Are We Family?

Do we treat each other as family? From God’s perspective we are all brothers and sisters but we often fall short in seeing each other that way.

The parable of the workers in the vineyard offends our sense of justice and fairness. Why should the worker who worked only for an hour or two receive as much as the worker that had toiled the entire day?

The problem is, that due to the stain of Original Sin, we have forgotten how to see the world the way God sees it.

Author Robert DeMoor once related this story from his childhood.

“Back in Ontario when the apples ripened, Mom would sit all seven of us down, Dad included, with pans and paring knives until the mountain of fruit was reduced to neat rows of filled canning jars. She never bothered keeping track of how many we did, though the younger ones undoubtedly proved more of a nuisance than a help: cut fingers, squabbles over who got which pan, apple core fights. But when the job was done, the reward for everyone was the same: the largest chocolate-dipped cone money could buy. A stickler might argue it wasn’t quite fair since the older ones actually peeled apples. But I can’t remember anyone complaining about it. A family understands it operates under a different set of norms than a courtroom. In fact, when the store ran out of ice cream and my younger brother had to make do with a Pop-sicle, we felt sorry for him despite his lack of productivity (he’d eaten all the apples he’d peeled that day–both of them).”

It is said that frustration results when reality does not meet our expectations. Perhaps the real secret to internal peace is to adjust our expectations. Nothing disturbs our inner peace more than the thirst for recognition and esteem in the eyes of the world. Are we always comparing ourselves to others, competing with them for some imagined prize? The expectations that arise from that view of the world can lead to worries, envy, stress, anger, and uncertainty.

God relates to His people through covenants. Covenants create family.

So we must ask ourselves are we a family that cares for and supports each other? Or are we a group of strangers who see each other as competitors?

The ways of God are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. Jesus warns us that although each has been given a special role, one is not more important than another.

Look at a family run business. Are members of the family fed according to how much they worked the business that day? No, all are fed. All are loved.

This is perhaps a way to understand the justice of God. It is a justice founded upon love. Remember we are all brothers and sisters. We are all family. The gain of one is the gain of all just as the sorrow of one is the sorrow of all.

So for true peace of mind, think more of the glory of God than of self. Recognize His abundant generosity and love. Trust Him in all things.

Pax Vobiscum