When my sons were quite young (six and two), we moved to the upper Midwest.
We lived in Indiana and Michigan for a total of 14 years. And every year, once in the summer and again during Christmas break, we would load up our stuff and head south to visit grandparents. Eventually we bought a minivan. Then we would put one boy in the very back seat on the left side, and the other one in the middle right seat, making certain that they were as far apart as possible.
Why did we do that? If you asked that question, then you don’t have children.
In 1 Peter 3:8 we read, "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble." Did you read that? Peter wants us to "love as brothers." All I can imagine is that Peter is talking about brothers who are adults, because youthful brothers don’t often show a great deal of love toward each other.
I don’t have a brother, but I do have a sister who is four years younger than I am. We probably did not fight as often as brothers do (especially those who are close in age), but we had our scraps.
But I will tell you this. Even if I was mad with my sister, I didn’t want anyone else threatening her. There was a time when she was being picked on by a couple of boys in her class. She was in 7th grade, and I was a junior in high school. She asked me to drive her to school one day and "speak" to those boys. I was not exactly a threatening specimen to boys my age, but I could intimidate a couple of middle schoolers. And that’s what I did. I simply encouraged them to leave my baby sister alone. And they did just that.
I would pick on my own sister, but no one else could. Why? Because she was family. We are supposed to take care of our family. And here we are, more than forty years after that event, and we still enjoy each other. We overlook each other’s faults because we are family.
The church is a family, too. There may be times when we have disagreements. We don’t all think alike. But God has called us to be family. We are to care for each other. We are to help each other. We are to love each other. As Peter said, "be compassionate and humble." Is that how you are treating your family? I encourage you to "love as brothers," and treat each other with respect and care. That is what Jesus would want us to do.
Pastor Brad Butler