It is troubling.
“Family is everything.”
This philosophy is so widely accepted in our society that any attempt to question its veracity would be similar to suggesting the public execution of puppies in the town square.
Let’s first make something clear–Jesus was not an advocate for the genetic family. For instance:
–His clan was certainly dysfunctional.
–He was nearly killed by the hometown folk because they did not appreciate his message.
–And his family members went to Capernaum to bring him home because they thought he was crazy. He had to sidestep them, and informed them clearly that his family was anyone who did the will of his Father.
–When telling parables, he often criticized those who used family obligations as an excuse for not doing more for the world.
–He said our worst enemies would be those of our own household.
–And certainly he made the point that if you don’t “hate your mother and father, “you aren’t worthy of the kingdom.”
Jesus was concerned that we would love those who were connected with us through family ties, and not extend the same courtesy to our brothers and sisters throughout the planet. Why did this bother him? It’s really quite simple.
Please understand that evil never permanently leaves the spotlight, but merely goes backstage, dons a different costume, changes make-up and reappears as a new character. I believe this is what has happened in America. We are obsessed with the holiness of family. Yet it has suspiciously grown in popularity following the disintegration of segregation, Jim Crow and newfound civil rights for immigrants and the gay community.
Prejudice needed somewhere to hide. Bigotry was looking for a disguise. What could be better than family? It is literally “Mom and apple pie.”
So the same tenets which were promoted through segregation–that being “staying with your own kind”–have simply resurfaced as a maudlin proclamation of “loving your own.”
If everybody prefers their own family, we will isolate ourselves, making us vulnerable to evil tyrants who come and use our fears of one another to bring about mayhem and death.
I am troubled by the “family is everything” brigade. It is a way of hiding bigotry, which is no longer allowed to express itself through cross-burning, so instead is using cross-lifting.
My children know I love them–but they know I love them as I also love all of God’s children.
Remember, the last words of Jesus in the Great Commission were not, “Go back to your families and be happy.”
Rather, “Go into all the world.”