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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My friend Rachel Olsen is hosting a "Friendship Carnival" on her blog this week.  Speaking of Rachel I didn't announce the winner of her book from my post last week.  I'm happy to announce that "Jennifer" (the very first person to post a comment) won.  Please email me at editor@proverbs31.org with your mailing information.

Rachel invited us to post about friendship, and I decided to post one of my past devotions about our trip to Ecuador with Compassion International.  I was so touched by the tenderness of our country guide as he spoke with such compassion and offered dignity to those being served by Compassion.  While this may not exactly fit Rachel's goals for her carnival, I think we should treat our friends like family.  So, here is my post on friendship in the family of God:

“Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” 1 Timothy 5:1b-2 (NIV)

We were ushered into a two-room hut; our feet shuffled on the hard-packed dirt floor. A tin roof, electrical wires hanging from the ceiling and no running water clearly testified to the financial hardships this family faced. The Americans in the group smiled awkwardly, unsure of whether to look around the room, at the home owners or at our Ecuadorian guide, Omar.

“Hermano y hermana” our guide and translator spoke in gentle tones, as he extended a hand of greeting. “Brother and sister” Omar said in Spanish, “thank you for welcoming us into your home.” The ice broken, we all relaxed and enjoyed a brief time of getting to know this hard-working family whose daughter was part of the Compassion International project in Quito.

That trip in to the poverty-stricken section of Quito was eye-opening in many ways. But the memory of the love and dignity our guides (there were others besides Omar) showed to the families of the “proyecto” – the poorest of poor - dominates all others.

Each visit we made to the project families began with the same greeting: “Brother” or “Sister.” A single word leveled all differences between the giver and recipient of help, between nationalities and between broad economic and educational divides. A single word reminded us we were family, with all the privileges and responsibilities inherent. One heavenly Father – many brothers and sisters.

As I go about my busy life, I can easily forget to treat others as family. It’s quicker to sneak in and out of church without stopping to offer a hug of greeting or a word of encouragement to those around me. It’s even easier during the week to neglect to show familial love to my sisters and brothers in Christ. My blinders slip on and I view life with tunnel vision.

However, through our adoption as daughters and sons of God, we have been ushered into a huge family called the church. The church is not a building – the church is my family. Every person sitting in my church service is related to me through the blood of Jesus. He may be a man brought on a bus from a rehab center, but he is also my brother. She may be a single mom barely hanging on, but she is also my sister. The lonely widower, the brokenhearted professional, the grief-stricken father, the tattooed teenager … brother, sister, brother, sister.

I have a high calling to treat my fellow Christians as if we were related, because we are. Perhaps we might cultivate more love and compassion among us if we adopted the language of my Ecuadorian friend. No, not Spanish. The language of family. How does that sound “mi hermana”?

In His Love,
Glynnis

9 comments:

Allison Morrison said...

Isn't it great to have such a large family. I don't have a sister, but in Him I have more than I could ever want :-)
Thanks for your words. I'm enjoying the carnival over on Rachel's blog.

tcsoko said...

I also have the same experience as you - I live far from home and family, but have found where there are believers there are mothers & fathers, brothers & sisters waiting to draw you into the family.

Anonymous said...

This is something I really need to work on. I am a very friendly, outgoing person but can find myself falling into a slump around those who love me the most. My actual family and my church family. So many times after service, I am ready to go home...I have little kids to tend to so I rush around to get them fed and to bed, etc... I need to start making myself more available to those who love me and need me. Sometimes all they need is a simple hug or a few words. Thanks for helping me remember this. Have a blessed day!

Tasha
tcantrell@choctawnation.com

AveryHome said...

It's true, we are all related and we have the most wonderful heavenly Father. And sometimes our church family is even closer than our real family! Being in ministry at church has really opened my eyes to my sisters and brothers and Christ. I was missing many blessings before!

Kelli said...

I like this "As I go about my busy life, I can easily forget to treat others as family. It’s quicker to sneak in and out of church without stopping to offer a hug of greeting or a word of encouragement to those around me." This is so true and unfortunately as we quickly brush through our day, we miss those folks who desperately need to be noticed... We need to treat them as our family...

Wander said...

Great advice. Friends are a lifeline. I'm working on being the best one I can be.

Fields of gold said...

Wonderful words to chew on. I've been thinking of how to love the one in front of me. It definitely starts by seeing them as my brother and sister. Thanks for sharing!

Hugs, Samantha (from the P31 office)

Rachel Olsen said...

Glynnis, good word. And I totally loved Omar. What a special guy with a great heart!

And I loved that you and I were on that trip together too, serving side by side. I treasure you!

Caroline said...

I love this post, Glynnis. Thanks so much for joining in on the devotion carnival and sharing on friendship among believers.

I love these lines: "A single word reminded us we were family, with all the privileges and responsibilities inherent. One heavenly Father – many brothers and sisters."

You've made me think of Galatians 6:10 - "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

Beautiful!