“Those who live to bless others will have blessings heaped upon them, and the one who pours out her life to pour out blessings will be saturated with favor.” Proverbs 11:25
You are not alone. In the radical and life-changing books of the New Testament, we believers of Jesus Christ are called brothers and sisters over and over, imprinting us with the idea that we now belong to a new family. In fact, Jesus redefines what family is.
At one point Jesus is teaching and his disciples come and tell him that his mother and brothers (biologically his half brothers) are looking for him. He responds with: “Who are my brothers and my mother? The ones who hear the word of God and do it.” Ouch. That can seem like a harsh rejection of his physical family, but really what Jesus is doing is expanding our minds. He is always about expanding our minds, our view, our scope. We see and think so small. He loves to stretch our understanding and open our eyes to the greater reality.
Who is our real family, he asks. Who is our real sister?
How would you feel if you traveled halfway across the world and happened to meet someone who had the same father as you? What a cool unexpected reunion that would be! You could both talk about all the things you love about your father, and the things that drive you nuts, and the quirky little endearing habits he has… you would have an immediate bond because you both come from the same father. Or mother. The idea is the same. Our adoption by God the Father - thanks to Jesus Christ - gives us that instant bond with millions of other adopted image bearers across the world.
I am a sister to women in every country in the world - women from enemy countries that are killing each other, women from rich countries that are exploiting others, and women from poor countries, victims of greed. Women who wear silk and women who wear sweats. Women who have loving partners and women who are abused. Women who speak different languages, eat strange tasting foods and follow traditions I don't understand. I am a sister to every woman on this planet whose heart beats with the knowledge that she is a daughter of God. Every woman who has been lovingly adopted, like me, by the same amazing Father.
She is my sister. And while I love my earthly sisters and always will, I have a responsibility to pour myself out and bless the socks off of my spiritual sisters too. Their need is my need. Their grief is my own. Their issues are mine too. I no longer have the luxury of thinking “Well, they are just different”, or “We don’t understand each other.”
“...and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love.” 2 Peter 1:7
I am called to act with mercy toward my brothers and sisters, but as if that wasn’t enough - add to that unending love. I am to pour myself out to help and honor my precious adopted siblings in Christ. We are real family. United by the unbreakable bonds of Christ's blood and the Father's will. Unending love for my eternal siblings.
What can you do to be a blessing to one of your sisters in Christ? Start by praying this week that God will open your eyes to the needs of your spiritual siblings. If you have a heart full of mercy and a desire to help, you will be a powerful blessing to your family! And if you need encouragement or a hug or prayers - your spiritual sisters are here for you! You are not alone. We carry within us the mission of our Father, his merciful and loving presence, and his overflowing heaped-on, crazy generous blessings of love.
“Then he (Christ the King) will answer them, ‘Don’t you know? When you refused to help one of the least important among these my little ones, my true brothers and sisters, you refused to help and honor me.’ Matthew 25:45
- Kelly Joyce (a gratefully adopted sister and member of COBI)