in a weird place of longing for belonging yet knowing I am where I belong. Let me explain.
I have spent a lot of time this summer with family I missed and needed to spend time with but also with college buddies that really are our family. All of it making me reflect as I think about this book about my own family and how they can just forget about me or just honestly we do not know each other. Yet, I have friends that are my family because they invest in me and my home life and what matters and me to them. What an amazing blessing!
It is interesting to me that families are complicated; no matter your race, class, age or where you live. NO one is immune to family troubles or heartaches. I also tend feel that that as long as I did things the way my family wanted then people were happy with me; I never asked if this was true. For anyone from my family reading sorry but this is how I felt that I had to please others. Pleasing others is not easy because to some extent you give up a part of yourself or your own desires. But here is the thing that I wrestle with the idea of obedience; it is important for any relationship as we get older we call it RESPECT. Aretha Franklin even has a nice song about it because it is valid without we cannot TRUST. There comes a point when you want to be yourself and that means you have to change who you surround yourself with and so that is why this passage has always interested me. Jesus himself says, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home” Mark 6:4 Jesus dealt with the lack of respect we do but more than that I think the disciples became his family.
Biblically we see many stories where the orphaned, widowed and the stranger are brought into another family to where they find they belong. This is where we find out about our story of respect not to others but to ourselves and God because it is in these unexpected relationships that God glorifies Godself in us and others. Where I think we understand that we are all connected that those inside and outside are truly our brothers and sisters and can understand Jesus’ words.
I think about this because for me I have had to say good bye to a lot of relationships in the last twenty-two years as a Christian because people could not respect the changes I was making to better myself. I never forced my opinions upon them but they were quick to force their opinions upon me. People do not always understand my choices but I let God be my guide I don’t cut people off but I find I have to sometimes distance myself. After all there was an article I read last week that said we become like 5 people we spend the most time with; so who are those people?
Questions till the next time…
What kind of people are you surrounded by? Who are your true kindred?